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Operation Cowleg Can Be Counter-Productive — Says Dr Aning
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The Director of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC), Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, has warned that there could be conflict across the country if the issue concerning nomadic herdsmen was not resolved very well.

He said the police campaign tagged “Operation Cowleg,” which was targeted against nomadic herdsmen and shooting of their cattle, was counterproductive.


Dr Aning was speaking at a public discussion that assessed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s first year in office.  It was on the theme: “Foreign relations and security sector governance” and was organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) in association with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The forum, which was the second in the series, was also addressed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu; a lecturer at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), Dr Amanda Coffie, and the Member of Parliament for the North Tongu Constituency, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

While the three assessed the President on his foreign policy, Dr Aning based his assessment on governance in the security sector and gave an appalling viewpoint of security in the country that was totally out of sync with the manifesto promises of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).


Speaking on the sub-themes of vigilantism, land guards, farmer-herder crisis, small arms and peacekeeping, Dr Aning expressed his dissatisfaction with the way the government was tackling security, but commended it for appointing a Minister of National Security.

He said appointing a minister in charge of security was a wise decision by the government considering that the appointment would enable Ghanaians through their representatives in Parliament to question the minister on security issues.


He pointed out that besides some farmer/nomadic herdsmen being Ghanaians, they also belonged to an ethnic group that was the second largest in the sub-region.

Although Dr Aning accepted that the conflict between herdsmen and farmers had reached a boiling point because cattle belonging to herdsmen were destroying farms, he nonetheless believed that there were better ways of solving the matter rather than the police shooting to kill the cattle. 

According to Dr Aning, if care is not taken and the herdsmen become agitated enough, they can pick up arms and turn them on innocent citizens.

He urged the authorities to think through the matter carefully in order to appease all sides.

He also expressed concern that there were about 2.3 million guns in the hands of civilians, which in a way had contributed to vigilantism in the country as members now openly challenge authority, in addition to the menace of land guards whose presence and activities seemed now to be accepted by all.


Contributing to the discussions, an assistant Commissioner of Police, Benjamin Agordzor, desired to know why the country did not have a national security strategy.

In his opinion, controlling security without a strategy was futile.

ACP Agordzor believed that appointing an IGP based on proposals submitted by the police for consideration and an assessment to be undertaken by an independent panel would curb political interference in security matters.
Source: Graphic.com

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