Addressing Conflicts over Resource Use in Ghana: The case of Operations Vanguard and Cow Leg

  • Osman Alhassan +233 2434 02853
  • Richard Asante


Ghana is endowed with natural resources including forests, minerals, water and grazing lands which have made significant contributions to national development. At the same time, competing demands for these resources have created many conflicts that have proven difficult to manage. This paper seeks to further understand the challenges associated with resource use in Ghana, in particular the nature of conflicts and conflict resolution mechanisms under two joint police-military operations: Operation Cow Leg, which deals with long-running conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers over grazing rights; and Operation Vanguard, which addresses conflicts between the state and those involved in illegal small-scale mining popularly known as galamsey. Drawing on the literature on international peacekeeping, and using data collected via qualitative methods, the paper argues that while joint police-miliary operations such as Cow Leg and Vanguard are necessary, their implementation has failed to involve local people, and paid insufficient attention to the ways that local conflicts follow traditional processes of resolution.

Keywords: conflict resolution, UN peacekeeping, mining, grazing rights, resource use, Ghana