The newly declared Mandariwura in the Bole tradition area, Abdulai Kant, has warned that attempts by the Overlord of the Gonjaland, Yagbonwura Tutumba Boresa II, to deny him the Bole skin will spark chaos that would claim lives.
Abdulai Kant won a five-year-old Mandari chieftaincy dispute between him and his brother, Bukari Abutu, who was chosen and supported by the Yagbonwura.
The dispute was brought before the Regional House of Chiefs in 2013 when the two royals of the Sagope gate were set up on a warpath by the late Bolewura, Awuladese Pontonpromg II and Yagbonwura Tutumba Boresa (II).
On the 19th April, that year, after the late Awuladese moved from Mandari to occupy Bole, he, together with his Kingmakers settled on Abdulai Kant as his successor to the Mandari skin but the Yagbonwura rejected him and rather appointed Bukari Abutu.
The three-member committee, chaired by the chief of Kumbungu paramountcy, Naa Abu Iddrisu (II) after five years of proceeding pronounced its verdict in favour of the Abdulai Kant.
Mandari is an important community in the Bole traditional area, which has been, since the formulation of the Gonja constitution in around 1930s, considered the gateway to the Bole paramount skin.
Therefore, going by the popular and longstanding customary practice where chiefs from Mandari move to Bole upon vacancies, the ruling only means that Abdulai Kant who is being opposed by the Yagbonwura is the qualified candidate to occupy the Bole skin.
But the Yagbonwura, who is the Supreme leader and president of the House of Chiefs, has again refused to validate the victory of Abdulai Kant and further moved quickly to appoint the defeated Mandariwura, Bukari Abudu, to ascend to the Bole skin.
This development has moved the tensions from Mandari and sparked off the fresh dispute in Bole for almost two weeks now.
The new Bolewura “imposed” by the Yagbonwura has since occupied the traditional Common Room, though the funeral rite of the late Bolewura is yet to be performed, fueling tensions as more incendiary agitations continue to flood in, condemning the decision by the Japka Palace.
Last week, National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah met with the District Chief Executive for the area at a closed-door meeting in Tamale.
This was after several meetings between the Regional Security Council and the feuding factions.
And in final and desperate efforts to defuse the tensions, which is nearing dangerous levels, some Members of the Council of State arrived in the area on Friday.
The Council was accompanied by the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed and his Security Committee members.
The Council of State’s delegation was however led by Paramount Chief of Talensi traditional area, Tongo-Rana Kubilsong Nalebegna and Chief of Tumu, Tumu-Koro, Richard Babini Kanton. The Council held peace talks with all parties and said it was concerned about the growing tensions in the area.
The Council was also worried an outbreak of skirmishes would derail plans for the upcoming referendum and could affect the creation of the Savana Region.
When the Council held an open meeting with Abdulai Kant and dozens of his supporters, he condemned the enskinment of his rival as the new Bolewura, calling it “illegal” and said he would resist attempts to deny him his “birthright”.
He told the council that it was unprecedented for a new chief to be enskinned when the funeral rites of the predecessor hadn’t been performed and accused the Yagbonwura of trying “in his own interest to plunge the area into a bloodbath”.
He implored the Council to ban all activities relating to the enskinment and stop anyone from holding himself as Bolewura until such a time a determination is made and compromised reached.
Abdulai Kant also insists he is the legitimate candidate to occupy the Bole skin because the judicial committee ruled in his favour.
Though, a portion of the ruling stated clearly that the committee ruling was not a determination for the Bole skin and that the Yagbonwura has the authority to choose a qualified candidate from any of the three gates.
“It is our customary practice that any occupant of the Mandari skins moves automatically in the absence of the Paramount chief of the Bole traditional area. That’s why we found it very unacceptable for the Yagbonwura to circumvent this time-tested custom and try in his own interest to plunge the area into a bloodbath. I control almost 90-95% of the support, you can witness it by what is happening, even though the notice was short”
“Any attempt to deny me my birthright will not be good for the image of the government, of which I’m part. I have been instrumental in promoting the interest of this government, or my party, for the past 40 or more years. Any attempt to deprive me of my birthright, I repeat, will not be good for the image of the traditional area, it will not be good for the government”, Kant warned.
The Council of State was not available to comment and requests to the Regional Coordinating Council were not responded to.