DAGBON TRADITIONAL COUNCIL P.O. Box 82 Yendi February 24th 2006
His Excellency President J.A. Kufuor The President Of The Republic of Ghana Castle, Osu
The Hon. Northern Regional Minister Regional Co-ordinating Council P. O. Box 100 Tamale
Your Excellency, UNDERMINING OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF DAGBON TRADITIONAL COUNCIL As the custodian and arbitrator of Dagbon custom it is with a heavy heart that I have to bring to your attention the purported installation of a regent at Gusheigu, on Friday, 17th February 2006, under State military guard and sanctioned by your Government Agents against my advice. That uncustomary act was indeed derogatory and an affront to the customs and traditions of Dagbon. It was also a clear sign of your governments' disrespect to the Dagbon Traditional Authority.
I do crave the indulgences of your Excellency to state that Customarily and Traditionally the 'Kuga-Nam'' is always neutral and on the side of custom and that custom is truth. As the Kuga-Naa, I am neither an Abudulai nor an Andani Royal Family Member. The ''Kuga-Nam'' has existed centuries before the Abudulai and Andani Royal Families came into existence. I am the customary grandfather of both the Abudulai and Andani Royal Families of Dagbon.
In the history of Dagbon Customs and Tradition there has never existed a Selection Committee for the Installation of a Regent. Therefore, all the Regents installed uncustomary, since the assassination of the Ya-Naa, are customarily null and void. They are: (a) Gbirimani (b) Salinkpong (c) Zanduli and (d) Gusheigu. Dagbon Traditional Council and all loyal citizens of Dagbon, who are the silent majority, shall not recognise those uncustomary installed Regents. The correct customary procedure will have to be observed when there is the Regent or King of Dagbon in office.
History invariably does repeat itself, for in 1948 a purported Selection Committee was illegally instituted by certain ambitious, influential fourth generation literate Dagombas to subvert the Dagbon Constitution to the eventual advantage of themselves and their favourites. By their actions, as in 2006, they compromised Dagbon Custom and Constitution in the name of reform and expediency.
That purported (1948) Selection Committee was uncustomary and was judged by the Supreme Court of Ghana (1986) to be illegal. The Committee that is reported to have installed the Regent of Gusheigu also lacks the capacity.
With the uncustomary installation of a Regent of Gusheigu loyal citizens of Dagbon and their sympathizers are regrettably nearing the end of their thither and have notified me that they are considering appealing to the International Community of their plight in Dagbon, Ghana, and that they are willing to render their lives at the mercy of the Ghana Military Forces who are only shielding the anarchist of Dagbon. They believe in the adage that prevention is better than to cure. The United Nations, they believe, should prevent calamity rather than come to their aid after a calamity.
It is perceived in Dagbon that the Abudulai Royal Family, with your government's support, is bent on trying to introduce certain procedures that have the tendency to adulterate Dagbon Custom and Tradition to their favour.
Your excellency I wonder:-
Whether there would have been peace in Asanteman if attempts were made to bypass the Asantehenemaa in the nomination of an Asantehene and also those Stakeholders in the burial of the Asantehene as laid down by Asante Custom and Tradition just to satisfy certain groups of Asantes because of intrusions of political considerations.
Why Dagbon, as an ethnic group in Ghana should be treated less favourably with contempt I am unable to understand.
Why Party-Political Institutions are trying to usurp the powers of the Chieftaincy Institution in Dagbon by uncustomary interferences in the Chieftaincy affairs to satisfy the personal ego of some factions.
Whether when the Cardinal, Peter Appiah Turkson cautioned political leadership in the country against interfering in the traditional matters, particularly the Dagbon Chieftaincy problems, his advice is also being marginalized as Dagbon itself.
Why do all breaches of Dagbon customary practices today have party political underpinnings. Violation Of Dagbon Custom As A Threat to Security: In a civilised society there are laws that regulate the behaviour of the citizenry so as to attain and maintain peace in that society.
Customs, like laws of a Nation, are local laws, which exist to achieve the same objectives as the national laws.
When custom is violated anarchy might ensue and degenerate into violence or mayhem.
I appealed to both DISEC and the Northern Region's REGSEC to re-enforce security generally and to ensure that there would be no drumming and dancing in Dagbon, during the celebration of the “EIDUL-FITR”, because it shall be uncustomary since the mortal remains of the Late King of Dagbon is not yet entombed.
Furthermore, that both Dagbon drums and drummers speak volumes in their drumming and the recitation of Dagbon history and praises. Such a situation, under the current volatile Dagbon, could agitate some people or provoke others to react violently.
