– Continuing the Nandom Chieftaincy Debate
The general philosophical sum theory on the origins of the State may be stated thus - an interaction over time between socio-political and economic forces. The size and intensity of these forces are often said to be unique to specific circumstances and motives, although sometimes there are some similarities. Therefore while in the context of a modern world, the motives behind such interactions may be considered outmoded, they nonetheless form a critical element within the masses of forces which have shaped statehood as we know it today. When these forces interact, the outcomes would lead to, in some cases, deconstruction, and in others, the construction, of old and new states respectively. In Ayi Kwei Armah's brilliant exposés on Africa, he takes this analysis further when he innovates the idea of re-membering Africa, in the form of the struggle for and the partition of Africa, by foreign political, economic and social forces, resulting in the drawing of new boundaries, the movement of people and the consequent cross-cultural fertilization among them. Ghana, and indeed, every country in the world as we know it today, is the result of the interaction of these forces. In a simple, straightforward argument, everyone came from somewhere else.
THE ORIGINS OF THE NANDOM ROYAL FAMILY
If in addressing the origins of the Nandom Royal Family, I tend to be more basic, it is especially for the benefit of Mr. Chrisanthus Dambole-Naa, as this writer strongly believes that Mr. Dambole-Naa is seriously challenged in grasping the very basic facts of his own history. The last known origins of the Nandom Royal Family according to archival documents can be traced to today's Burkina Faso. In fact, the first settlers called the place “Nar'dom”, which is difficult to translate in a single word, but may be rendered thus – “might as well squat”. “Nar'dom” eventually became “Nandom”. To this day, there are close blood ties between the Chiir Family of Nandom and their relatives in Burkina Faso. Similar contiguous ties exist between tribes on the eastern and western fringes of Ghana and the adjoining countries. The geographical boundaries which now exist are the creation of colonialism. Within Ghana itself, the regional boundaries understandably serve little purpose in clearly demarcating ethnicities, when the reality is that cross-cultural interactions existed long before the creation of the modern state of Ghana. All this information is a matter of record, and documented accounts and oral folklore tightly coincide and are consistent in this conclusion. I doubt that Mr. Dambole-Naa can trace his own history to the most recent point of migration.
Sadly, Mr. Dambole-Naa chooses to rely on the writings of a foreigner Carola Lentz, one of the very foreigners he sweepingly castigates for the creation of the Nandom Chieftaincy, to advance his argument questioning the institution of chieftaincy in Nandom. In doing so, Mr. Dambole-Naa sounded like a half baked anthropologist or a colonial Gold Coast historian schooled in what foreigners have written on his own Dagara culture and roots. It would have been most gratifying if his search centered on his grandparents or any such elders in the Dagara fraternity. It is odd that Mr. Dambole-Naa should mention the “Dagaaba Chief of Kaleo” and yet neglect to mention Naa Gbullu Chiir, the first to have the Colonial Chieftaincy bestowed upon him in addition to his already acquired indigenous cephalous leadership among the people of Nandom. Indeed oral accounts and available colonial documents in our National Archives reveal that the Dagara in the Nandom area mentioned Chiir as their Leader when asked by the first colonialist who ventured into the area; that Chiir was also called Chemogoh stems from the fact that the man traveled very widely in the sub-region and was very popular. The visitors to his Compound or Palace called him “Chemogoh”, which means Leader in Jula /Wangara. Mr. Dambole-Naa is correct in the apparent foreign names of the Nandom Royalty but the absolute truth is that the original bearers of these “foreign” names also have Dagara names, specifically: 1. Chemogoh -Bechenmaa Gbullu Chiir. 2. Najo - Gbullu Chiir Naaimuo Der. 3. Dzang - Gbullu Chiir Aa-ire-kureme. 4. Imoru - Chiir Naaimuo Der Puobe. To hit close to home, Mr. Dambole-Naa bears the first name “Chrisanthus”. Does this then make him a foreigner? If he insists that his characterization of Nandom Royalty as “foreigners” simply because of the foreign names they have (incidentally African) is correct, then it is even more so to question his own indigeneity to Nandom on that basis as well, especially that his first name is of Greek origin. For his further education, I wish to note that the Ashanti King is out-doored in traditional war attire called “Batakari Kese”, meaning “large smock”. Is it logical and true to impugn illegitimacy to the Ashanti Kingdom/Royal Family simply because the word “Batakari” is of Hausa origin? It is interesting to see how Mr. Dambole-Naa's own name measures against his own premise. Taste your own medicine and see if you like it.
