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Fellow Dagombas, what are we waiting for and what do we really want?

2009-07-13 23:29:29
This article has been read 1196 times.

For the past year or so, the nagging question that has been a source of worry to me about Dagbon’s future is this:

What is holding us back from reconciling and re-uniting now for the sake of eternal peace and development of Dagbon? In short, what are we (Dagombas) waiting for and what do we really want?

In my personal view, I think we are not brave enough, as a tribe, to sever politics from our chieftaincy matters. Our overdependence on politicians, like a baby on a mother, to solve our chieftaincy problems has to cease now. There is an exigent need for us to realize that politicians cannot solve our chieftaincy problems for us. And until we wake up and face the truth about our mistakes it would be hard for us to reconcile and make eternal peace with each other.

The foremost mistake that some Dagombas tend to make is harbor the notion that their political tradition: NPP or NDC can abuse their political might against their opponents in the Dagbon chieftaincy divide to help them achieve their sectarian goals. All must wake up to the realization that no one party can dominate our political life for very long. Hence, why mistakenly continue to rely on politicians to solve our chieftaincy problems? The NPP government couldn’t solve our problems after the mess was caused under their watch, and I doubt if NDC can do much. No government can solve our internal problems for us, but ourselves.

Moreover, should we not think it is now high time we looked each other in the eye and expressed penitence for killing our own king and hurting each other so badly? Should we not realize by now that our continued self-destruction which has left Dagbon in this shameful mess is making us all losers after all? Further, should we not make a critical determination whether it is feasible for us to continue to demand justice first, for the murder of Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II and forty of his elders of blessed memory, before reconciling?

Why can’t we divorce the call for justice from the quest for reconciliation? After all, the service of justice is the onus of government. On the contrary, reconciliation of the Abudu and Andani sides is squarely our responsibility, not the government’s liability. If so, the service of justice should not necessarily be made a pre-condition for reconciliation because the two issues are not mutually inclusive. By moving forward with reconciliation now despite the pending service of justice would demonstrate our collective resolve to bury our difference and smoke the peace pipe for the sake of unity and development.

What I deem to be the most crucial step in our reconciliation process is engaging in constructive dialogue to discuss the moral facets of the Yendi massacre. Prudently, we should separate the call for justice and the quest for reconciliation and place them in two different tracks and approach the reconciliation aspect ourselves while government takes up the justice aspect. After all, as it is widely known, there is no statute of limitation on cases involving murders in terms of time. So justice could be served any time so long as there is ample evidence to inform a just judgment. Clearly, no one is disputing the need for justice for the murders, nevertheless, the service of justice should aim at uniting Dagbon, not divide it further.

Unfortunately, our insistence on justice first before reconciliation, as entrenched by the Andani side and the unwillingness to express remorse, as engrained by the Abudu side, is a clear manifestation of our collective weakness and the lack of will power to resolve our mutual problems. As it is universally known, only the brave and strong admit their mistakes and express sorrow for their deeds, but the weak hide behind their deeds and try to defend them until justice catches up with them. Also, what the religious scripts say is true: that to err is human, but to forgive is divine.

If we (Dagombas) regard ourselves to be believers in Allah (God), what is it that is stopping us from expressing remorse for our bad deeds on the one hand, and forgiving each other on the other? As pious believers (Moslems, Christians), we know that the Yendi killings are a grave immoral deed, regardless of whether they occurred during a war situation or in a unilateral attack. The mere fact that we took the lives of our fellow human beings in the most gruesome way warrants penitence. In a similar vein, as believers, we ought to give preference to natural justice rather than human justice. If we consider Allah’s justice to be supreme, then we should concentrate on the issue of reconciliation now and allow human justice to take its course whenever that happens.

Crucially, we need to initiate, as soon as possible, a healthy dialogue between the Andani and Abudu sides to work on the emotional and moral pieces of Dagbon’s jigsaw as a step towards our reconciliation. The justice aspect of Dagbon’s chieftaincy problems now belongs to President Atta Mills and his government. Our reconciliation will be an added impetus to the Otumfuo Committee of Eminent Chiefs’ roadmap for Dagbon’s peace.

My conclusion is that, we have a golden opportunity now to distance our chieftaincy issues from politics. If we can take advantage of this new way of thinking, then we will be able to resolve our traditional problems by ourselves without government interference going forward. A critical fact we ought to remember is that Dagbon is the only place on this earth that we can truly and shamelessly call home. And it is only when we have achieved eternal peace and re-unification that we can begin to plan together to resolve the plethora of development needs of Dagbon. With the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority in the offing, we should not allow this golden opportunity to work together on Dagbon’s development as one united tribe slip away. We squandered a great opportunity to develop Dagbon when it was presented to us by President Kufuor. And now, again, we are not making positive efforts to grab the new opportunity being offered to us by President Mills. Why make the same mistake twice? Now is the time to act to move Dagbon forward!

Let’s give peace and reconciliation a chance in Dagbon!

Peace for Dagbon! Peace for Ghana!

Thank you.

By: Natogmah Issahaku

(Dagbon Peace, Re-unification and Development Advocate)

Hails from Jisonaayilli, Tamale

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