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07.01.2005 Feature Article

Reaction to the president's address -Dagbon Deserves Better

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The Northern Region of Ghana in general and Dagbon in particular should be outraged about the address of President John A. Kufour to Parliament on January 04, 2005. In deed I am outraged at the lack of leadership on the part of the President, and totally abhorred by the indifference of the Vice President, in regards to the carnage of March 27, 2002 in Yendi. Over two years after the regicide the President, in his address, says,

“Government immediately put the security apparatus of the state to work to find the culprits and uncover the truth so justice could be done.”

Your Excellency, the regicide in Dagbon did not have to happen if the security apparatus was put work when the palace was being attacked. The regicide need not have happened if your Ministers checked their facts and not go to the media to announce to the whole nation that Yendi was calm. The regicide need not have happened, Mr. President, if government acted in accordance with the laws of the land when it was being reported for three consecutive days that gunshots were heard in Yendi and that the Ya Naa palace was under attack.

The president would have us believe that he so much wanted to uncover the truth so justice could be done he set up a committee of enquiry—the Wuaku commission. So he said in his address and I quote;

“The Wuaku Commission of Enquiry was instituted and the Committee of Eminent Chiefs was also set up. All these efforts were put in place to help tackle the very difficult and complex problem from all imaginable angles.”

My question is what happened to the report the Wuaku Commission submitted. We read about a white paper the government issued but are still waiting for action to be taken to bring the culprits to justice. Over one year after the work of the committee Dagbon is still waiting for justice, waiting for a way forward. A way the government resolved to provide. Mr. President, committees of enquiry should not be set up to investigate criminal offences. Such are better dealt with within the mandate of the criminal justice system. When the killing of the Ya Naa is being investigated as a war between feuding factions of the Yendi chieftaincy divide, we tend to loose sight of the fact that this was a pre-planned regicide, a barbaric act of murder. Mr. President you opened you address with the following;

“I stand before you today filled with pride and gratitude. … Before last year, there were a lot of “walking wounded” and many people who felt their unjust sufferings at the hands of harsh governments were unknown and unappreciated by their fellow citizens. “

I think. Mr. President, that your pride and gratitude is misplaced. The people of Dagbon are still reeling from the carnage of March 27, 2002. A carnage that took place under your watch as President of the Republic of Ghana. A carnage that set off a chain of events that still have the people of Dagbon suffering. A carnage that has emboldened many to take the laws into their own hands and unleash unthinkable molestation on the people of Dagbon. A carnage that has once again led to reports of shootings and killings of innocent people in Dagbon, in the name of chieftaincy conflict or party politics. Mr. President a carnage that has seen the decimation of many businesses in Dagbon due to a two year long state of emergency and curfew.

So Mr. President, your pride is to set up the National Reconciliation Commission to appease the “walking wounded” of previous harsh governments but you have created a “wounded people” in Dagbamba. The actions or inactions of your government and the complicity or not of many in your government are well documented and probably future governments will call you and your Ministers to answer when another Committee of National (or Dagbon) Reconciliation is set up. Your Excellency, the fight is not yet lost however, the people of Dagbon by their election choices of December 07, 2004 have voiced their total dissatisfaction in the stewardship of the NPP government. You should use your second term in office to prove them wrong by bringing the perpetrators of the regicide of March 27, 2002 to justice. The murdered and maimed in Dagbon over the past two years are still waiting for justice. This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Bring some justice to Dagbon.

Finally, Mr. President I am in total disbelief that your Government, your speechwriters, your Vice President, and yourself the reader of the address to parliament will fail know the name of the late Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II. In your address to parliament you read;

“The tragic death of Ya-Na Abdulai Andani II in March, 2002 shocked the whole nation and inflicted a trauma from which we are yet to recover.”

Mr. President the Ya Naa was a man your claimed to be your friend. The Ya Naa was a man your Vice President claims he respected; the Ya Naa was a man your former Interior Minister claimed voted for him. Mr. President this is a man whose murder you claim you are working tirelessly to solve. Yet in all your speech rehersals, and in the delivery of the speech to Parliament you did not even recognize that he is Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II. Not an Abdulai. Probably you are blinded by your desire to see an Abudu occupy the skins of Yani he might as well have been an Abudu.

Dagbamba all over the world, regardless of their Abudu-Andani stripes and all peoples of Northern extraction should be outraged and appalled that the Castle, the Vice President's Office, and the President should not know the name of the Ya Naa. A name that has dominated the news headlines in Ghana for the past two and a half years. It is indeed a shame. It shows how much the Government cares for the problems of Dagbon and Northern Ghana. I wish and hope that this is a typographical error on the part of the reporting media. If such is the case they need to apologise to the President and the people of Dagbon.

Dagbon deserves better, Ghana deserves better.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Abass Braimah, Dr.
Abass Braimah, Dr., © 2005

The author has 1 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AbassBraimah

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