REGSEC concurred with my appeal and therefore caused Local Radio announcements to be made, banning traditional drumming and dancing during the celebration of this year's “EDUL FITR” festival.
Regrettably, however, on Friday 4th November 2005 some faction of Yendi citizenry belonging to the Abudu Royal Family side ignored the ban on drumming and dancing in Dagbon. The Security Services neither stopped them nor made any arrest of the anarchic citizenry.
I am however, reliably informed that the advice the Yendi anarchist received from their associates in Accra was, that they should ignore REGSEC's ban on drumming and dancing during the “EDUL FTR” celebration because that practice of traditional drumming existed long before the creation of REGSEC and DISEC. Further, that their safety from arrest is guaranteed.
If, some unknown person or persons in Accra can override my advice and appeal to REGSEC plus their orders, then, security does not exist in the Northern Region and that anarchy does prevail.
Several frightful occurrences in Dagbon, since the murder of the Ya-Naa, have depressed me to conclude that anarchy, with impunity, is fast becoming a norm in Dagbon. With such an existing situation remaining unchecked, then, any attempt at reconciling the people of Dagbon shall forever elude us all.
The general ban on traditional drumming whilst the mortal remains of the late King of Dagbon is not yet entombed is till being flouted by factions of the Abudulai Royal Family with impunity.
In all of those infringements, the perpetrators of the insecurity in Dagbon have been given maximum State Security to carry out their illegal acts.
Dagbon Kingship (NAM):
Dagbon Kingship (Nam) is the embodiment of the tried and tested customs in accordance with the Gbewaa Tradition and all who seek the Kingship (Nam), therefore, should embrace the tenets of those customs but not try to obliterate them to suit their selfish caprice. It is my fervent belief that discipline in Dagbon Chieftaincy set up must be maintained for its survival. Any insubordination to the Kingship (Nam) is uncustomary and tantamount to its prostitution. People who therefore, seek equity in the Kingship must come to it with clean hands.
After the gruesome assassination of Ya-Naa Yakubu II and others, your government set up the Wuaku Commission to look into the events that led to the gruesome assassination of the Ya-Naa, the King of Dagbon and others. That Committee came out with cosmetic recommendations, which never addressed the criminal aspect of the event. The perpetrators of those crimes are still at large after four years.
At a later date your Excellency set up a Committee of Eminent Kings headed by the Asantehene (The Otumfuo Committee) to handle the customary and traditional aspects of the issues arising from the tragic events of 27th March 2002. Thus: the entombment of the murdered Ya-Naa, to be followed by the burial funeral rites with the installation of his Regent. Further, the performance, at a later date, of the final funeral rites of the late Ya-Naa Yakubu II and the subsequent investiture of a new Ya-Naa for Dagbon. All of these logically fall under the customary and traditional aspects for the restoration of normalcy in Dagbon.
The Otumfuo Committee decided to build a temporary Palace, on my recommendation, because the Old Palace was judged desecrated. During the building of the proposed temporal Palace for the Ya-Naa and during the state of emergency, some members of the Abudulai Royal Family invaded the building site and destroyed the foundation. That criminal act was given only a window dressing, as there was no punishment to the culprits to deter them from future criminal act.
At a later date, and during the same state of emergency, the Abudulai Royal Family invaded, rehabilitated and occupied the Old Palace in the full glare of security agencies in Yendi. I was surprised to learn after a few days that the Head of the District Security Committee (DISEC) was quoted as saying that he was then negotiating with the squatters. I wonder whether in a state of emergency, there is room for negotiations when the peace is breached. After many complaints from a cross section of Ghanaians, the squatters were flushed out without any arrest being made for prosecution.
Uncustomary Installation Of A Regent At Gusheigu, Gbirimani and Zanduli:
The family of the late Gushei-Naa, B.A. Yakubu, twice approached me for my approval and permission to install a Regent at Gusheigu. I briefed them twice on the Dagbon customary procedures for the installation of a Regent. Thus, chiefs and regents derive their title and authority from the Ya-Naa as King of Dagbon or in his absence, by death, from Yeni Gban-Lana (Regent). Therefore requests to install a Regent, after the death of a substantive chief is customarily put to the Ya-Naa or Yeni Gban-Lana through the intermediary Elders of the Ya-Naa. When approval is given, it is the Elders of the Ya-Naa that would attend at the appointed place of installation to execute the Ya-Naa's sanction for the installation of the Regent.
I was later reliably informed that, at a meeting held at Aboabo in Tamale, Banvim-Lana, Abudulai Mahamadu revealed a contrary proposed Government Agenda on Dagbon Chieftaincy with regard to the Installation of Regents. At an earlier meeting at Nanton, a government dignitary is credibly quoted as revealing the government's Agenda on Dagbon Chieftaincy with regard to the installation of Regents in Dagbon before Banvim-Lana's statements at Tamale.
