Nomadic herdsmen should be treated as international travellers to forestall instabilities

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MP for Klottey-Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawling MP for Klottey-Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawling

Ghana’s Member of Parliament for Klottey-Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings is calling for a paradigm shift in addressing security challenges posed by nomadic herdsmen in the West African sub-region.

According to her, the practice of old, where these herdsmen move with their animals across various boundaries in member states still persist, and it would be very difficult to eliminate, especially as the sub-region is zoned into countries.

However, she believes the solution would be to treat these herdsmen as international travellers that require some form of documentation that covers both the humans and animals before being allowed into new territories, where they would be bound by the laws of that country.

In an interview with Ghanamps.com, she said, there must be strict identification process, and specific areas allocated for them to move in and out. This, she indicated would bring checks and balances in the activities of these nomadic herdsmen.

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The practice, she said is driven by climate and season changes, forcing the herdsmen to move around to ensure they have access to water and grass for their cattle.

“We can address this not only on just Ghana but within the sub-region. This is a problem that has become almost endemic within the sub-region, and so is it a case of tagging the cattle to ensure that their movement can be monitored?” When you travel within international borders with a dog, you need a passport, so should we be looking at a situation where if you have your cattle it has to be tagged entering another country, and how many are coming in?”

And further added that with that approach, there is the need to involve veterinary services, who should be part of the border control in addressing this issue, “because it is not going away, and it is getting worse, and the crime statistics from this year are so disturbing, we need to address this before it gets out of hand”, she emphasized.

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Dr. Zanetor Rawlings again noted that “there is scramble for resources, water as a resource, access to feeding for your animals and then this result in that clash, but we should not forget there are people within the country who owns some of these animals that the herdsmen are attending to, we should have the honest conversation where we all contribute towards these and have a stakeholder’s engagement on how to address it.”

“If you have paid attention to some of the statistics, there has been a rise in kidnapping in Ghana, and a lot of the kidnapping are happening within the Fulani communities and a lot of huge ransom has been paid out there, a lot of violence between the herdsmen and the indigenes where they find themselves; the issue of nomadic people is nothing new”.

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The deputy ranking on Defense and Interior Committee of Ghana’s Parliament again stated that as states become more established, and people become more territorial, the movement of such persons in and out of such territories, would have to be treated the same way we treat international travels.

“We cannot go on pretending as if it is not creating some friction within our various countries, because that is what is resulting in a lot of instability, conflict and loss of lives; and we must not have a situation where a particular lifestyle that has existed for centuries to become a threat to themselves and the peoples whose country they find themselves,” she added.



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