‘Let’s jaw-jaw but not war-war’
The friends had just assembled at their rendezvous in Togbe Koblavie Dzakuma's house when they heard a big knock at the gate.
"It's anybody around? Old Boy, where're you?" asked a strange voice.
"Who're you? Come over, please!" responded Togbe.
The knock continued until one of Togbe's grand kids opened the gate.
"Hei, Alhaji! What brings you here this afternoon? When did you return from up north?"
"Hmm! Let me first have some water and I tell you my story", Alhaji Tanko said, as he wiped off the sweat from his face with the big towel around his neck.
After exchanging greetings, Opanyin Yaw Boakye, on behalf of the friends, asked: "You look like a disturbed person; why?"
"Hmm! Hmm!!" he gasped for breath and drank some water. "You see, there's a big, big trouble in my village … my people are at war, beheading themselves. I hear one of my grandsons is dead. Oh, what can I do?"
"Alhaji, what's the problem?" enquired Togbe's wife, Daavie, who was serving him with Coca Cola.
"Here you're, Old Boy. I know you hate our favourite Schnapps Bitters", said Togbe.
"Alhaji is missing something in his body. He doesn't know that this stuff is the best. It energizes us when we go to bed …" Agya Kow teased him and they burst into laughter.
"Oh, I see! Go and ask Hajia and she'll tell you the amount of energy I get from my cola and the soft drinks", he replied with a smile.
"Now, Alhaji let's listen to your problem", Togbe asked.
"Ei, Old Boys … hmm! Today is a bad day for me. It's all about the ancestral clan-headship that has resulted in a serious war. You know what? I'm torn between the two factions. My great-grand-father is from one side whilst my grand mother also comes from the other clan. And where do I go?" he intoned, as he tears freely dropped on his cheeks.
"Oh, Alhaji obarima nsu, wate! Behave like a man!! We can understand the dilemma in which you're today. Leave every in the hands of Allah. He'll solve every problem for you", Agya Kow tried to console him.
Opanyin Boakye quickly added: "You know something, Alhaji? We're aware of this long litigation between these two factions … dating back to the Akwasi Oburoni days. The various Kowa Amanhene have tried in vain to resole this matter but it still lingers on. I don't understand why the two clans can't resolve this thorny issue themselves. Maybe, time will tell".
Togbe, sipping his liquor quietly, added: "My brothers, at times I feel like crying when people resort to shedding blood to settle matters. Look at what's happening over there. Now, large numbers of people are fleeing the trouble area like rats being chased out of their holes. There is helter-skelter everywhere; why?
"You know, if we go into these who issue, we can identify that it's a small section of the feuding factions who're directing affairs, whilst some greedy 'book-long' people are also pulling the strings from elsewhere. Why should innocent people suffer because certain greedy people want to be clan-headsmen?" he added.
Opanying Boakye recalled his own experience in his Brahabebome village. "Look at what happened in my area, where I'm a royal. Somebody has taken over the clan-headship by force. But after several consultations we've decided to let sleeping dogs lie, just for the sake of peace. Why can't our brothers and sisters in that area jaw-jaw instead of war-war? Lastly, what hurts me is the amount of money being spent to keep the peace at the trouble spot. Can't anybody knock some sense into the heads of the warring factions?"
Agya Kow also recalled a similar problem that happened to his friend. "For all that we know, some people are pouring oil into the burning fire because of some personal squabbles. Frankly, these litigations and fights retard progress. And at the end of it all, their own kids and relations are those who'll bear the brunt of their stupid behaviour. I wonder why certain people go to war that will bring hardships to their own kinsmen. Indeed, we need peace in Kowa!"
Togbe, who shared the same views with his friends, added: "Old Boys, this is not the time for us to muddy the already troubled waters. However, I know some people have long started blaming the Kowa Omanhene and his Elders for not taking prompt action to stop this unnecessary and time wasting war, disrupting development and progress in the area.
"They are insinuating that he should have personally gone to the trouble spot to find amicable settlement. Have they forgotten that he held separate meetings with each of the warring factions? Didn't the two sides assured that they would cease fire? And what's happening now? Kowaians are fed up with the killings and maiming of their own kinsmen. Let's pray for peace!"
Alhaji now looked very relieved. And with a smiling face summed all up, saying: "My dear brothers, this really is a problem for every Kowaian. And as the adage goes, Se egya to woyonko abodwese mu a, fa wonsodee nu nsuo mu. Thanks for your kind words. I know in the name of Allah, the Beneficent and the Merciful, He will solve this huge problem in my area. May Allah bless all of us … Amen".
"It's been a wonderful day. Yaw … Kow, let's meet at the morning service tomorrow. Good night everybody", said Togbe and his wife, as they saw them off at the gate.