Recent Public Relations Gimmicks On The Yendi Crisis
We the Andani Yili Youth have noted with great concern a flurry of activities involving certain persons who present themselves as members of a group calling itself Dagbon Youth for Peace (DAYOP). Incidentally, the activities of DAYOP seem to have attracted the attention of many press houses, which have since March 27, 2002, have worked hard to avoid being gullible. The enthusiasm with which DAYOP is entertained is perhaps attributable to the message of peace it seems to be putting across. There is no doubt that peace is cherished by all who value life and are sane. Any person who has enjoyed peace before, and then lost it temporarily, may, if he or she is sane, lend support and publicity to any organization or individual whose message has peace as its crux. It is in this respect that we certainly understand the alacrity with which the press has given the recent activities of DAYOP, an organization that sprang into existence only in the aftermath of the presentation of the report of the Wuaku Commission to his Excellency President J. A. Kuffuor. It should not be difficult for any open-minded person to judge that we the Andani Yili Youth, no matter where we reside, have never incited violence not beaten the war drum. Our words and actions since the March 27 massacre of our family members at the Gbewaa Palace have always portrayed peace.!
Let the good people of this country, especially those in government and the media who have a pivotal role to play in bringing true and lasting peace to Dagbon especially, and to Ghana in general, view this hitherto unheard of group with some circumspection. Nobody should allow himself or herself to be carried away by the yearning we all have for peace in this dear country of ours without giving critical examination to the issues on the ground. The Andani Family has always advocated peace throughout the years, but what we want to make clear is that peace cannot thrive in circumstances of injustice. This is a principle we shall never compromise on. We and our family members in Accra with whom we have daily contact, have made this position clear in all statements we have made to the press and government since March 27, 2002.
When at some point we had to suspend our participation in the work of the Wuaku Commission, we provided cogent and irrefutable reasons to support our action. The reasons were closely tied to our desire to see peace borne out of justice, and we still stand by this. Surprisingly this has been described in some quarters as an entrenched position. We wonder what our position should be, and whether peace should be borne out of injustice.
It is against this background that we can only describe as unfortunate the view expressed by the Honourable Deputy Regional Minister for the Northern Region Mr. Issa Ketekewu when he briefed journalists who traveled from Accra to parts of Dagbon on a fact-finding tour. He is reported in the Friday, November 22, 2002 issue of the Accra Daily Mail to have been critical of the role of what he referred to as the “elite” of Dagbon based in Accra whom he “accused of stirring up discontent, creating tension and fanning the flames of conflict in Dagbon through their press conferences and statements in Accra”. Still in reference to what he called the “elite”, the Deputy Regional Minister was also quoted in the same paper as saying that “the entrenched positions they have taken are too dangerous for peace,” and that “left to the local people, the conflict would have been resolved long ago.”
There is no doubt at all in our minds that such hostile rhetoric from Mr. Issa Ketekewu directed at a section of the leadership of the Andani Family is meant to please his political bosses in Accra and certainly not a demonstration of a genuine concern for peace in Dagbon. We challenge him to make public the facts of his assertion. Are we being made to believe that members of the Andani Family resident in Dagbon are prepared to give up their call on the government to ensure that the perpetrators of the massacre at the Gbewaa Palace be apprehended and punished? Can the Honourable Deputy Minister pinpoint any genuine action, which in his estimation has been instituted to bring us close to resolving this gigantic problem?
In all sincerity, all who heard the Tampiong Lana and the Kuga Naa directly and not through media reports on their comments about the events in Yendi, cannot lend credence to the view expressed by the Deputy Regional Minister. The respected chiefs put forward conditions that need to be met before any talk of peace in Dagbon now can be contemplated. The Deputy Minister's outbursts are therefore a clear case of an anxious politician drawing the cart before the horse, and this is certainly counterproductive.
There is absolutely no need for anyone, be he/she a politician or any other person, to pretend that this gigantic problem can be solved without recourse to facts and truth. We have never hidden our intention to ensure by all constitutional means open to us that justice is seen to be manifestly done in this case. We will not allow veiled threats directed at our members at home in Dagbon and elsewhere, nor the might of anybody's political influence to silence us. We wish to remind the Deputy Regional Minister of the various unsuccessful attempts that have been made so far to sweep this crime under the carpet. The earlier our young and older politicians tell the truth in the name of justice and fair play, the better for all of us.
The activities of DAYOP confirm suspicions that similar organizations have been prepared to confuse the Ghanaian public as to who the real culprits in the massacre on March 27, 2002 are. It is in this light that we are calling on the good people of the media who have never been gullible, not to allow greedy politicians to pull them into the dangerous alleys in which they would be tempted to see these latter-day saints as those who alone want peace. At best DAYOP is a group of misdirected youth who are hirelings and only serve the interest of people who wish to twist the facts in favour of falsehood. The dishonesty associated with the activities of DAYOP is exposed by its sponsors. The very people who planned and ensured the execution of the terrible massacre are the same people in whose directing hands DAYOP operates.
It is high time that DAYOP and its backers are reminded once again that it is only when justice is seen to be manifestly done that there will be genuine peace in Dagbon, and that despite their machinations, the truth would eventually triumph over falsehood.
The Andani Family has always cherished and wishes to see peace in Dagbon and in Ghana as a whole. However, it must be understood that the position we have taken, even if it is described as entrenched, will always be so. And we restate it emphatically: THERE CAN NEVER BE PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE. Instead of wasting valuable time and resources to facilitate the sinister activities of organizations which consist of imposters, let all meaning Ghanaians especially those in the media and government identify the crux of the Yendi crisis and fashion out real and durable peace. In this way, the interest of the people of Dagbon would be better served at the expense of greedy politicians who are prepared to go to all lengths to satisfy their wicked intentions in Dagbon. We have no doubt that the NPP Government, determined as it is, will demonstrate in practical terms its belief in the rule of law and justice for all Ghanaians.
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