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11.06.2019 Feature Article

Who Is The Cause Of These Chieftaincy Disputes In The Gonja Kingdom And For What Benefit?

...My Take
Who Is The Cause Of These Chieftaincy Disputes In The Gonja Kingdom And For What Benefit?

Many in Gonjaland have placed the cause of the recent chieftaincy disputes in the Gonja Kingdom at the doorstep of the Overlord of the Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Yagbonwura Tuntunba Boresa I. His Royal Majesty has been accused of meddling in the affairs of Divisional affairs of the Gonja Kingdom, which are considered the preserve of Divisional Chiefs. Thus, per Gonjas’ tradition regarding enskinment of sub-chiefs within Divisional Areas of the Kingdom, it is Divisional Chiefs, such as Kpembiwura, Bolewura, Wasipewura, Kusawguwura, Kongwura, Tulwewura, Kulawwura, Mankpanwura, Deberwura, Buipewura, Damongowura, Kpnshaguwura, etc., who enskin sub-chiefs within their jurisdictions.

This arrangement was authenticated by the recent Northern Regional House of Chiefs’ determination or judgment on whether it is the Yagbonwura or the aforementioned Divisional Chiefs who had jurisdiction over enskinment of sub-chiefs within Divisional Areas of the Gonja Kingdom. Since the House held that Chief Kant was the rightful Mandariwura as he was enskined by Bolewura Mahama Pontonpron who was the Chief of the Bole Divisional Area.

It is against this background that His Royal Majesty is accused of meddling in the affairs of Divisional Areas as he is seen to be enskining sub-chiefs in Divisional Areas, including Mandariwura, Sonyowura, Kibilmawura, Kafabawura, Tingawura, Jantonwura, Damongowura, etc., alongside other sub-chiefs enskined by Divisional Chiefs.

The intriguing question is why His Royal Majesty meddles in the affairs of Divisional Areas in this regard. I pose this question against the backdrop that, when a skin is vacant within a Divisional Area, the Divisional Chief tasks the family or the gate whose turn it is to take up the title to nominate someone from the family or gate to be given the title. In a situation where the family is unable to take the decision, the task is given back to the Divisional Chief to do so.

This has been the practice in Gonja regarding enskinment of Chiefs within Divisional Areas in the Kingdom. There have, however, been situations where the family nominates someone for enskinment by a Divisional Chief, then a member or some members of the family disagree and petition His Royal Majesty the Yagbonwura for redress. This has been the rationale for His Royal Majesty enskining sub-chiefs within Divisional Areas. That was the case in Mandari, Tinga, Sonyo, Kibilma, Kafaba, Damongo, etc.

A few questions arise here: Why are Divisional Areas unable to handle their internal affairs for which reason His Royal Majesty’s intervention is sought? As the Overlord of the Kingdom, to what extent can Yagbonwura intervene in Divisional matters like chieftaincy disputes? Are these current chieftaincy disputes the first of their kind in the history of the Gonja Kingdom? If not, how were they handled in the past?

Much as these questions need answers, in the meantime, the Gonja Kingdom is in the middle of a volcanic spill, a rabble, a mesh, a storm and needs to be rescued! This is not time for blame game. Whoever is responsible for the volcanic spill, the rabble, the mesh, the storm, can only be held accountable when the Kingdom survives! The Kingdom cannot afford to lose its pride as a Kingdom that has the best succession arrangement in Ghana. Many touted the Kingdom for this in the recent past so we cannot afford to lose that pride. In the 1990s, for instance, former President Rawlings was noted for touting the Kingdom for this on several occasions. It is for the same reason that His Royal Majesty was chosen as one of the three eminent chiefs to mediate the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute. Glory be to God, this has been successfully done for which reason he has been conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that our Kingdom is in competition with other Kingdoms in the country especial for developmental reasons. Negative tendencies will not inure to the benefit of the Kingdom in anyway. Let us remember that we have so much untapped natural resources that require investment from outside the Kingdom. Negative tendencies like chieftaincy disputes only wards off investors.

On this note, I wish to call on all the illustrious sons and daughters of the Kingdom to rise up and save it from the brink. I begin by calling on the illustrious sons and daughters of His Royal Majesty the Yagbonwura to rise up to the occasion and rescue the Kingdom! His Royal Majesty has many capable sons and daughters who need to support him out of these difficult times. Their list is endless: Alhaji Bakari Sadiq Nyari, a land administration expert, Dr. A.B.T. Zakariah, a Higher Education administration expert, Doctor Adam Zakariah, an Urologist formally of the Ghana Police Hospital in Accra, Alhaji Yakubu Zakariah, an experienced politician, Dr. Malik Zakariah Doliwura, a financial expert, etc. Please, let us rise up to the occasion to save the Gonja Kingdom.

I also wish to call on Jiraa Buipewura Jinapor II, the Vice-President of the Kingdom, to rise up and save the Kingdom. His illustrious sons, my beloved brothers, Dr. Ahmed, Lawyer Abu and Hon. John, please, Jiraa needs our support in this difficult moment!

Where are our revered counselors of His Royal Majesty; Mankpanwura, Kulawwura, Sonyowura, Chorwura, Busunuwura, Deberwura, Kpanshaguwura and Damongowura? They need to rise up and play their respective roles to save the Kingdom. What about the five sons of His Royal Majesty; Kpembiwura, Bolewura, Wasipewura, Tulwewura and Kusawguwura? They need to rise up and save the Kingdom!

I equally wish to call on our revered elder brother, Garba, Lepowura, an experienced civil and public services administrator, to rise up and save the Kingdom. Additionally, I call on another elder brother of ours, Dr. Abu Sakara, a proud son of Gonja, to rise up and save the Kingdom. Dr., we know that, in the Gonja Kingdom, when the going gets tough, it is Kakulase-ebi that goes into seclusion to find the needed solution to turn around any difficult situation. Dr., this is one of such moments! The Gonja Kingdom needs your wisdom more than ever before!

I equally call on H.E. former President John Dramani Mahama, another proud son of the Gonja Kingdom, to rise up and proffer the needed solution to the current conundrum in which the Kingdom is engulfed. As a former President, he would have been faced with critical situations such as this one. His experience in resolving such situations is needed at this critical moment to save the Kingdom.

Our Queen Mothers in the Gonja Kingdom, the Kingdom needs your motherly care to survive these critical times. Please, you need to bring your experience as mothers to bear to find the needed solution to our current difficult situation. Do not forget that, when critical decisions are to be made in our traditional setting, the old lady is the final person to be consulted for her wise counsel. Please, we need that counsel now!

Finally, I wish to call on everyone in the Kingdom especially the youth to play their part in order to save the situation. Let us all remember that when the head bleeds, it affects the neck and the rest of the body. So nobody should stay aloof!

Indeed, I am not oblivious of the fact that whoever I have mentioned here and those I have not are playing their respective roles in the resolution of these disputes. However, the fact that the disputes continue to rear their ugly faces and stair us in the face means much more needs to be done!

Please, I have done this with no malice! In case anyone is negatively affected by this, they should pardon me, for I mean no harm! I am just a concerned and worried humble servant of the Kingdom hallowing the concerns and worries of many of my compatriots in the Kingdom! Please, let us join hands to find solution to save our Kingdom!

Dr. Adams Sulemana Achanso

A Humble Servant of the Gonja Kingdom

Adams Sulemana Achanso
Adams Sulemana Achanso, © 2019

This author has authored 7 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: SAAchanso

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