Obviously, Mr. Dambole-Naa is unaware that the Nandom Royal Family has Dagara names, and so he consulted a “foreigner”, whose primary motivation for doing what she does is economic. The truth is Carola Lentz is making a ton of money off her inaccurate representations of Nandom's history in the bankrupt anthropological writings she publishes, and people like Dambole-Naa citing her without doing the necessary cross-checking, are aiding and abetting in the rapacity of our history, culture and mores. Yes, again in the view of Mr. Dambole-Naa, the fools that Nandomε are, we are sitting on the sidelines and foreigners are making a decent living out of our own history. We are again on the sidelines, while foreigners of questionable backgrounds are re-writing our story, when indeed there are tons of unanswered questions of Germany's stewardship of Germany from 1937 to 1945. This should occupy Fraulein Carola Lentz for the remainder of her natural life time, yet she is busy slanting Nandomε and finding willing accomplices (Mr. Dambole-Naa) in the very people she is insulting.
This is why the statement of Mr. Chrisanthus Dambole-Naa, impugning the origins of the Nandom Royal Family as foreigners, is not only moot but nonsensical. If the Nandom Royal Family is a political creation, such is the case with the entire Ghana and indeed all countries around the world. Indeed, a good number of Royalties in the past were aliens and not aboriginal to the countries and empires they ruled. The British Colonial Administration which recognized Gbullu Chemogoh Chiir as King or Chief of Nandom has had alien Hanovarians from Germany as Monarchs of the British Empire. Mr. Dambole-Naa ought to study Royalty and Chieftaincy more seriously before venturing into uncharted waters. In some aspects, some modern day Ghanaians can be traced to the inhabitants of ancient Ghana, many of whose inhabitants now occupy modern day Mali, Niger, Gambia, etc. Perhaps a simple definition of politics is appropriate at this point: politics is the process and method of making decisions for groups. Although it is generally applied to governments, politics is also observed in all human group interactions including corporate, academic, personal, cultural and religious. If politics cuts across all spectra of human endeavour, then is it simply bad to create something out of politics? Is it for instance bad that modern Ghana is a creation of politics, or that the fundamental freedoms which Mr. Dambole-Naa now enjoys are a creation of politics? The problem arises when politics is misapplied. Different systems of politics exist, and as people interact, they learn from each other. No single culture or system of government on any continent across the entire world, can boast exclusivity in that regard. For the education of Mr. Dambole-Naa, the concept of democracy and government as we know it today has evolved over time; the system of government in Ghana today is an amalgam of the British and American systems; and both the British and the Americans also co-opted aspects of their systems from Greco-Roman and other systems. To argue as though the creation of the Chieftaincy Institution in Nandom is per se bad, is to argue that every single institution in this entire world is bad. If this is so, then how realistic and how solid is Mr. Dambole-Naa's own creation and existence as a human being? How legitimate then is the office which Mr. Ambrose Dery now occupies. I dare say that everybody on this earth came from somewhere else. People just do not sprout from the bowels of the earth. Politics does create bad things and when that happens, the bad things aught to be fixed or replaced; the politics might change as well, but it does not lead to the annihilation of politics as a component of human interaction.
But the Nandom Chieftaincy dispute is not about the origins of the Nandom Royal Family. It is about the truth, facts and justice, and the lack of these in this particular matter is a creation of the politics which Mr. Dery now represents. To be fair, it is possible in some instance to argue that some truth may be based on a purely subjective view. However, for the most part, the truth is objective and universal. The objectivity and universality of such truth may then be based on factual, recorded, historical accounts, which form part of the basis for the dispensation of justice in a fair and transparent manner. This is an important aspect which Mr. Dambole-Naa clearly misses in his zeal to impugn foreign origins to the Nandom Royal Family and to appease his patrons. Perhaps Mr. Dambole-Naa has an axe to grind with a particular member of the Nandom Royal Family. If this is correct, then he is advised to take up the matter with that individual, instead of trying to ride the coat tails of the testy Nandom Chieftaincy dispute to vent his spleen. Personal quarrels have no place in the people's agenda.
INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY – The Tale of the Tape
Hear (read) Mr. Dambole-Naa as he waxes philosophical: “To understand this, the words of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the well known French philosopher is instructive. He once said in French the following: “Nous aimons toujours ce qui nous admirent. Mais, n'aimons pas ce que nous admirons”, which when translated means “We always like those who admire us, but we never like those we admire””[See The Nandom Chieftaincy Dispute – the Other Side of the Story – By Chrisanthus Dambole-Naa, October 29, 2005].
The truth is, to simply wax philosophical is not by itself sufficient. One must be accurate and truthful to the philosophy and the philosopher one cites so brazenly; and of course the citation must be appropriate. For instance, I doubt completely that Jean Jacques Rousseau, a French who worked hard and rose to aristocratic levels (from an odd jobs man to Ambassador), would write or speak such extremely bad French. The grammatical and semantic structure of the piece Mr. Dambole-Naa quotes is fraught with pitfalls, for example, the use of “ce” in “ce qui” and “ce que” are unacceptable in French in this particular sentence and structure. The third person plural form of the verb admirer (to admire in English) which is “admirent” as used in Mr. Dambole-Naa's quotation, should agree with the demonstrative pronoun/adjective “ce qui” which is in admissible in this sentence because it is in the third person singular, which again conflicts with the verb “admirent”. Further, translating these phrases as “those who” and “those” is completely wrong, and “ce qui” and “ce que” in this context would refer more appropriately to a situation and an inanimate subject and since inanimate things and situations are incapable of admiring people (and only the reverse is true), what is the point of Mr. Dambole-Naa's bad French? If indeed Rousseau said this, he would more appropriately have said: Nous aimons toujours ceux qui nous amdirent, mais n'aimons pas ceux que nous admirons. This should then translate somewhat into what Mr. Dambole-Naa renders in English. Poor Rousseau, he must be turning in his grave to have been so vastly misrepresented and misquoted. If Mr. Dambole-Naa did study French, he apparently did so poorly and his French Teachers must be disappointed so many years after the fact, that his French is still sub-standard. So why did he not simply spare readers the pain of his bad French? The answer is simple – this style is characteristic of many a secondary school debater of the days of old, during which citing even non-existent authorities, erroneously indicated to a more sensationally focused crowd of cheering and under informed students that the debater was widely read. If this is the case with Mr. Dambole-Naa, then he is simply holding on to hackneyed quotations and tactics from an era and a glory, long dead and vastly irrelevant to the adult world of serious thinkers today.
True Quotes and False Quotes
So is Mr. Dambole-Naa's bad French simply a case of poor linguistic ability? Certainly not, it is worse than that and I feel compelled to point out that it is a case of grievous mis-quotation and mis-attribution of significant factual inaccuracies pertaining to this quotation, not only as a duty to properly inform and educate, but also to give credit where credit is due and do justice to the hard work of deserving people.
First, Jean Jacques Rousseau, while a philosopher, did not provide that saying. The author of this saying is actually Francois de La Rochefoucauld, a French author and moralist who lived from 1613 – 1680, long before Rousseau lived from 1712 - 1778. Rochefoucauld was a keen observer of the Court of Louis XIV. The intention here is not to provide a lecture on Rochefoucauld, but to state unequivocally that Mr. Dambole-Naa misquoted - one more indication of the intellectual dishonesty which characterized his article.
