Upper East Regional Peace Council
The Upper East Region is located in the north-eastern corner of Ghana and bordered by Burkina Faso to the north and Togo to the east. The region shares regional boundaries with Upper West Region to the west and the North East Region to the south. The region has 15 administrative districts and municipalities with Bolgatanga as capital.
The drivers of conflict in the region include competition for power (chieftaincy and politics), access to resources (land and minerals resources), and identity issues (mostly ethnicity). A conflict profile conducted by the UERPC and West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) revealed that there are 49 active and latent conflicts across the region. Out of these, 57% is land related, 26% chieftaincy, five percent farmer-herder clashes and eight percent is related to ethnicity and religion. The land conflicts are triggered in some cases by the commercialisation of land which drives multiple ownership claims. The chieftaincy conflicts are triggered when there is a vacancy upon the death of a chief and the succession procedures are unclear. The farmer herder clashes are caused by climate change which has driven pastoralists southwards from the Sahel region to look for pasture and water for their herds. The clashes occur as crop farmers accuse herders of allowing their herds to graze on their farms. The most violent of these conflicts are the Bawku ethnic, Doba-Kandiga land and Bolgatanga chieftaincy conflicts. All three conflicts have been episodic, occurring at various times. For example, the Bawku conflict has recurred nine times (between 1983 and 2022) since its major manifestation in 1957. These conflicts have caused both human and material losses. For example, between 2020 and 2021 when the Doba-
Kandiga escalated, 14 deaths were officially reported and more than ten houses burnt.
In the 2000 episode of the Bawku conflict, 68 people were reported dead, more than 200 houses burnt, and 2,500 people displaced. Between December 2021 and March 2022, the current crisis in Bawku has reportedly claimed 22 lives. In all these instances, it is believed that the casualty figures could be much higher. Ghana shares borders with two countries (Burkina Faso and Togo) through the region.
As a result, the region faces the risks and threats of violent extremism which is active in neighbouring Burkina Faso. Seven of the region’s districts and municipalities, including Bawku, Pusiga, Tempane, Bawku West, Bongo, Kassena-Nankana West and Kassena- Nankana, share borders with Burkina Faso and Togo. This increases their vulnerabilities to violent extremism from the Sahel region due to obvious reasons including the existence of unapproved routes into and out of the country.
The Upper East Regional Peace Council (UERPC) with 13 members, consisting of nine males and four females, is responsible for implementing the activities of National Peace Council in the region. The UERPC is currently actively working with parties in the Bolgatanga chieftaincy, Bawku and Doba-Kandiga conflicts to de-escalate the violence associated with these conflicts. The UERPC also conducts sensitisation on prevention of conflict and violent extremism in border communities and major towns across the region.
The UERPC does it work with the support of partners like the district and municipal assemblies in the region, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WANEP Ghana, Coginta Ghana, Littorals Regional Initiative (LRI), Star Ghana Foundation etc.
Regional Executive Secretary
Ali Anankpieng holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Development Planning from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi and Master of Arts in Governance and Sustainable Development from the University of Cape Coast. He has participated in two international peace building courses – Managing Defencein a Wider Security Context by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in 2014 and Mediation and Negotiation skills by the Clingendael Institute in The Hague in 2016. Read more…