Feature Article of Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The death of Alhaji Aliu Mahama, former Vice President, has brought to the fore many issues that I will be bold to raise in a number of opinion pieces to throw more light on pertinent issues and to question the integrity of our politicians.
I begin with a contentious claim made by the NPP’s flagbearer, Akufo-Addo, who has “pledged to restore peace to Dagbon in honour of the former Vice President.”
In a speech paying tribute to Aliu during the pre-burial service for him at the Black Star Square in Accra on Sunday, Akufo-Addo said he would do so because “it was the wish of the late former veep that lasting peace returns to Dagbon after years of a protracted chieftaincy crisis there” (Myjoyonline, November 18, 2012).
Akufo-Addo said he was committed to honouring Aliu’s memory by working to foster peace and reconciliation in the internecine conflict that has deprived Dagbon of peace.
Outright dishonesty, treachery, chicanery, and duplicity, I say. It is insulting for Akufo-Addo who failed in his role as the then Minister of Justice and Attorney-General at the time of that very Yendi Massacre to turn round to say what has just come from him as if he is new to the problem. I will justify my stance.
The circumstances surrounding this Yendi crisis, following the murder of the Ya-Na and 40 of his followers in March 2002, are well known; and the difficulties faced by law enforcement in bringing the perpetrators to book are also known because of the shoddy manner in which the case was handled at the time that this Akufo-Addo was well positioned to either prevent the Massacre or help resolve the Yendi crisis expeditiously. He failed horribly. Turning round after 10 years of that occurrence to make this pledge is annoying.
Without seeking to re-open wounds (although the wounds aren’t fully healed, anyway), I want to say that Akufo-Addo’s incompetence was largely responsible for the stalling of efforts to seek justice for the Ya-Na and the other victims of the atrocity meted out to them by the Abudu faction (some of whom, including the late Aliu, were pillars in the Kufuor government).
When Jahinfo and other accomplices were arrested, detained, and brought before court for their frontline role in the massacre, Akufo-Addo’s office ordered them to be released. Vital evidence and potential witnesses seemed to be tampered with, intimidated, or induced not to cooperate.
Neither could the Wuaku Commission’s findings that established Jahinfo and the others as culprits be implemented because of official complicity, as the Andani family would have us believe—and which was clearly confirmed by the lackadaisical manner in which the Kufuor government handled the case.
Accusing fingers were pointed at the former Vice President himself, Yakubu Malik Alhassan (the then Minister of the Interior), Major Sulemana (then of National Security) and many others of the Abudu faction that had been accused of facilitating the wreaking of that havoc on their Andani counterparts.
The Kufuor government’s handling of the case was shoddy, to say the least. The case can’t be concluded to date despite strenuous efforts, especially by the Mills-led administration, to re-open it for trial. What Akufo-Addo considers today as the Yendi problem isn’t anything new. It occurred under his own watch.
Is it now that Akufo-Addo feels the compunction to re-visit that Yendi Massacre and pursue peace and reconciliation just in honour of Aliu Mahama, a whole decade after that sordid event had occurred? And why will that effort be geared at honouring the dead former Vice President’s memory and not that of the Ya-Na and his unfortunate followers?
Again, why now? If Aliu hadn’t died, what would Akufo-Addo be doing? Is he saying that restoring normalcy to Yendi and reconciling the two factions is contingent on the death of the former Vice President? Or that had he not died, there would have been no need to resolve the Yendi crisis since there would be no one’s memory to honour in doing so?
Very disturbing questions about a troubling claim made by Akufo-Addo!!
I bet you, Akufo-Addo made that claim only as a political ruse to seek sympathy from the electorate just as he is doing with his utopian promises. Such a character isn’t good for Ghanaian politics in contemporary times. He is too desperate for power and comes across as a shameless opportunist at this stage, doing politics with the unfortunate demise of Aliu Mahama.
Any intention to broker peace for Yendi is laudable but coming from the very people under whose watch the Yendi massacre occurred, and the very people who had every opportunity to prevent it or resolve it expeditiously but couldn’t, I am highly skeptical. I am incredulous, knowing very well how Akufo-Addo failed to solve this problem, which fell within his purview.
Is he saying that he couldn’t do so as a Minister and will now do so when he ascends to the highest office of the land as President? What new approach will he adopt to resolve the crisis that eluded him and Kufuor in 2002 and beyond?
Again, I see Akufo-Addo in a very disturbing light on this score and won’t rest my case against him now. He is just blowing hot air for needless attention. When he had the case “fresh” and traces to follow, he fumbled and bumbled. What does he think he can do now that the problem has “calcified” and become highly intractable?
By persistently making all kinds of promises and impudent claims concerning this Dagbon crisis, Akufo-Addo continues to reinforce my aversion for the kind of politics that he is doing. Disheartening!
I shall return.
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