Second, the closest Jean Jacques Rousseau ever came to discussing love and admiration in this context, is in his well-known work Narcissus also known as The Self-Admirer, a comedy written some time earlier in 1752 and first performed for the King's Court on or about December 18, 1752. In this play, Rousseau discusses a man so pre-occupied with his own qualities that he ignores the genuine attentions of a beautiful woman. Eventually, the woman tricks him to fall in love with a portrait of himself, disguised as a woman, thereby making a fool of the man. If this was the intended quote of Mr. Dambole-Naa, then it more appropriately applies to Mr. Ambrose Dery and lackeys like Dambole-Naa himself, who are so indulgent in the kind of self-praise laid out in George Orwell's Animal Farm. By contrast, this is what is particularly uncharacteristic of Dzang, famous for preferring to work hard behind the scenes in quiet honesty and diplomacy. This is a trait of Dzang that Mr. Dery and Mr. Dambole-Naa must truly be envious of.
On October 30, 2005, a certain Paschal, comments on Mr. Dambole-Naa's French on SIL Ghana (Ghanaweb's opinion platform), succinctly pointing out the elements of bad French and the misrepresentation of Rousseau's quote, perhaps as a diplomatic way of nudging Dambole-Naa to correct the errors or even to admit to the misquotation and misrepresentation. Yet, either out of stubbornness or due to gross ignorance (and I am inclined to believing the latter is more applicable), Mr. Dambole-Naa blames the mistakes on typographical errors, while still insisting that the quote is correct in its entirety. The following is Mr. Dambole-Naa's response in its entirety: [To Paschal, the translation is correct. The typo s in the french sentence. What is typed as "Mais, n'aimons pas ce que nous admirons" should read "Mais nous n'aimons pas ce qui nous admirons". Sorry for the error, and other typos you may still find in the article.” Thanks. Dambole-Naa]. Note that he says absolutely nothing about the false attribution of the quote.
How can erroneously citing a source be blamed on mistakes typographical? This remains baffling to many readers. If Mr. Dambole-Naa can type and understands typing, he must surely know that his explanation is far-fetched. This begs the somewhat clichéd sayings attributed to Sir Richard Burton and several other sources, to wit: He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool; shun him. He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student; teach him. He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep; wake him up. He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man; follow him. I would not like readers to think that this is simply a critique of Mr. Dambole-Naa's linguistic ability and false quotations alone. His ability to analyze very fundamental issues lacks both substance and logical premise, which is symptomatic of academic bankruptcy and full-blown intellectual dishonesty. He makes chieftaincy a development issue and, for once, I concur that chieftaincy ought to play a more concrete and constructive role in development. Development is partly about welfare outcomes benefiting the majority of people, right? Well if “within the short period that Ambrose has been in politics, he has contributed more to the development of the ordinary people of Nandom” according to Mr. Dambole-Naa, then how does one explain the fact that he lost the last Parliamentary Election 33% to 62%, in which the winner Dr. Ben Kuubuor almost doubled the percentage of votes garnered by Mr. Dery? How is it that the “ordinary people” eligible to vote and voting in the last election, (who form a majority in Nandom and Lawra) did not confirm this view of Mr. Dery? Is Mr. Dambole-Naa again impugning the intelligence of the Lawra-Nandom electorate? So why will Mr. Dambole-Naa make such an inordinately false claim? Simple, like his bad French and false citations, his basic arithmetic is equally suspect or sketchy at best; so although the loss is a matter of record and statistical significance, with real social and political implications, the real meaning of that number is completely lost on Mr. Dambole-Naa. Above all else, his proclivity for fabrication and peddling falsehoods is almost legendary as revealed in his piece. So clearly, but for an appointment by the President (which by itself is not bad), Mr. Ambrose Dery would not be the politician that Mr. Dambole-Naa falsely paints so glowingly; indeed Mr. Ambrose Dery would by now be facing the full import of the loss (33% to 62%) he suffered. Is Mr. Dery currently a creation of politics? Certainly, and that by itself is not bad; it is what the “creature” does with its existence or creation which matters. In the minds of the Dambole-Naas of this world, truth, facts and justice do not matter.
