Opinions Tue, 27 Apr 2010

Opinion: The NDC Is Playing With The Fate Of Dagbon

If there is any political party in Ghana today that has made colossal political

capital out of the Dagbon Chieftaincy dispute over the last eight years, then it

is none other than the ruling National Democratic Congress.

Since the unfortunate events of March 27, 2002, the NDC then in opposition blamed it

heavily on the New Patriotic Party (then in power) and the then President John

Agyekum Kufuor. Ministers of state were falsefully accused variously for their

alleged involvement in the disturbances but all of these allegations were

eventually found to be baseless by the Wuaku Commission that was set up to

investigate the dispute.

The NDC in its 2008 Manifesto stated unequivocally that:‘The NDC will set up a

truly non-partisan, competent independent commission on the murder of the Yaa Naa

Yakubu Andani II and his elders –for long lasting peace in Ghana.’ But what are

we seeing today? In what some have described as one of the numerous knee jerk

reactions to issues by the Atta Mills led NDC, some innocent persons of Dagbon were

arrested on Saturday, April 10, 2010. The children of the late Ya Na in a press

conference in Tamale registered their displeasure about the lukewarm attitude of the

NDC government towards fulfilling a campaign promise they(NDC), whilst in opposition

made to them (the Andani family) in relation to the death of the Ya-Na. Only a week

after the press conference of the so-called children of the late Ya-Na, a swoop was

conducted in Yendi at dawn of Saturday, 10th April, 2010 in which as many as forty

members of the Abudu Royal Family were arrested from

different locations in and around Yendi; these included children; they were taken

to Bimbila, about 44 miles away from Yendi, and after what was described as a brief

interrogation by the security operatives, seven were transported out of Bimbila to

Accra. The rest were released from custody. Meanwhile, somewhere in Tema, a similar

exercise was made to arrest Mahamadu Abdulai(Samasama).

As lay a man as the thousands of novices of the legal profession would like to ask,

“If the alleged killers of the Ya-Na were known, why the need for the swoop in

which as many as thirty-two or so other ‘innocent’ people were dragged out and

abandoned 44miles away from their homes?” Before I develop the thrust of my

argument further, I would like to know where the NDC got their fact that ‘forty

others’ died with the Ya-Na during the conflict? Even though Okudjeto Ablakwa, has

been a bit generously honest these days by always mentioning thirty instead of the

NDCs ‘forty’. Official documents (Wuaku Commission Report) put it at 28 people

but the government in pursuit of an extremely mischievous agenda keeps trumpeting

‘forty others’ and unfortunately, some media houses who are not bothered about

doing research have taken the figure hook, line and sinker. In any case, these

‘pressed on’ actions of the NDC have always left several

hundreds of questions lingering in the minds of most Ghanaians; one of the

disturbing questions is ‘which line is the government towing now? Is it the Wuaku

Commission Report, the NDC Manifesto or what?

From all indications, the modus operandi of the government on the Dagbon issue is to

say the least, very misleading, mischievous and at best only intended to create

wanton confusion and perpetual insecurity in the already fragile Dagbon state so

that they (NDC) will continue to gain by way of political investment. All of the

nine persons currently in custody were named in the Wuaku Commission Report and all

or at least a majority of them were recommended for prosecution for various roles

they allegedly played in the conflict. Does this suggest that the government is

acting on the commission’s report? No, I, like many fair-minded Ghanaians, I am

not very sure: the NDC whilst in opposition bastardised and ridiculed everything

about the commission and therefore will not have any moral justification to act on

its recommendation. It will be a show of incredulous naivety and poor judgment for

the government to even choose to do ‘selective

implementation’ of the Wuaku Commission Report (recommendation). The commission

recommended the prosecution of about thirty-six persons from both the Abudu and the

Andani Royal Families- for their alleged involvement in the dispute. The big

question is ‘why is it that only the Abudus were arrested?’ is it because the

government is only interested in pleasing the Andani family and not bothered about

true justice for the chiefs and people of Dagbon and the nation at large? I do not

want to be tempted to believe that the arrests were made to pave the way for the

president to visit Tamale.

It will also be very far from the truth for one to assume that the NDC government is

acting on the Dagbon issue in consistency with their 2008 campaign promise to set up

a truly non-partisan, competent independent commission. No such commission of

enquiry has been set up by the Atta Mills led government, what then is the basis for

the arrest of those people currently being held ‘hostage’?

The NDC has always undermined the rule of law and has often crushed on citizen’s

rights by simply arresting them just to remand them into custody before turning

around to vociferously ‘hunt’ for or ‘conjure’ evidence to be able to jail


What beats the imagination of most Ghanaians is what informed the arrest of these

innocent victims of the NDC’s wobbling justice; if the arrest was based on the

so-called evidence of former president Rawlings, they should let Ghanaians see the

evidence then! This sort of politically motivated arrests will only succeed in

leaving Dagbon a more explosive state than ever before.

Doobia Mahama Kasuli



Columnist: Kasuli, Doobia Mahama