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06.04.2005 General News

I'll not smoke peace pipe with Kufuor - Chief of Salaga

By Ghanaian Chronicle.

... Accuses Minister Of Disrespect The Chief of Salaga, Kpembe-wura Kibasibi I, aka Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, has vowed that he is not prepared, either today or tomorrow, to smoke the peace pipe with the incumbent President, Mr. J.A. Kufuor, and the Northern Regional Minister, Boniface Abubakar Saddique.

The Kpembe-wura, who broke protocol at the recent 25th Annual Ceremony of the Gonjaland Youth Association, held in Salaga in the Upper East Region, stressed also that he had not regretted his action to boycott the occasion, after delivering a scurrilous speech, which apparently attacked the President's representative, the regional minister.

Speaking in a telephone interview with The Chronicle last week, the Kpembe-wura said he had no unqualified apology to render to the Regional Minister and his entourage, which consisted of MPs and District Chief Executives, as well as the Yabon Wura, whom he claimed to represent at the function.

“Even if the President, John Agyekum Kufuor himself, was at the function, I would have done the same, how much less a person I hate most?” The chief asked.

When asked why he hates the Regional Minister, Kpembe-wura Harruna explained, “I hate him because he does not respect me as the occupier of the Kpembe skin. As our custom or tradition demands everyone to remove his shoes and cap when entering the chief's palace or greeting a chief, Saddique Boniface has never respected me to that effect.”

He again accused the Regional Minister, who is as well the MP for Salaga, of inciting his subjects to stand against his authority.

Explaining further why he left the durbar ground, the Kpembe-wura said he could not contain the heat of the sun, in his costume, having sat there from 9:00am to 1:30pm, when, he learnt, the minister had arrived.

He added that he had sent one of his linguists to inform the chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Nurudeen Jawula, before leaving.

However, the Master of Ceremonies disputed his assertion that he was at the durbar grounds up to 1:30 pm when the Regional Minister arrived for the occasion, Mr. Seidu Nasheru(Ora)a Gonja himself, and presenter at 'Radio Savannah' in Tamale.

It was learnt that though the minister was late, he explained to the gathering why.

The minister said he had to visit Yapei in the Central Gonja that morning to ascertain the level of damage caused by a rainstorm, the previous night.

He explained also that he had addressed a gathering of sportsmen and women and other keep-fit clubs from Burkina Faso, Takoradi and Tamale that same morning.

Our investigations showed that the Kpembe-wura did not send anybody to inform the chairman of the occasion of his departure.

The paper was told that when Alhaji Jawula learnt that the chief and his entourage were leaving, he solicited the help of Dr. Yakubu Saaka, a PNC stalwart, to intervene for the chief to rescind his decision to depart.

According to Chronicle sources, it took the youth and elders of Gonjaland a hell of time to persuade the chief to attend the durbar.

“He eventually demanded a cow worth ¢1.2million to be slaughtered for rituals or pacify his gods before the minister, since he had earlier vowed not to attend the occasion where the minister was the guest of honour,” a source told the paper.

According to sources, the ongoing battle between the Kpembewura and the Minister as well as the President has political causes.

The paper learnt that the Kpembewura openly campaigned for the NDC in the 2000 elections when Boniface was an independent parliamentary candidate. As well in the 2004 elections, he campaigned against Boniface who was then the NPP candidate.

“The President has been his number one enemy, because he suspected him (Kufuor) of being the root cause of his defeat to Prof. Nabila at the recent Council Of State elections,” the Chronicle was told.

The paper gathered that the Kpembewura once humiliated and embarrassed Boniface Saddique before the President, during the 2004 electioneering campaign by refusing to shake hands with him.

He and his supporters, it was learnt, had petitioned against Saddique's appointment by President Kufuor as the Northern Regional Minister.

All efforts by this reporter to contact Saddique Boniface proved futile.

A source close to his office however condemned the behaviour of the chief at the durbar grounds and advised him to respect the authorities of the country.

It would be recalled that in the early part of 2000, the Kpembewura had, during a visit to Salaga by the then First Lady, assured her that he would move from house-to-house to campaign for the NDC. He promised in that show of support, subsequently shown on television that he would ensure the NDC did not turn out with a marginal victoriy but 100% votes.

The Regional Minister, who was then a member of the NDC, contested as an independent following disagreements with the party over the choice of their candidate, and won the seat!

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