DZANG AND DEVELOPMENT: DEFINING MOMENTS – A MATTER OF RECORD
Mr. Dambole-Naa is definitely misinforming the public when he makes the development of Nandom the sole responsibility of Chiefs of the area. However, this is the only way by which he can then hang them, for it is a fact that Nandom like many other places in Ghana, and indeed all of Ghana, needs development. But it is equally true that politicians have an even bigger obligation to develop Nandom and the country as a whole. While Nandom's Chiefs could have done better, a similar and stronger charge can be made of politicians. Is it therefore a crime on the part of Dzang to be trying to do just that, by insisting through the appropriate customary and legal processes, that the right thing be done, by removing an illegitimate incumbent ruler? This is at the core of the Nandom Chieftaincy dispute. The problem is caused by the occupation of the Skin, by someone customarily unqualified to hold that position. The situation is further exacerbated by the following:
1. Instead of focusing on the welfare of the ordinary people of Nandom, the incumbent is pre-occupied with his own survival since he has no other legally employable skills. His claim to a PhD is false; and he is a wanted man in the only place he really had some connections – Italy. The man has no where to go and so will do everything to hold on to even what is not his, so long as it is the only means to his survival.
2. The allegations of Mr. Ambrose Dery's interference in the Nandom Chieftaincy dispute are eerily similar to allegations previously found to be true, of Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama's interference in the Nandom Chieftaincy during the P(NDC) days. While that initial interference cannot be blamed on Mr. Dery, a lot that happens (or fails to happen) now gives ample cause for concern. It appears however, that Mr. Dambole-Naa sees Mr. Dery's interference as simply a matter of following in the footsteps of politicians before him (perhaps those of Iddrisu Mahama?) – of interfering in the dispute. The question obviously is why are politicians so pre-occupied with the Nandom Chieftaincy when they should rightly be focused on the development needs of the ordinary people? Is there perhaps something to be gained politically and personally, or is it simply a desire to keep Nandom backward?
As evidence of how useless the Chieftaincy Institution in Nandom is, Mr. Dambole-Naa cites Dzang as having made no contributions to Nandom's development. He even directly challenges me to name a single achievement Dzang has brought to Nandom. While it is my belief that Dzang is not the person to blow his own horn, I am equally aware of some facts of Dzang's contributions to Nandom in particular and Ghana in general. Although Dzang is not liable for the transgressions of the current Nandom Naa, for the information and education of Nandomε in particular and readers in general, here are a few of Dzang's contributions:
1. Dzang was a pioneer and strong supporter behind the formation of the Nandom Youth and Development Association (NYDA) to which he was named Life Patron, a source of envy from a few of his cotemporaries from Nandom. Two other Patrons were named, the then Bishop of Wa diocese now Arch Bishop Emeritus Peter Porekuu Dery and the late Nandom Naa, Naa Polkuu Konkuu Chiir VII, but neither was made Life Patron. In other words, even if Dzang lost the position he occupied at the time, he would still remain Life Patron until his dying day. Although NYDA started with a lot of promise, selfish people worked hard to virtually bankrupt the organization and kill the initiative. I am aware of the many times we approached Dzang for money to revamp NYDA, and how every time, he would first as a son of Nandom, and second as Life Patron, readily come to NYDA's assistance. Sadly, the negativity within NYDA continued and partly explains the sorry state of affairs of one of the first development organizations in the Region; NYDA could easily have morphed into a pioneering NGO in the Region long before NGOs became fashionable. Despite the initial teething problems, NYDA ensured the establishment of the Nandom Rural Bank, Nandom Low Cost Housing Scheme, with Dzang playing the yeoman's role behind the scenes. NYDA was the trail-blazer for other Development Associations like JYDA ( Jirapa Youth Development Association).
2. True to his character, Dzang has always worked quietly. It may interest readers in general, Nandomε in particular, and Mr. Dambole-Naa especially to know that Dzang was the influence behind the upgrading of Nandom Secondary School to Sixth Form level. Mr. Dambole-Naa can cross-check with Brother Albert Ketelaars, Nandom Secondary School's most celebrated former Headmaster. Perhaps, Mr. Dambole-Naa is a beneficiary of Sixth Form education in Nandom Secondary School, or perhaps he was not so fortunate, as his writings betray. However, if he benefited from that education it is largely due to the efforts of Dzang on the Government side which helped Nandom Secondary School realize that dream. Sadly, the gratitude Dzang receives from people such as Mr. Dambole-Naa is to spew out untruths meant to tarnish a rather enviable reputation. Well, as our Elders say in Dagara “ε Woba bε tεr maalo'ε. Fo mi yel kε fo maali woba yang, o kyen kyiili pεr kyכg fo”, meaning literally, that helping a lame person to gain his/her balance when walking is a wasted effort, for no matter what he/she will still walk angularly in your face. This perennial angular swagger may be caused by a bloated confidence meant to insult his/her helper. Indeed kindness to a severely lame person is a wasted effort; once lame, always a lamebrain.
