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26.02.2007 General News

Gonja chieftaincy dispute

By (ghanaian-chronicle)
Gonja chieftaincy dispute

DRAMA UNFOLDED at the Sunyani Palace where a Fact Finding Committee had been set up by the Sunyani Traditional Council (STC) to look into the Gonja Community in Sunyani's Chieftaincy dispute, when one of the two contestants, Alhaji Abubakari Iddrisu could not speak the Gonja language.

The three-member committee chaired by the Gyaasehene of Sunyani Traditional Council, Nana Kwadwo Boahen in their quest to authenticate the allegation that the disputed Alhaji Abubakari Iddrisu a.k.a. Alhaji Texaco could not speak or understand the Gonja language asked the Spokesperson for the other factions, Zenabu Mahama to ask him a question in Gonja.

In response to Ms. Mahama, who represents retired Army Sergeant Seidu's faction, Alhaji Texaco who could neither understand nor speak the Gonja language became furious and threatened Ms. Mahama that she should wait and see what would happen to her.

The committee rebuked Alhaji Texaco that as he was contesting to become a chief he should be prepared to take bitter words and desist from making such threats to the people he wants to lead.

Alhaji Texaco sat before the Committee for some minutes without being able to answer Ms. Mahama's question which was asked in Gonja that “Why do you want to be the Chief of the Gonjas in Sunyani”.

The dispute began after the death of Alhaji Dramani, the first Gonja Chief in Sunyani who died in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on January 9, 2006, during a holy pilgrimage.

After his death, the Sunyani Gonja Community has failed to find a rightful person to inherit the vacant position, which has resulted in a rift among the Gonjas in Sunyani.

The recent dispute necessitated the Sunyani Traditional Council (STC) to set up a three Member Fact Finding Committee to look into the matter to find a solution to it so that peace would prevail.

The Committee Members include the Akwamuhene, Nana Kwaku Saabeng Ababio and the Adontenhene, Nana Boadi Akrofa.

The Chief Imam for the Gonjas in Sunyani, Alhaji Abubakari Bala was the Spokesperson for the Alhaji Texaco faction.

Before the commencement of the hearing, Nana Saabeng Ababio, cautioned the factions to remain calm and contribute effectively to set records straight so that after the issues have been settled, they can live together as one family for their own good.

A spokesperson for each group was called to present their cases and answer some relevant questions from the committee.

Ms. Mahama Zenabu, spokesperson for Sergeant Seidu's group was the first to be called upon by the committee to present their side of the story.

In her presentation, Ms. Mahama said that Alhaji Texaco was not a true Gonja but a Zabrama, hence it was illegal to make him their Chief. She buttressed her assertion with a letter dated July 4, 1999, written by the Nigerienne Community to the Chairman of the Zongo Chiefs in Sunyani, which indicated that Alhaji Abubakari Iddrisu was nominated unopposed and elected by the entire Zabrama Community in Sunyani as their Chief.

Mahama Zenabu told the committee that Alhaji Abubakari Iddrisu does not speak or understand Gonja, therefore he was not in a position to lead the Community as a Chief.

But the Spokesperson for Alhaji Texaco's faction, Alhaji Abubakari Bala refuted that it was a mere allegation which was purported to damage the reputation of Alhaji Texaco, after his immense contribution to the Gonja Community in Sunyani and the Brong Ahafo Region as a whole.

He told the Committee that Alhaji Texaco was a true Gonja, whose mother hails from Salaga, and again not every Gonja could speak or understand the language since some of them were not born at their hometowns.

The Committee has adjourned the sitting and advised the two groups not to do anything that would mar the peaceful atmosphere enjoyed in Sunyani.