Opinion: Antwi-Danso Has His Hand on the Key Phrase – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso

It is increasingly becoming clear that unless the Ghana Government comes up with a clearly formulated ranching policy to contain the “Fulani Menace,” ad-hoc measures such as Operation Cow Leg, which is aimed at preventing cattle herds from destroying cultivated farmlands, are likely to fail (See “We’re Being Maltreated in Ghana – Fulani Community” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/19/18). This is not the very first time that the problem has come up for discussion in the media spotlight. Not very long ago, for example, the leaders of the ECOWAS countries, at one of their summit meetings, discussed the practical necessity of creating a ranching zone across the West African sub-region.

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But the issue, looking at the present state of affairs, does not appear to have taken a serious turn, thus the continuous prevalence of widespread clashes between Ghanaian food farmers and these cattle herdsmen. It is a sub-region-wide problem. And as international relations specialist Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso recently reiterated, the “Fulani Menace” can only be effectively resolved with the formulation of a comprehensive ranching policy initiative by the Ghana Government. If such a policy is successfully implemented, it could very well be exported to other parts of the sub-region and perhaps even the entire continent at large. This is one area in which the Akufo-Addo Administration could bequeath a lasting legacy.

So far, by the breadth of its signal achievements within the brief span of just one year, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has clearly demonstrated himself to be the one West African leader who is capable of devising an effective solution to the “Fulani Menace.” He has already demonstrated such constructive leadership in the anti-Galamsey battle. What presently remains to be done is to have agricultural theorists and experts, drawn from the various countries in the sub-region, working hand-in-hand with Ghana’s Agriculture Ministry, to work on the formulation of a comprehensive ranching/grazing policy for both Ghana and the rest of the ECOWAS area. The economic contribution of the cattle-rearing Fulani community would only begin to be fully noticed and appreciated, when a comprehensive ranching policy initiative has been implemented to facilitate a drastic reduction in the predatory and wantonly destructive activities of the Fulani herdsmen and their sedentary, city-dwelling rich and powerful employers and sponsors.

I would rather have our brave men and women in uniform protecting our widely remarked porous boundaries than being wastefully engaged in guerilla warfare with these mercenary cowherds. Indeed, these herdsmen are as victimized as the owners of the farmlands with whom they are in constant conflict over land use. I have also observed in several columns in the past that we are in an era of African civilization in which the predatory culture and lifestyle of these Fulani herdsmen need to be radically reformed. The herd-oriented, nomadic lifestyle of the Fulani is increasingly becoming insufferably disruptive, especially when one also factors in the exponential growth of the human population in the most fertile and forested regions of both the continent and the West African sub-region at large.

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