3. Again Dzang had the foresight to work for the upgrading of Divisional Chiefs in the Lawra Confederacy District Council to Paramount Status, including other Divisional Chiefs in present day Upper West Region. This was with a view to keeping the Region at par with similar developments in other parts of the country. If Dzang provided Chiefs with an opportunity for lifting up their status and dealing with the region's problems at a higher level, he cannot be responsible for what negative things they used that status for; just like if Mr. Dambole-Naa attended Sixth Form in Nandom Secondary School, Dzang cannot now be responsible for Mr. Dambole-Naa's stupidity and misuse of that education.
4. The Upper West Region as we know it today did not simply come to exist under the PNDC Government. The initial spade work and foundation was done by Dzang and Beni earlier on in Government which led to a testy exchange between Beni and some other members of Government. Under the PNDC Government, when the issue again came up, Dzang was there to provide the critical impetus that led to what is now the Upper West Region. This is the same region over which Mr. Ambrose Dery now presides as Regional Minister.
5. Further, Dzang fully supported the building of the Tono irrigation project in the then Upper Region at the time. Other projects were under consideration when he left SMC1. At that time Operation Feed Yourself was a great success and farmers all over the country, including the North, and Nandom, saw better days farming-wise.
6. Long before the creation of the Upper West Region, Dzang worked hard to bring development to the entire Upper Region without any discrimination whatsoever. Some readers may recall URADEP (Upper Regional Agricultural Development Project), a specially designed project to enhance agriculture in the deprived Upper Region so that it will catch up with the rest of Ghana. Dzang was an active architect as well. So suggesting that Dzang's establishment of his farms in Tamale is evidence of his neglect of the people of Nandom is inconsistent with documentary evidence which shows a solid record of agricultural support by Dzang for the Upper Region.
7. After retiring from the Navy and as Member of SMC1, Dzang was assigned as High Commissioner to Australia with concurrent accreditations to five other countries in South-East Asia. His achievements there can be judged by the number of Australian Mining Companies who pioneered the rejuvenation of the Gold Industry in the early 1980's and are still in Ghana to this day (a good number of Nandomε are currently employed in the mining industry).
These are but a few of Dzang's contributions to the Region of which I am aware. I strongly suspect there is much more. However, I know that even elaborating on the few here will embarrass him as this is not his way of doing things. If one took a broader national assessment of Dzang's contributions to Ghana, he easily stands much taller than Mr. Dambole-Naa and his patrons. Yet never has this man ever indulged in self-praise, for I am certain he believes judgment is best left to a discerning posterity. Now that I have enumerated a few of Dzang's contributions to the Upper West Region, can Mr. Dambole-Naa please do the following?
1. State any contributions he himself has made to the development of Nandom (excluding service under the National Service Scheme). 2. State Mr. Ambrose Dery's contributions to the development of Nandom (excluding the false claim that Mr. Dery established the now operational Radio Freed; I am was in Cape Coast when Mr. Dery made that claim and I heard him “live and direct”).
THE ANATOMY OF A FOOL The Oxford English Dictionary defines a fool as a person who acts unwisely. Expatiating further on this, one might therefore infer that a fool is a person who lacks good judgment, is gullible and easy to take advantage of. According to the mis-education of Mr. Dambole-Naa, the origins of the Dagara chief lies in the Colonial Administration's appointment of the most stupid/foolish person ever to walk on Dagara land at the time of the arrival of the British, and not by any sense of leadership and organizational abilities. In his view, this was in sync with the Administration's ultimate objective of manipulation and exploitation. If Mr. Dambole-Naa's account is correct, then it is accurate to conclude that the current Nandom Naa is a fool and serves for Mr. Ambrose Dery (a politician), precisely the very purposes the so-called foolish chiefs served the Colonial Administration (politicians). So is the carefully crafted opposition to a change in the status quo in fear of the day wisdom returns to the Nandom Skin? Dzang is definitely no “push-around”. Is this the real reason why Mr. Dery has garnered and is garnering every effort and resource to sustain the foolish chief so that as a politician, he can continue to manipulate and exploit Nandom through him?
