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General News Mon, 30 Sep 2002

President Kufuor Names Dagbon Committees

President John Agyekum Kufuor has appointed 11-member committees to run the affairs of six Dagbon districts in northern Ghana, where a state of emergency has been in force since the murder of the Dagbon king, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, in March.

On 27 March, assailants overran the Dagbon palace in Yendi, killing Yakubu Andani II and other members of his Andani clan, after tension with the Abudu clan in the Dagbon traditional state spilt over.

Elections for new district assemblies took place throughout most of Ghana in August but were postponed indefinitely in Tamale municipality assembly, Yendi, Tolon/Kumbungu, Savelugu/Nanton, Zabzugu/Tatale and Gushegu/Karaga districts due to the state of emergency prevailing there.

However, assemblies in the six districts had been dissolved, creating a vaccuum in district and local government administration, according to officials.

It was to fill that vaccuum that Kufuor issued an executive order appointing the committees, which have the same powers as elected district assemblies and are intended to help district mayors administer the affairs of the Dagbon area until elections can be held.

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Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, told reporters in Ghana's third largest town of Tamale on Sunday that major decisions taken in the interim - the awarding of contracts, for instance - would be declared null and void because mayors had acted "ultra vires" (against the law).

Baah-Wiredu hoped that the state of emergency would end before long, allowing proper elections to be held. Once the emergency is lifted, he said, the election process in the Dagbon area would start all over again, and include fresh nominations.

In September, a United Nations team visited the region to help find solutions to the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis and other conflicts. Led by Dr Elsadiq Abunafeesa, the team explored appropriate means by which to arrest the proliferation of small and large weapons in parts of Ghana, particularly in the Dagbon area.

The violence attending the murder of King Andani and 30 other people in Yendi, 60 km from Tamale, and the destruction of property, including the royal palace, displaced at least 3,498 people in northern Ghana.

Yendi has long been affected by rivalry between the Abudu and the Andani. Tension intensified this year, with the late Yakubu Andani II facing increasing insubordination from the Abudu before his murder.

Source: UNIRIN
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