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Bawku: Speak against the violence, your silence fueling speculations; there's limit to patients — 25 chiefs to Bawumia

Headlines Kusaug chiefs
SAT, 04 FEB 2023 LISTEN
Kusaug chiefs

The 25 divisional chiefs drawn from the six administrative districts of the Kusaug state; Garu, Tempane, Pusiga, Zebilla, Binduri and Bawku municipal are not happy with the stoning silence of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

They want him to speak against the violence being perpetrated in Bawku.

According to the divisional chiefs and queen mothers, the Vice President's silence on the Bawku conflict has been too loud and is fueling a lot of speculations.

The divisional chiefs said this at a press conference to express their revulsion and demand for immediate action to be taken to bring justice to the military killings in Bawku.

In the press statement read by kusaug traditional council secretary, Patrick Adakudugu stated that " The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana who is a Mamprusi and in whose residence the settler Bawku Mamprusis once demonstrated for what they called his lack of support for his kinsmen, must openly speak against violence being perpetrated in Bawku. We wish to say that, the silence of the vice president on the Bawku conflict has been too loud and is fueling a lot of speculations."

The Chiefs, however, call all Kusaasi youth groups to avoid conducting themselves in ways that will undermine the peace efforts of the Zugraana and the government of Ghana.

Read full statement below:
PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE KUSAUG TRADITIONAL COUNCIL

February 3rd, 2023
Friends of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Call for Urgent Steps to Restore Peace, Law and Order in Bawku: A Joint Statement by 25 Divisional Chiefs of the Kusaug Traditional Area

We members of the Kusaug Traditional Council, who are the Chiefs from all the 25 Divisions within the six Districts and Constituencies that make up the Kusaug Traditional Area (KTA), wish to express our deep concern about the prolonged acts of violence in our Traditional Capital, Bawku.

Since November 2021, Bawku has been going through an unending spate of violence, which has resulted in the death of dozens of people, destruction of property and the stalling of development. The government has had to also allocate significant resources that could have been used for development, towards the deployment of security forces to maintain law and order in Bawku and its environs.

As the traditional heads of our respective divisions within the KTA, we wish to acknowledge with great admiration and reverence, the exceptional leadership of our Overlord, His Royal Eminence, Zugran Abogrago Azoka II, who is also the Bawku Naba.

In the face of constant extreme provocations, our Overlord has constantly admonished us to prevail on our subjects to be peaceful. In fact, but for his exceptional patience and commitment to peace, the conflict in Bawku would have escalated to unimaginable proportions.

It is in the context of the above that we wish to express our deep concern about the continuous spate of lawlessness and killing of innocent civilians not just by settler Mamprusis in Bawku but also by the military personnel deployed to the town to protect lives and property.

While we remain loyal and committed to the orders of our Overlord, His Royal Eminence the Bawku Naba, Zugraan Abogrago Azoka II; we wish to point out that there is a limit to what the patience and peace commitment of our Overlord can to do to restore peace in Bawku. This is why we are calling for urgent steps to be taken to bring an end to the criminal acts of violence in our traditional capital. In the absence of such urgent steps, we may be compelled to act robustly to defend ourselves from the ongoing violence and criminal activities.

But before we go on to suggest some of the steps that should be taken to ensure peace in Bawku, we wish to set the records straight on the following three points to help enhance the understanding of the good people of Ghana on issues relating to the Bawku conflict.

1. Bawku Naba is not just the Chief of Bawku:

His Royal Eminence the Bawku Naba, Zugran Abogrago Azoka II, is not just the Chief of Bawku. He is the Overlord of the entire Kusaug area of the Upper East region spanning six (6) districts, namely: Bawku Municipal; Binduri District; Bawku West District (Zebilla); Pusiga District; Garu District; and Timpane District. As our overlord, the Zugran enskinned all of us as his divisional chiefs of the various divisions in the KTA. We, therefore, owe total and absolute allegiance and loyalty to him.

Thus, anyone seeking to challenge the authority or legitimacy of the Bawku Naba cannot be seeking to become the chief of just Bawku. Such a person is seeking to become our Overlord and Overlord of the KTA. Indeed, it is unconscionable for anyone or group to assume or think that it is possible for a non-Kusaasi to become Overlord of we the Kusaasi People and the KTA.

We wish to state emphatically that we remain resolutely and absolutely loyal to our Overlord, His Royal Eminence, Zugran Abugrago Azoka II. We wish to also state irrefutably that it is never ever possible for we, and our subjects in all the divisions, to owe allegiance to anyone but the Zugran of Kusaug who is also the Bawku Naba.

2. There is no one and nothing as regent of Bawku.

A traditional area or chiefdom can only have a regent (caretaker chief) when there is no substantive chief. Bawku has a rightful, substantive, legitimate, gazetted chief who is also the Overlord of the KTA, which spans the six political districts and constituencies in the area. The Zugraan is also the President of the KTA.

The Bawku Naba, His Royal Eminence, Zugraan Abugrago Azoka II, has ruled and provided exemplary leadership for the KTA for the last 39 years. He is a member and one-time President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs. He is a member of the National House of Chiefs.

He is recognised and acclaimed by the President of the Republic and the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs. He is affirmed by a Supreme Court ruling.

