The sitting Member of Parliament for the Yendi Constituency and former Minister for the Interior Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu has finally zoned-in on who really might have been behind the unfortunate massacre that engulfed Yendi some two years ago, resulting in the murder of the Overlord of Dagbon and forty others.
Alhaji Malik told the Network Herald on Monday that the difficulty encountered by the security agencies in their attempt to go to the aid of the slain Overlord Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II could be attributed to the unfriendly atmosphere that had been engendered by former President Jerry John Rawlings.
“Don't underrate the mischief value, mischief prowess of Rawlings, never.”
Alhaji Malik vouched that the government took appropriate steps to forestall the situation which failed because of the machinations of Mr. Rawlings and the vehement insistence of the Andani faction (one side of the traditional divide) to get a curfew running at the time waived for them to celebrate the Fire Festival insisting that Mr. Rawlings created the animosity between the Ya-Na and government.
Amidst the agitations he reasoned, a very difficult and hostile atmosphere was created for the security by Rawlings resulting in the security dreading an advance on the Gbewaa Palace since they had by then been forced into a situation where they would have had to defend themselves against all forms of attacks-verbal and physical. In that 'heads you lose tails you lose situation,' Alhaji Malik submitted that the security agencies would have been forced to defend themselves from the attacks, which could have been more fatal.
Alhaji Malik Yakubu also threw some light on the reported meeting between the Ya-Na and Mr. Rawlings when the latter visited Yendi from Bimbila on a by-election campaign trail following the appointment of Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas as the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS during which Rawlings apparently advised the late King to leave the Yendi with his family because of assassination plots against him.
He told the Network Herald at the launch of “Positive change two” manifesto of NPP that he was reliably informed by a certain Alhaji Sibidow, a journalist, who was present at the said meeting at the Palace that contrary to what the former president wanted people to believe that the Ya-Na complained to him about how insecure he felt, nothing like that happened.
The Former Interior Minister said Alhaji Sibidow told him that the Ya-Na never uttered a word at the said meeting when Rawlings asked him to turn down an invitation to visit Accra if he was ever invited and not to trust the security agencies.
He continued that even though the Ya-Na did not contribute to that discussion, he and others at the meeting might have believed Rawlings probably because of the position he once occupied. He thought that might explain why the security personnel particularly the Police who were going to their aid were treated with hostility and contempt.
Al-Hassan, himself belonging to the Abudu gate vacated his position as Interior Minister few days after the Yendi carnage ostensibly to make it easier for independent and unrestricted investigations into the incident.
He said Rawlings succeeded not only in poisoning the mind of the Ya-Na but that of his people and succeeded in creating a difficult atmosphere for the security personnel as exemplified in the heckling of the then District Commander of Police who had to flee.
“The Man was being clever; I think he was being clever in putting these ideas into the head of Ya-Na,” Alhaji Malik sighed.
He continued that “if the military had gone in at the early stage and opened fire and anybody died, the picture would have been different now.”
He also dismissed perceptions and sentiments that the former president was privileged with certain intelligence information that might have influenced his warning to the late Ya-Na.
As to whether the former president should visit and campaign in Yendi, Alhaji Malik said he had no problem at all with reports that Mr. Rawlings would visit Dagbon and Yendi in particular but warned that he should behave like President Kufuor who has declared that he will not mount a political platform to campaign while the Overlord laid unburried.
He also dismissed rumors that he promised the people of Yendi that the Ya-Na would be removed if the NPP wins the 2000 elections.
“No responsible person would say this. They even said that I mounted a platform in Yendi where the Ya-Na is, then I mount a platform to say he would be removed. Then there would be peace for us to vote? This is impossible,” he said, adding that the late Ya-Na when he was alive always voted for him and the NPP.