Ironically, Mr. Dambole-Naa goes further to point out that the only other qualification required of the so-called Foolish Chief, was for him to own a lot of cattle in order to pay fines imposed by the Colonial Administration. If one is foolish, as Mr. Dambole-Naa wants everyone to believe, how is one able to not only simply acquire cattle (arguably from among the multitude of competing wise men), but acquire lots of it to be able to pay colonial fines on behalf of all the tribesmen and women – both the foolish and the wise? To find the answer to this, the meaning of the name “Dambole-Naa” in and of itself is insightful. To paraphrase Mr. Dambole-Naa, Dagara names are replete with deep meaning. So let us apply this insight to his own name. As part of the orthographic and semantic structure of the Dagara language, inflections on vowels in words play a significant role, hence the language is sometimes somewhat problematic to the non-Dagara. In addition, sometimes the adoption of English orthographic rules can mask a critical pitch in the pronunciation of a word and thus misrepresent its meaning. Therefore, the prefix “Dambole” would have one of five meanings: 1. “Dambol”, in Dagara means “Fool”. However, if one got sucked up into English orthographic structures in which sometimes the vowel “e” at the end of a word is silent, then one might spell “dambol” as “dambole” (as in the name under reference here). The word would still mean “fool”.
2. “Dambole” with a higher accent on the “e” as in the English sound “ay” would literally mean “little fool”, which in proper rendering will mean “a person with a small mind”.
3. “Dambole” with a flatter accent on the “e” in Dagara becomes the plural for “Dambol”, which would mean “fools
4. Proceeding from (3) above, “Dambole-Naa” could also mean the “chief fool”; in other words the chief fool among a group of fools.
5. In relation to Mr. Dambole-Naa's earlier argument that the Colonialists' selection of a chief was based on his level of stupidity, “Dambole-Naa” is perhaps some punning combination of the meanings of (1), (2), (3) and (4) above, as euphemism for anyone who accepts the current Nandom Naa as Chief. In this instance, it is the governed who are fools; the governor is not. This is an insult not only to the entire people of Nandom, but also to anyone who accepts the current Nandom Naa as Chief. This would include Mr. Ambrose Dery and all other persons who wish that the fraudulent status quo in the Nandom chieftaincy not be changed with one clear exception – Dzang.
6. Finally, the suffix “Naa” in the author's name is the Dagara equivalent for the word “King” or “Chief”. The above analyses form the core of Mr. Dambole-Naa's argument. Sadly, it would appear that the meaning of his own name weighs heavily on his psyche and thus, transcends every aspect of his life. Dagara names are not simply replete with meaning; they are of grave import and portent. Sometimes, the import and portent or this psyche can further translate into the very basic of vices, such as stealing in an Embassy in Ghana and getting dismissed for that act of transgression…. But I digress… THE NON-ISSUE – The Church versus the State
Mr. Dambole-Naa seeks to convince readers but most importantly himself of his bankrupt views, by reducing the Nandom Chieftaincy dispute to a conflict between Church and State. To do that would be to take an inordinately simplistic view of the matter. To equally argue that members of the Chiir Family took public service as a career, because they were either non-achievers or lucky, compared with non-members who were missionary educated is equally myopic, and betrays a moronic (no pun to his name intended) tendency to further unnecessarily sour relations between Church and State. For the record, a significant number of the Chiir Family members are also products of missionary schools, or a combination of both government and church schools. Success is always some combination of hard work and luck; as is widely said, luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. Everyone gets a share of both in their endeavours, including Mr. Dambole-Naa himself. This aspect of Mr. Dambole-Naa's argument deserves the highest level of contempt.