Your Excellency, credible information that I have had from Gusheigu, before and after the illegal Ceremony is that the number of police and armed soldiers was more than Gusheigu could contain. Civilians were seen openly brandishing AK47 and G3 rifles all in the full glare of the Security and Government Agents who were present to witness an illegal installation of a Regent. There were no arrests. The new trend of ''He who dares wins'' should not be allowed to become the norm in Dagbon since it is very likely to spread to other ethnic groups of Ghana and, before long, could throw our nation Ghana into chaos. Arm robbers could also be provided with security if requested from the State Security Forces.
There was no arrest at Gusheigu when civilians brandished AK47 and G3 rifles, however, some person in possession of a few cartridges without a gun in his room in Tamale was arrested and tortured by some military personnel in Tamale. Two wrongs do not make a right but how can one citizen be treated less favourably than the next citizen in our current democratic rule of law.
Your Excellency, some of the anarchic civilians returning from Gusheigu on route to Tamale, arrived in Yendi, with traditional drumming and firing of musketry and rifles with the intent to agitate and provoke violent reactions from the majority of loyal citizens in Yendi in order to sabotage all the efforts made, so far, to bring a fragile peace to Dagbon. They showed no remorse for the gruesome act of 27th March 2002 and also no reverence for the mortal remains of the assassinated King still at the Yendi mortuary. A confrontation did not happen because I have always counselled the loyal citizenry of Dagbon to resist, at all times, any agitations and provocations of the Dagbon anarchist because I sincerely believe that violence never solves problems, it only creates new and complicated ones.
Your Excellency, I am credibly informed that the same convoy of Dagbon anarchists, on arrival at Tamale, exhibited similar provocative acts with the same intent as was exhibited at Yendi. Some of them have since confessed that their associate ''from above'' in Accra directed their uncouth behaviour to create an opportunity for your Government to intervene in the Dagbon Kingship matters.
Your Excellency, I cannot, in all honesty, ever sacrifice truth and compromise the inherited Dagbon custom according to the Gbewaa Tradition. It is my fervent belief that ''a son of the Royal Skin's does not spoil the Royal Skins''. I must emphasize, here, that what the anarchist seek is the same thing that they are destroying. That today, they may threaten rigour with impunity but posterity shall find them woefully wanting. I will, therefore, not obliterate the Gbewaa customs to suit an anarchic selfish caprice.
Your Excellency, the purported installations of the Regents of Gbirimani, Zanduli and Gusheigu all took place even though the Northern Regional Security Council's attention was drawn to their lack of capacity to do so and that they should not be sanctioned. The Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) ignored my advice and that of Yogbun-Wura, Doshie Bawa Abudu (I), King of Gonja and a member of the Otumfuo Committee that is mandated to handle the customary and traditional issues arising from the tragic events of 27th March 2002.
REGSEC has failed to even give me the courtesies due, an Acting President of Dagbon Traditional Council, to inform me why the illegal installations took place and who sanctioned these illegalities.
As the Acting President of the Dagbon Traditional Council, the arbitrator and Chief Justice of Dagbon Customs and a concerned citizen of Ghana, I do fervently pray your Excellency, President Kufuor to ensure that:
The Security of Dagbon is put above any party political considerations.
Government Agents do accept the wise counsel of their Elders and stop aiding the Dagbon anarchist to create a parallel customary authority to the King of Dagbon. It does create divisions within Dagbon and makes it ungovernable.
Dagbon as an ethnic State in Ghana does retain her inherited customs according to the Gbewaa Traditions.
The assassinated Ya-Naa Yakubu II is granted a befitting Dagbon State Funeral in the Gbewaa Tradition.
Your Excellency, I pray that this letter would be given the urgency it deserves and my concerns addressed. May peace always be with you.
(KUGA-NAA ABUDULAI BRAIMAH) ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE DAGBON TRADITIONAL COUNCIL
Chairman of The Otumfuo Committee President, Northern Regional House of Chiefs Regional Minister, Northern Regional Coordinating Council Chairman, REGSEC President, National House of Chiefs Chairman, Council of State General Secretary, Christian Council of Ghana General Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference Chief Imam, Office of the National Imam The President, Ghana Bar Association, (GBA) Ghana News Agency, (GNA) Representative, United Nations Dev. Programme (UNDP) Representative, West African Network for Peace Building High Commissions, (Common Wealth) Diplomatic Missions (ECOWAS) Dean of The Diplomatic Corp. in Ghana The Abudulai Royal Family The Andani Royal Family