The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, has appealed to factions in the age-old Bawku conflict to negotiate to restore peace in the area.
He said it was important for the factions to allow peace to prevail in the area to restore both economic and social lives of the people.
Rt Rev. Prof. Mante was interacting with the media after a ceremony to inaugurate the first specialist psychiatric hospital in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region last Monday.
The €43,000 facility was co-funded by friends of Bawku, a benevolent group based in the Netherlands, and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
The interaction was to appeal for an end to the conflict, which had adversely affected the operations of the church’s Presbyterian Hospital and Nursing Training College based in the Bawku municipality.
“I am begging the feuding factions to work together to end (the conflict) since there is no matter in the world that cannot be settled,” he said, adding that “if the conflict is not ended as quickly as possible, it will slow down development in the entire area.”
“We want to appeal to the conscience of the leadership of the factions, as well as the ordinary residents, to smoke the peace pipe so that the town can bounce back to life for the benefit of all.
“Since the Presbyterian Church that I superintend has huge investments in the Bawku area, my prayer always is for the conflict to end so as to protect the church’s investments in the area,” he added.
“I have always been thinking several times whether we should continue to invest resources to improve the operations of the hospital and the nursing training school in the wake of the unending Bawku conflict.
“If we continue to invest huge resources to develop the hospital and patients cannot visit the facility to access medical care, then it will definitely be a wasteful expenditure,” Rt Rev. Prof. Mante added.
He noted that the church, together with its benevolent partners, had invested heavily in the hospital, which is a referral facility serving seven other districts aside the Bawku Municipality.
Rt Rev. Prof. Mante expressed fear for the lives of many workers of the hospital who were now regular absentees although they had to be remunerated on a monthly basis, stressing that “the current situation is having a negative toll on the operations of the hospital”.
The hospital that hitherto received about 400 cases at the out-patient department (OPD) now receives only about 40 OPD cases daily.
Asked whether the church intended to relocate the hospital and the nursing training college, he responded: “our last resort as a church is to continue to appeal for an end to the conflict since we do not intend to relocate both institutions”.
“The church strategically sited both institutions in the Bawku area for a purpose, and, therefore, want them to remain there to continue to serve the people in and around that enclave to achieve the intended objectives,” he stressed.