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26.07.2020 Feature Article

The Real Witches In Gonjaland Are Ignorance, Poverty, Hunger And Self-Hate And Not The Old Women.

The Real Witches In Gonjaland Are Ignorance, Poverty, Hunger And Self-Hate And Not The Old Women.
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Alas! The real happenings in Gonjaland have been exposed. One small example has outraged the entire nation and people are running over themselves. This is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot more of such barbaric acts happen each passing day in the quiet, under the nose of people who are entrusted with the power to protect the vulnerable in our society.

Unfortunately, this ain’t part of the Gonja culture and traditions. The culture of Gonja has evolve over time to be all-inclusive and well refined to deal with issues of ignorance and exclusions. So, anybody who deviates from this path and decides to allege witchcraft as the cause of underdevelopment of his area, the person is only showcasing his/her ignorance and self-hate.

The founder of modern-day Gonja Kingdom, Ndewura Jakpa, as oral history has it, was a great warrior. During his conquests, he never touched women, children, and the weak in society. In fact, people who surrendered to him were let go and made a part of us. These people were never touched by his army. So along his journey, he built and sustained love, inclusiveness, and brotherhood.

Today, because Gonja has departed from the traditions of its founder, even the very land (Kafaba) which is supposed to be the epitome of peace and unity has become a place where hatred, divisiveness, and discrimination are nursed and executed with dexterity.

Oral History has it that Ndewura Jakpa left a royal hat for the people of Kafaba which is suppose to be used to settle disputes amongst his sons. That anytime misunderstandings erupt from amongst his sons and daughters, once the Kafabawura comes there with the Royal Hat, all feuding factions surrender and smoke a peace pipe without delay. Such an establishment is what is now used as a stage-post for discrimination against the weak, women, and vulnerable who are supposed to be protected instead.

In Gonja today, due to self-hate, a brother is ready to spill the blood of another brother just for power, money, fame or dominance. Due to ignorance and extreme poverty, kingmakers and traditional cabinet members at the Jakpa palace and almost all the other Palaces are ready to subvert the laid down rules and customs of our forebears just for peanut and selfish gains. The very land in context today (Kafaba) is facing the same injustice and subversion of laid down norms and customs. Unfortunately, Kafaba has two chiefs just as other places. Who then will settle the disputes between the Yagbonwura and others? Is it a curse?

Just a few days ago, the chieftaincy feud in Bole was finally settled at the Jakpa Palace. Amidst shame and anger, we gathered at the palace and sought to play to the world that we love ourselves. The very chiefs and elders who were supposed to lead to do the right things to avoid the seed of discord and hate to germinate in Bole rather sat on the fence or joined to water the said seed in the beginning. Bole issue has been resolved but that was after we allowed blood to be spilled, property destroyed, and hate planted in the hearts of brothers. Let’s not pretend, what has been sown in Bole will forever live to hunt many generations just the same way the ghosts of the sons of Wasipe are still hunting it’s people today for spilling their own blood.

Gonjaland is vast and rich but its people are few and poor...irony? Both the black Volta and White Volta run through our land but our people are thirsty. There is salt deposits in Wasipe but it’s people still go to other markets begging for salt. There are gold deposits in the Bole traditional areas but its youth are seen killing themselves in the bush for nothing. Buipe has a limestone deposit but the town doesn’t look like it even exists.

Salaga has a traditional slave market which is supposed to be one of the biggest tourist centres in Ghana, but the road to this site is best to describe as a lone path leading to the strange wells. In Damongo today, the land which was described one time as the greenest, the trees and virgin forest have been sold to loggers and charcoal burners while unemployment amongst its indigenes is on the rise. This is the paradox in our dear Gonjaland.

Indeed, Gonjaland has a leadership crisis today. Leadership crisis in both the traditional and political fronts. There is no direction, no plan, no vision, no objectives, and absolutely no focus. No traditional leader today, and in fact, not even the Yagbonwura can give his sons and daughters direction. He does that at his own peril. He will either be labeled as a politician or a wizard and possibly be lynched like our innocent but vulnerable grandma, Denteh Akua whose unfortunate death has brought about all these.

The upcoming generation including myself is even worse. We hate ourselves than we hate hell. A young man today in Gonjaland will fight in solo than to join in a community fight. He/she will jostle his/her brother off the lane of prosperity and give the opportunity to a complete stranger. A Gonjalander will build other people’s land at the expense of theirs. They will build other people’s businesses and empires than their own. They will support others than their own. So the land today is scattered with mixed ambitions, directionless pursuits, individualism, and sectionalism.

Meet a Gonja from Kpembe and he thinks he’s superior to a Gonja from Bole. Meet a warrior from Busunu and he believes he belongs to a warrior from Kibilma. Go to the office of a Gonja “Big man” and greet, the next question is which part of Gonjaland are you from? That urge to discriminate is in our blood. That is why we have all the natural resources yet, our Jakpa Palace is like a deserted cave, our people are poor, our tradition and culture are adulterated and tainted, our land is being taken over by our neighbor’s cattle and our own is ready to spill the blood of another amidst some empty superiority complex.

If you are asked to name the real witches in Gonjaland, please go looking for poverty, ignorance, self-hate, illiteracy, diseases, hunger, and not some old women who we can’t even feed. You won’t be surprised to learn that the family of this old Akua Denteh gave her out. Because a young lady who can’t count her abortions will rather point to her innocent mother as the witch who’s eating her babies in the womb than to see her countless abortions as the possible cause of her bareness. Shame on all of us as Gonjalanders! Shame on our leaders (political and traditional)! Shame on our youth!

May the soul of our mother, wife, sister, grandma, Denteh Akua Rest In Peace. May the genuine ancestors cause the perpetrators to bear the same shame in public and ultimately die like our mother. Mother is supreme and every mother ought to be protected.

Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese
Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese, © 2020

The author has 51 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: IssifuSeiduKudusGbeadese

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