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Feuding Dagombas Back on Track

2006-08-30 18:54:51
This article has been read 780 times.

John Kufour
President Kufuor has expressed resentment and shock over the recent unrest at Yendi, which recorded deaths and injuries.
The Presidential Press Secretary Mr. Andrew Awuni, expressing the President’s concern over the incident at a media briefing session at the Osu Castle yesterday, said the President viewed what happened in Yendi last weekend as “more out of the lack of respect for rule of law and order than the quest for justice”.

Mr. Awuni said the President, therefore, has asked the security agencies to as a matter of urgency make sure that normalcy is returned to Yendi and “those found to have breached the peace brought to book immediately”.

He said the President wishes to remind the Abudu and the Andani factions that they negotiated the roadmap and appended their signatures to it to indicate their satisfaction and approval of the processes therein and that “it is therefore improper for any faction to pick and choose or even petition against the roadmap at this stage”.

The President, he said, endorses the position of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs led by the Asantehene that the two factions abide by the Roadmap. Mr. Awuni said the President has reiterated government’s commitment to implement the roadmap to peace in Dagbon as was agreed by the two factions.

Meanwhile, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, has called for calm between the feuding Gates of Dagbon, the Andanis and the Abudus, so as not to cause the peace process to unravel. He said it was important for the parties to show good faith and to respect the spirit and letter of the roadmap they have all signed.

The Asantehene made the call at an emergency closed-door meeting he held with representatives of the two Gates at the Manhyia Palace on Tuesday, following violent disturbances that occurred at the Old Gbewaa Palace in Yendi last Friday, which claimed three lives and left many injured.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said with the installation of the Kampakuya-Na, as the Regent of Dagbon and the subsequent burial of the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, the stage was now set for a date to be decided on for the observation of the final funeral rites of Ya-Na Mahamadu Abudulai IV, who died first.

A meeting to decide on the date for the funeral is scheduled for the middle of September 2006.

Alhaji Mustapha Idris, Northern Regional Minister; Mr. Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, and top security personnel were present at the meeting. The representatives of the two Gates were all smiles and publicly shook hands when they emerged from the meeting.

The Asantehene had to delay his trip to Accra en-route to Tripoli, Libya, to hold the crisis meeting.

The two other members of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs; Nayiri Bohagu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, Paramount Chief of Mamprugu and Yagbonwura Bawa Doshie, Paramount Chief of Gonja, could, however, not attend the meeting due to the short notice.

The Committee of Eminent Chiefs crafted the Roadmap to Peace in Dagbon, which enabled the burial of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and the installation of his Regent.

However, the process appeared to have stalled and this precipitated the clash last Friday during which three youths from the Abudu Gate died when they attempted to occupy the old Gbewaa Palace at Yendi.

Two others, who sustained injuries, are on admission at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. No arrest has yet been made and the police are investigating.

An Abudu Chief, Nanton-Naa, Alhassan Sule at a Regional Security Council (RESEC) meeting in Tamale on Saturday, said the delay in performing Ya-Na Mahamadu Abudulai’s funeral after the burial of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and the subsequent enskinment of his regent, sparked-off the clashes.

He also alluded to a letter written by the Andanis to the Otumfuo Committee of Eminent Chiefs, which suggested that the "Roadmap to Peace" document was not going to be honoured. The government formed the Otumfuo Committee of Eminent Chiefs to oversee the traditional aspects of finding solutions to the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis.

The Abudus appealed to the Otumfuo Committee to speed up the process to allow them to perform Na Abudulai's funeral as contained in the document.

Paragraph nine of the “Memorandum of Understanding to the Roadmap of Peace” states that, "There can only be one palace in Dagbon Kingdom. The temporary palace was constructed following the unfortunate incident of 2002. In this connection, the old Gbewaa Palace should remain free of occupation or any activity until a date is set for the performance of the funeral rites of Na Mahamandu Abudulai."

Paragraph six also states: "The powers of the Regent shall be limited because of the peculiar circumstances in Dagbon today. In this context the Regent shall not have powers to appoint any chiefs or alienate any lands or other resources belonging to the Dagbon State.” Paragraph 10 among others affirms: "The Eminent Kings shall agree upon a time frame with all the parties within which the respective funerals of the late Ya-Nas shall be performed." But they did not give time frame for the implementation.

The Andanis said they had absolute confidence in the "Roadmap" agreement.

The Kumbun-Naa Abu Yiri said the Andanis had no intention whatsoever to derail the process: "We only raised our concerns in the letter but not objections to the peace process. We want a united Dagbon and we have nothing to gain if we cause trouble", he said.

Some of the concerns raised in the letter are: "It would be logical and indeed legitimate that the funeral rites for the late former Ya-Na Mahamadu Abudulai should not be performed at the temporary or the old and defiled Gbewaa Palace…Curtailing the Regents authority and powers amounts to a clear violation of our Dagbon custom, as regards the authority and powers traditionally vested in the Regent of a deceased Ya-Naa."

The Northern Regional Minister Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris and members of the RESEC, who met with the two Royal Gates in the Dagbon Chieftaincy to discuss issues concerning the clashes, urged the two Gates to be law abiding.

Alhaji Idris said perpetrators of the clashes would be severely dealt with and appealed to the chiefs and elders to instil discipline in the youth to refrain them from taking the law into their own hands at the least provocation. The President, John Agyekum Kufuor has since issued a statement registering his disapproval of the recent flare-up.

source: ADM

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