Opinions Sat, 28 Jun 2014

Well-known lessons transiently ignored in Dagbon?

Number 1: Lessons of Chieftaincy succession disputes

Strictly speaking, Dagbon consist of Dagombas, Mamprusi, Nanumbas and the Mossi. Linguistically, these ethnicities are termed as the Mole-Dagbani but today, the Dagombas are exclusively identified with Dagbon. The Mamprusi are identified with Mamprugu, whiles the Nanumbas are identified with Nanung.

The Mossi are largely located in Ouagadougou, present day Burkina Faso.

Gbewaa was the proto ancestor of Dagbon Kingdom and pioneer of Nam (chieftainship) in Dagbon. Thus, he is a common ancestor to the people of Dagbon, Mamprugu and Nanung kingdoms. Similarly, Tohazie is a common great ancestor (Father of Gbewaa).

After the death of Gbewaa, legend has it that his children fiercely fought for the Nam (Chieftainship). Subsequently, and in recent times, there are still fatal disputes for the right to inherit and proclaim the Nam. Even though chieftaincy disputes and chieftaincy civil wars are not peculiar to the children, grandsons and great grandsons of Gbewaa, it is still critical for recent traditional ‘elders’ of Dagbon in entirety to learn their lessons permanently. The lessons are well-known and mustn't be ignored momentarily overtime; repeated cases of violence and murder are age-long incidences and need not be a recurring history. When will cool heads prevail in the traditional council and dynastic families?

Number 2: Lessons of political interference and abuse of power

The lesson here is that, Ghana’s democracy has advanced significantly since 1992. The government of Ghana, irrespective of the political party in power, must be committed and seen committed to treating crimes as security and legal issues. The era of political interference and abuse of opponent’s or peoples’ rights according to the will and caprices of executive power is no longer encouraged and highly unacceptable. In law, no executive authority can DELIVER any legal justice in disputes. They can only be committed to SEEK that, justice is done by prosecuting suspects with the right evidence and competent adjudication. In fact, the President of the Republic of Ghana, clearly, cannot sentence anybody into prison by his order or decree. Sentencing is the function of the courts or the judiciary.

Government has control over resources and security personnel. However, the security or investigators of crimes are only expected to gather incriminating evidence. This function is far different from the thinking or sometimes the illusion that the investigators or the security is already holding to the evidence. There can be assurance and not surety. Government seek justice, they cannot deliver justice. The courts deliver justice but cannot also deliver peace and unity between feuding groupings. The government must be committed to delivering peace and unity.

Number 3: Lessons of Rule of Law/Criminal Justice System and politicisation of crimes

The government can arrest ten suspects, twenty, or even thirty-three hundred suspects, they are mere suspects. In other words, they are very innocent. Since we deem them as innocent, all must see them as innocent until a competent court passes judgement that they are guilty of the charges levelled against them.

We are at liberty to demand that the security or government is really committed to getting to the bottom of crimes for the courts to pronounce judgments. We should criticize government’s window dressing of crimes and political expediency to elongate or shun seriousness in preventing and arresting crimes. All minded Ghanaians, given a platform need to impress or put government on its toes to deal with crimes and security affairs dispassionately and professionally.

We can avoid seeing crimes committed, with political or parochial lenses. Politicians and all well meaning people, should note that, if one has no possible evidence to feed investigators or help in investigation, just watch your tongue, emotions and threats. More importantly, pseudo promises and assurance in matters of crimes and disputes.

If you are without evidence besides hearsay, intuitive suspicions, and concocted conspiracies, why don’t you just express your sympathy to victims and family, condemn the act of crime and appeal for restraint amidst the tension.

Lesson 4: Peace and Unity

We are better united than divided.

Iddrisu Mubarik, Tamale.



Columnist: Iddrisu Mubarik, Tamale