Giving the above facts and many more, anyone calling himself or being called a regent of Bawku is simply a trouble-maker and the cause of the ongoing acts of violence and criminal activities that are being perpetrated under the guise of a chieftaincy conflict. We call on the government to swiftly deal such an imposter to allow for peace to return to Bawku.

3. There is a Supreme Court Ruling on Bawku Chieftaincy

In April 2003, the settler Mamprusis in Bawku led by one Alhaji Ibrahim Adam Zangbeo, filed a case at the Supreme Court of Ghana to challenge the legitimacy of the current Bawku Naba who is also the Zugran of Kusaug.

First of all, the filling of that case was an admission and a recognition on the part of the settler Mamprusis in Bawku that there was (and there still is) a legally recognised Bawku Naba. If they did not recognise that there was (and there still is) a Bawku Naba, what did they seek to challenge at the Supreme Court?

In the course of the case at the Supreme Court, when they realised the baselessness of their claims, the settler Bawku Mamprusis applied to the Court to withdraw their unmeritorious case.

When they applied to withdraw their case, the Supreme Court had to make a decision and the Court did make a decision. The Supreme Court ruled to grant their application to withdraw their case. The Court did not, however, end it there. The Court also ruled that once withdrawn, the settler Bawku Mamprusis have no liberty to reapply to the Supreme Court on the same matter (Bawku Chieftaincy) in the future, under the Chieftaincy provisions of the 1992 constitution.

The Supreme Court then went on to award cost against the settler Bawku Mamprusis, in favour of the Bawku Naba, whose legitimacy and authority the settler Bawku Mamprusis had sought to challenge at the Court. Since the Court ruling over 19 years ago, the settler Bawku Mamprusis have contemptuously refused to pay the costs awarded by the Supreme Court. For the sake of peace, the Bawku Naba has resisted several calls on him to file contempt charges against the settler Mamprusi claimant.

If they have confidence in their claims and challenge to the legitimacy of the Bawku Naba, why have the settler Mamprusis in Bawku not gone back to Court to challenge the legitimacy of Bawku Naba, instead of resorting to guns and violence to destabilise the peace of Bawku? And let’s make one thing very clear. The issue is Bawku is not about two royal gates fighting over succession to the Bawku Skin. It is about one ethnic group, in this case, the Mamprusis, seeking to impose their rule over Kusasis on their own traditional land. Kusasis are the largest ethnic group in all of the Upper East and second only to Dagombas in all of the five Northern regions. Bawku is the commercial and traditional capital of Kusaug Tradtional Area. There is no way Mamprusis can come from Nalerigu/Gambaga in the Northereast Region to impose a Mamprusi chief in Bawku to rule over 25 Divisional areas of Kusaug.

On the basis of the foregoing and our unwavering loyalty to our Overlord, His Royal Eminence Zugraan Abogrago Azoka II, and our resolve to support his commitment to bring peace to Bawku, we make the following recommendations:

  • There should be strict enforcement of the laws of Ghana in Bawku to bring an end to all acts of criminality in the area. This will require exacting severe sanctions against perpetrators of lawless acts including:

  • the act of referring to someone or someone holding himself as regent of Bawku when there is a reigning, lawfully-eskinned and recognised Bawku Naba;

  • the use of both traditional and social media (radio, newspapers, Facebook, WhatsApp) for peddling false information; inciting hatred; perpetrating insults and other provocative expressions against each other, and in particular, against the Overlord of the KTA, His Royal Eminence, Zugran Abogrago Azoka II.

  • Any group that seeks to contest the legitimacy of the status of Zugran Abugrago Azoka II, should resort to the available appropriate judicial mechanisms rather than the current resort to weapons and violence.

  • The Overlord of the Mamprusis, the Nayiri, should emulate the peace efforts of his colleague, the Zugran of Kusaug, by openly calling on the settler Mamprusis in Bawku to desist from acts of violence and resort to peaceful mechanisms for resolving any grievances.

  • The Vice President of the Republic who is a Mamprusi and in whose residence the settler Bawku Mamprusis once demonstrated for what they called his lack of support for his kinsmen, must openly speak against the violence being perpetrated in Bawku. We wish to say that, the silence of the Vice President on the Bawku conflict has been too loud and if fuelling a lot of speculations.

  • All Kusaasi youth should avoid conducting themselves in ways that undermine the peace efforts of the Zugran and the government of Ghana, which we, as Divisional Chiefs have committed ourselves to.

  • The security agencies in Bawku should adhere to the law and enforce same. All killings of unarmed civilians as happened recently should be investigated, culprits brought to account and justice served to the bereaved families.

We wish to end by acknowledging and commending His Excellency the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for his unyielding commitment towards finding a lasting solution to the crisis in Bawku. We wish to assure his Excellency the President, the government and the good people of Ghana that we are solidly behind our Overlord, His Royal Eminence Zugran Abogrago Azoka II, in his commitment to working with His Excellency the President, his government and all stakeholders to bring peace and development to Bawku.

………………………………………….

NABA TAMBIIS BAALUK KUNWIAK IBRAHIM AGUURO I

(PUSIGA NABA)
FOR AND BEHALF OF THE TRADITIONAL COUNCIL

Atubugri Simon Atule
Atubugri Simon Atule

Upper East Regional Correspondent Page: AtubugriSimonAtule

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