MIS-EDUCATION OR MIS-ADVISEMENT
On a much higher note however, this debate is not about Dzang and Mr. Dery, for whatever it is that Mr. Dery is currently aspiring to, Dzang has “been there, done that and excelled”. What is at stake is salvaging a once respectable institution, now hijacked partly by people who have completely disregarded laid down customary procedure in order to, and continue to, illegitimately occupy the Nandom Skin, and partly by people with deep animosity against royalty in general and specifically against the further development of the Nandom Traditional Area, while strangely enough, benefiting from the illegitimate occupation of the very position of Nandom Naa that Mr. Dambole-Naa sweepingly castigates. The Nandom Chieftaincy institution is much larger than Dzang, and definitely more so than Mr. Ambrose Dery, who is an outsider to the Nandom Royal Family. Dzang is not.
Also, this debate is certainly not against what Mr. Ambrose Dery represents or claims to represent per se. However, in so far as Mr. Dery chooses to use his new status to subvert the Nandom Chieftaincy, then he can rest assured that not only Dzang, but also citizens of Nandom, concerned for the welfare and development of Nandom and the Nandom Chieftaincy, will rise up to the defense of the area and that institution. It is in the defense of that institution that I write this piece and also to straighten out the inaccuracies peddled by Mr. Dambole-Naa's article.
Discerning readers know that if Mr. Dambole-Naa's claim is true, that Dzang's military background is sufficient indication of a secret plan on the part of Dzang to violently disrupt anything in Nandom, then Dzang is sufficiently endowed with the foresight to have exercised such an advantage much earlier in the days when he had that kind of power directly bestowed on him by his office. As irresponsible as such an act would have been, despicable characters like Mr. Dambole-Naa would have been long dead, sparing humanity and the people of Nandom in particular, the vermin that Mr. Dambole-Naa represents. Mr. Dambole-Naa would then have been consigned to the dustbin of history where he rightly belongs. Fortunately, Dzang can rise above such barbaric behaviour, which is not the conduct Mr. Dery exhibited when he was faced with the problem of a peaceful demonstration in Nandom.
Nandomε and the current Nandom Naa now understand clearly in what regard Mr. Dambole-Naa and his patrons hold them, notably:
1. That Nandomε are fools (that the current Nandom Naa is a chief of fools – “Dambole-Naa”).
2. That the current Nandom Naa is a “chief fool”, that is, the most foolish person in a group of fools; or that he is a chief with a small mind or chief of a small-minded people.
3. That anyone who accepts the current Nandom Naa as such, is a fool. So Dr? Imoru, any time any of your so-called supporters, including Mr. Ambrose Dery and perhaps Mr. Dambole-Naa, meet with you, no matter what they say to you, here is what they are really thinking – that you are a fool, a “dambole-naa” or a chief fool. What a price to pay for their support!!!
Finally, the worst one can do to himself is to continue digging when one is in a hole. Mr. Ambrose Dery will do well not to heed the advice of persons such as Mr. Dambole-Naa, given the fact that the man can hardly get his facts right; in fact, he is more likely to grossly misrepresent Mr. Dery's views and when the chips are down, and it will be Mr. Dery who takes the flak for all these inaccuracies and misrepresentations; governments come and go. It is equally sad, that given the level of education and expertise that Nandom can boast of, which is of course well-known, Mr. Dery's choice of Mr. Dambole-Naa as an “Advisor” of some sort, erroneously conveys the impression that this is the best Nandom has to offer – a bunch of half-baked, intellectually dishonest, analytically deficient, selfish and unlettered misfits, masquerading as persons working for the welfare of the ordinary people of the Nandom Traditional Area. The best and brightest of Nandom far exceed the incapacities displayed by Mr. Dambole-Naa. On the other hand, if Mr. Dambole-Naa unilaterally arrogated to himself the job of “Advisor to Mr. Dery”, then his arrogance is typical of an ignorant fool and Mr. Dery can only suffer by that association. Mr. Dery, please heed the advice of Sir Richard Burton – shun Mr. Dambole-Naa. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.