'I returned home to find my people preparing for battle.
Battle over what?
Battle over the cattle,
And of course, the kingdom.
The blood still flows.
And they heckle,
Where is peace? Where is peace Where is peace?'
- A Zulu folklore
We are in bad times. Set aside for the moment, our economic woes which have left many Ghanaians poor and unable to get three square meals a day; armed robbery on a daily basis, carnage on our roads, contract killings, spousal killings, cocaine menaces, naked thievery by government officials, the Woyome rip off, the awesome revelation of corruption in government by Citizen Vigilante, plane crash and acquisition of a private jet by somebody in government in this austere period and other social vices. Focus instead on intertribal and internecine wars which have become part of us in recent times.
Even as we try to bring total peace to the Dagbon area, the continuous threat of peace in Bawku and others have cropped up not only in the northern part of this country but the southern part as well. We used to think it was only our kinsmen located in the northern part of this country who 'loved' to fight each other, until recent times when similar bloodbaths randomly took place in the southern part of this dear nation of ours.
When the Konkonbas and the Bimobas locked horns in the Bunkprugu Yonyoo district, four innocent souls were lost, with several houses burnt to ashes. The situation forced the Inspector General of Police to leave his tight schedule and rush to the place to try to solve the problem but immediately he left the place, another person was shot dead.
Authorities in the district are telling us that the two tribes were fighting over a piece of land but some of us think otherwise. They say a hungry man is an angry man. The harsh economic situation that we have found ourselves in at this time of Better Ghana is forcing people to resort to violence, simply because they have become desperate. Because the devil finds work for the idle hand, anytime trouble rears its ugly head, the youth, who idle away under trees, join the action to spill blood. When you visit Bunkprugu Yonyoo, you realize that the noise being made by government of single digit inflation is nothing but a joke. The people over there live in abject poverty, and a greater number of them are illiterates. They find it difficult to educate their children and life is hard.
That is why majority of the people in that area are buying the free secondary school education being dangled before them by Nana Akufo-Addo.
This government must not be deceived into thinking that there is peace in Yendi. The relative peace that we think exists is like the peace between the cat and the mouse. Even though both the cat and mouse live in the same house 'peacefully', it is when the mouse comes out of its hole that you realize there is no peace at all. The Abudus have been sounding the alarm bells that the Andanis are not obeying the road map, and have accused the government of taking sides.
This is an early warning signal that government should take seriously, but as it stands now, the government of President Mills is playing the ostrich . From all indications, the NDC government in power is trying desperately to win back the Andanis to its side after woefully failing to keep to the promise of finding the murderers of the Ya Naa and punishing them. And so the government is looking the other way while the Andanis abuse the road map for political expediency. This is a recipe for violence and when it happens, the soldiers who are stationed there cannot stop the fire from burning. Remember soldiers were stationed in Yendi when the Ya Na was gruesomely murdered.
Hohoe in the Volta Region used to be a peaceful town until Togbega Gabusu ordered that the body of the Chief Imam of Hohoe, which was buried according to Islamic tenets, be exhumed and deposited by the road side . Before we could blink an eye, Togbega's car was burnt down and his palace torched. Two of the protestors were gunned down by the police and a six-to-six curfew imposed. If what Togbega did had happened in Afghanistan, the whole Hohoe township would have been burnt to ashes and Togbega himself would have had nowhere to hide. The man is damn lucky. Then the police in Ho in the same Volta Region decided to arrest some 'wee' peddlers and smokers and came face to face with heavy resistance. In that encounter too, another soul was lost and several properties destroyed. Death seems to have no holiday in Mills' Ghana.
When the 'moving violation' reached Ekumfi Narkwa, the backyard of President Mills, Ebusuapayin Nana Kojo Aguase's head was neatly severed from his body and buried in a shallow grave. That 'war' was between the Ewes and their Fante landlords. When the Fantes saw the headless body of their Ebusuapayin, they also charged and burnt down the houses of their Ewe tenants. Unable to find a solution to that 'war' which took place in the region she presides over, the loud-mouthed Regional Minister, Ama Benyiwa Doe, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the REGSEC, shamefully attributed the mayhem to Kennedy Agyapong's mantra. The woman does not have wit in her lexicon, hence the way she spoke. And such a person calls herself the Regional Minister of the Central Region, where knowledge abounds.
As we were brooding over the sad end of Ebusuapayin Nana Kojo Aguase, the 'moving violation' flew to the Northern Region, where one person was killed, with several others injured in yet another chieftaincy fracas. Tishegu in the Tamale municipality was the staging point. The situation there seemed very fragile as at the time of writing this piece. Then came another bloody clash between two communities in the Talensi-Nabdam district in the Upper East region over a piece of land, leading to the death of nine people.
People fleeing from the battle field where the people of Tindongo and Namolgo in the Talensi-Nabdam district slugged it out said they saw nine dead bodies as a result of the clash over a piece of farm land. However, official reports say four persons were killed.
We do not know where the bus will stop next since it could happen anywhere in this country.
So now one is forced to pose this question: where is this country heading to? When things like these do happen in an election year, one wonders what will happen when we go to the polls. The day the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) officials arrested some four persons with eight AK 47 assault rifles, I did not blink an eye when I went to bed. This country is sitting on a time bomb and only God can save us from anarchy. The other day when I wrote a piece titled 'The Gun Culture Is With Us', a friend called my cell phone to say I was exaggerating. He even told me not to be a prophet of doom and a pessimist. I still stand by what I wrote.
The truth is that while the government is arming some people outside the security agencies, individuals are also arming themselves. I had cause to write in that article that the people of America did not wake up one morning to see people with pistols in holsters hanging around their waists. It started like what is happening in this country. In law, self-defence is not frowned at.
In my study of the general principles of English Law, what did amuse me most were the Maxims of Equity. One of the maxims which delight me most is the one which says 'equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights'.
And so you see, if you want equity to aid you, you must be vigilant and refuse to slumber on your rights. The Akans say the lion does not need a watchman to watch over its farm because of the fear that other animals have for it. And so if anyone passes by the farm of Mr. Lion, you dare not touch any crop whether the lion is there or not. (Gyata de neho hu na owen na fuo). If you think you have trained Special Forces to subdue your perceived political enemies, somebody too has his or her own version of Special Forces. That is why people are arming themselves. Good Lord, deliver us from evil!!!
By Eric Bawah