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Statement By The Concern Abudus For Peace And Justice


2009-04-16 22:28:27
This article has been read 761 times.

Statement By The Concern Abudus For Peace And Justice (CAPJ) ON THE DAGBON CHIEFTAINCY DISPUTE RELEASED TO THE MEDIA ON WEDNESSDAY APRIL 15, 2009


The Dagbon Traditional Area (DTA) has continued to remain in perpetual state of uneasiness, growing mistrust among the people, and constant presence of potential for actual violence. Notwithstanding numerous efforts by the previous administration to find lasting solution to the conflict, there are still unanswered questions regarding the unfortunate events of March 25—27, 2002. The Roadmap to peace negotiated by the Committee of Eminent chiefs has not also been implemented to the letter. In light of the President’s promised in his maiden State of the Nation address to ensure that justice is brought to bear on those who took the lives of the Ya Na and many of his elders, and the recent pronouncement by the Northern Regional Minister on the Dagbon chieftaincy matters, we wish to state our position on these and other issues relating to the Dagbon conflict.

JUSTICE FOR YA NA AND OTHERS

We welcome the President’s expressed commitment to investigate the murder of the Ya Na and others. We believe that there can never be peace in the area without justice. Justice must be brought to bear on all those who had something to do with the planning of events leading to the three (3) day war between the Abudus and the Andanis in Yendi in March 2002. In this regard, we hope that any new investigation will also look at testimonies and evidence gathered by the Wuaku Commission as well as evidence and judgment of the Court trial on charges of defamation brought against three defendants by persons accused of masterminding the events of March 2002. Any person or persons found guilty of murder of a human being during the War by a competent Court should be made to face the full rigor of the law.

We take comfort and consolation in the fact that the President has demonstrated his commitment to the rule of law in this country. We are convinced that as a legal luminary himself, the President would ensure that due process under the law is followed in his pursuit of justice for the Ya Na and others. We pray that the enviable high standards of our justice system in Africa shall never be compromise for political expedience. The time-tested practice of finding defendants guilty beyond reasonable doubt for murder cases should not give way for ‘kangaroo’ justice to score political point.

The current state of uncertainty and fear in Yendi as a result of unfounded allegations and threat of arbitrary arrest of innocent citizens for the murder of the Ya Na is not healthy to the fragile peace prevailing in the town. The President and his agents should not yield to political pressure to arbitrarily arrest innocent people for murder without prima facie evidence implicating them of murder. No Ghanaian citizen should be made to live in constant fear for his/her safety and freedom by people purported to be agents of government. Just as members of the Abudu gate cooperated with the Wuaku Commission’s investigation into the murder of the Ya Na and others, we are equally prepare to cooperate with any legitimate body establish by the President to open fresh investigation into the matter. We pray that this country shall never return to the dark revolutionary days of clandestine arbitrary arrest of perceived political opponents as experienced in our recent past. The President should have the courage to resist any attempt to subvert the rule of law in this country today.

COMMENTS BY THE NORTHERN REGIONAL MINISTER

The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Stephen Sumani Nayina, has been reported by various news outlets to have made some comments on the Dagbon chieftaincy matters during a recent visit to Yendi. The Minister made categorical pronouncements on issues bordering on traditional authority in Yendi and Bimbilla. Much as we respect the Regional Minister’s right to free speech and his entitlement to his views and opinion on the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute, we find it highly unfortunate and regrettable that the Minister used his maiden visit to Yendi as regional minister to preach hatred and division among the Dagomba people. Mr. Nayina should know that he has every right to continue with his expressed sympathy for the Andani gate in his private capacity, but he cannot abuse the office of Regional Minister by using undue influence to discriminate against the Abudu Royal family. We wish to remind the Minister of his obligation to uphold the constitution of Ghana and be impartial in the execution of his duties as Regional Minister.

The framers of our Fourth Republican constitution in their wisdom clearly delineated the separation of State and Chieftaincy in the constitution. As the political head of the region, Mr. Nayina was in clear violation of the constitution when he made categorical pronouncement on chieftaincy matters at the Palace of the Kampakuya Na in Yendi. We are not surprised by the Minister’s clear demonstration of ignorance of Dagbon tradition and his bias in favor of the Andani Royal family. We are, however, surprised by his brazen disregard for constitutionalism and lack of diplomatic decorum. Mr. Nayina should know that his dangerous strategy of divide and rule will not bring peace to the region. He should learn to treat all people of the region with respect, even if they happen to be Abudus or Nanumbas. His ill-advised dismissal of the Abudus in Yendi and the Nanumbas in Bimbilla was an epic demonstration of arrogance, ignorance, and political immaturity. We believe the Minister could do much better by adopting the matured and highly neutral leadership style of his immediate non-Dagomba predecessors — Alhaji Abubakari Sadiqque Boniface and Hon. Ernest A. Debrah.

We wish to state here that it is beyond the regional Minister’s mandate to determine who or what represent authority in any traditional jurisdiction within the region. The 1992 constitution receded that mandate to the House of Chiefs. Article 270 of the 1992 constitution states, inter alia, that “Parliament shall have no power to enact any law which confers on any person or authority the right to accord or withdraw recognition to or from a chief for any purpose whatsoever; or in any way detracts or derogates from the honour and dignity of the institution of chieftaincy.” Mr. Nayina should not confuse his political power over District, Municipal, and Metropolitan Chief Executives to mean that he also has powers over traditional authority in the region.

The President should call the Regional Minister to order and ask him to aspire to be Regional Minister for all people. The Minister needs some education on constitutional law and diplomacy to help him avoid making such unguarded pronouncements on chieftaincy matters in his capacity as regional Minister. We assure the Minister of the full support and cooperation of members of the Abudu gate in his difficult task of uniting the people and building sustainable peace for development in the region. We, however, wish to serve notice here that we will not hesitate to seek constitutional redress whenever there is a clear breach of the constitution by the Minister. We have a government of laws, not a government of men, under the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution.

Dr. Ziblim Iddi Chairman Concern Abudus for Peace and Justice (CAPJ) P.O. Box LG 64 Tel: 0246 050338

Source: ghanaweb.com

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