MCPS/KAIPTC 700 Research Methods in Conflict Peace and Security February 2013
The Role of Ethnic and Religious Identity in the 2012 Communal Violence in Hohoe
Organized violence such as communal violence in any part of the world is perceived to be primarily about identities. Williams (2011) notes that, “people’s ethnic identities are commonly held to be greater significance than their other identities”. I would argue that religious identity does not lag that far behind in its significance to a people. Thus the role of ethnic and religious identity in organized violence across the globe cannot has never been in contention, it is the extent to which they influence violence that has engaged the minds of scholars and practitioners in the field of peace and conflict studies. Mayness (1993) made the observation that, “animosity among ethnic groups is beginning to rival the spread of nuclear weapons as the most serious threat to peace that the world faces”.
Over the years organized violence in Africa has been mainly attributed to the ethnic and religious composition of African society. According to Elbadawi and Sambanis, (2000, p. 6) ‘‘this inference seems self-evident to many, given that African rebel movements almost always are ethnically defined. Ethnic identities and hatred are thus seen as the cause of violent conflict”. There is also a belief that people’s perception of how they differ in terms of their ethnic and religious identity as opposed to that of others with whom they have a relationship may lead to conflict (MacFarlane, 1999, p. 26). It is a fact that many African countries including Ghana have pronounced religious fragmentation and/or multiple ethnic cleavages that either triggers violence or sustains it once it has started. In a paper that sought to identify the role Religion and ethnicity played in civil wars in Africa, Haynes (2007) indicates from his tabulation of...