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14.03.2006 General News

Suspend the burial of Dagbon King - Apintohene


Accra, March 15, GNA - The Apintohene of Wassa West Traditional Area, Nana Kwabena Angu II, on Tuesday appealed to the government and the people of Dagbon Traditional Area to suspend all activities towards the burial and funeral rites of the overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Naa Yakubu Andani II, in view of the Tamale Central Constituency bye-election. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Nana Angu noted that the advertised burial and funeral rites would coincide with the politically tense campaign for the by-election in the volatile Dagbon traditional area.

A programme outline for the burial and funeral for the slain Dagbon King indicated that the activities would begin on March 29 to April 21 and beyond, while the bye-election, necessitated by the defection of NDC Member of Parliament, Prof Wayo Seini, is slated for April four. Nana Angu observed that the two events are likely to be characterised by tension and therefore holding both events almost within the same period would be dangerous.

"Normal funeral rites of a royal are mostly characterised with tension, let alone the burial of a traditional ruler and an overlord, which entails serious rituals involving different warriors whose actions could not be predicted, especially, considering the circumstances under which the king passed away and his subjects' persistent calls for justice," he added.

Nana Angu explained that recent bye-elections held even in peaceful environments such as Asawase and Odododiodoo did not pass without reported violence, counter-accusations, intimidation and other practices that threatened security and that to allow such a campaign to continue concurrently with Ya-Naa's funeral in the volatile Dagbon environment would amount to courting for trouble.

Besides, "the combined effects of anguish, poverty, unequal access to development opportunities, environmental degradation and the depletion of water resources in the north could create a deep sense of insecurity and political instability," he held.

Nana Angu called on the government and the country's security chiefs to assess the situation in order to map out strategies to prevent any possible conflict and threat to peace.

"This condition makes it imperative for a common ground and assessment of the situation at Yendi and its environs for appropriate diplomatic or military responses towards security problems in the north, especially before, during and after the funeral rites of the Late Ya-Naa."

He expressed surprise about what he termed apparent silence of the national security on the implications of the two volatile events taking place at the same time. "For a region that has the envious reputation of being the epicentre of violent conflicts, such omission is a stab in the back," he said.

Nana Angu said the national security's approach in the Yendi crisis, which currently revolved more around the prowess of the military, police and other security apparatus, should give way to human face approaches that depend on the development of the community with the involvement of civil society and non-governmental organisations engaged in providing humanitarian aid in the area.

"Not until the mechanisms that recognise the centrality of human security in contemporary development are fashioned, we might as well forget about helping the poor", he added.

Nana Angu also appealed to the various political parties to exercise "the greatest circumspection" before, during and after the declaration of election results "as any unguarded statements could ignite violence."

He urged the media to abide by the tenets of the Ghana Journalists' Association Code of Ethics, especially on the covering of political party campaigns and elections.

He also tasked civil society groups in the area to mobilise the masses and sensitise them on political and tribal tolerance, acceptance of divergence views, especially from opponents, and exhibition of maturity and restraints to allow for befitting rites to honour the departed overlord. 15 March 06