You are here: HomeNews2020 12 31Article 1144031

Regional News of Thursday, 31 December 2020


Mayhem looms over 'unilateral' plan to install a Tindaana at Talensi

There is trouble brewing in at Balungu in the Talensi district There is trouble brewing in at Balungu in the Talensi district

Mayhem is imminent at Balungu, an area in the Talensi District, over a “one-sided” move by some persons to install a son to the community’s late Tindaana— the title by which a traditional landowner is known in that part of the Upper East Region— to succeed his father.

The intended installation has been scheduled for this Saturday— January 2, 2021— but some members of the community, who are strongly opposed to the planned event, say it will rather result in chaos and bloodshed if state security agencies fail to intervene in time.

According to an angry section of the area, installation of Tindaama (plural of tindaana) in Balungu has always been performed by a house (Anawaafo Yire) in the next-door community, Pwalugu, from the days of old. And the installation process, they say, usually involves members of the twenty households that constitute the four tindaana clans or gates in the community.

But a group is said to have announced plans to have Maxwell Nwonya Alenga, the late Tindaana’s son, installed as the next traditional landowner this weekend without as many as eighteen of the twenty households taking part. Besides, the group is seeking to carry out the installation for the first time in the history of Balungu through soothsaying— a method which the angry natives say is a self-seeking departure from normal practice. Alenga has also written a letter to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nalebegtang, dated 18th November, 2020, requesting “police security support” for the installation ceremony.

“There are powers behind him”— irritated gates

Members of the excluded households claim Alenga is not acting alone. They say some powers in the district are backing him so that when he assumes the ‘Skin of Power’ as the new tindaana, he can lease out the land under his care as he wishes without accountability and share the “ill-gotten gains” with those powers whilst the entire community “continues to suffer”.

“From the beginning, a traditional landowner in Pwalugu installs tindaana for Balungu. But some recently suggested an innovation— that we should henceforth have our tindaana installed by a soothsayer from Balungu. The four gates— being Luribongo, Telabiisi, A-Obi-Biisi and Baabiisi—would have met and decided as to whether we should take the path of our grandparents or we should go by the innovation. If we were to use a soothsayer, we would have called on the Pwalugu-daana (the Pwalugu’s traditional landowner) to provide a soothsayer or directed a soothsayer from Pwalugu to come and install a tindaana because the whole thing is spiritual. However, some said we could do it in Balungu by bringing a soothsayer to select the tindaana. One gate cannot go and bring a soothsayer because the other gates might not trust the soothsayer.

“So, the best thing for us would have been to subject this innovation to the SWOT analysis— looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats— so that the new process would be accepted by all and not necessarily allowing that Maxwell alone to go and unilaterally bring a soothsayer because he is being pushed by some people so that he will become the tindaana.

This SWOT analysis or dialogue has not been done and you want to impose yourself on Balungu as a traditional landowner, which can bring about mayhem. If an innovation will sell land and the women, the children and the vulnerable in the community will not benefit in that society, then, we don’t want to be part of that innovation,” said a member of one of the excluded households, who mentioned his name only as Robert.

Eighteen houses being excluded to avoid accountability— agitators

The aggrieved members of the community also explained that the eighteen households were being left out of the installation process because they would, in the interest of the community, always demand transparency and accountability in all land-lease transactions undertaken— principles they said the group pushing for the one-sided procedure did not want.

“I know large tracts of land in Balungu that have been sold into individual pockets for nothing, even given as gifts, sold, misused and misappropriated whilst the people are suffering and the money is taken by one family or just a few. If you have a modern tindaana who will not think of women and children, then, it is as useless as not having a tindaana. It’s better not to have a tindaana. Maxwell has met with two of the gates. Both Luribongo and Telabiisi are not aware of his move.

“His gate has one house. Baabiisi has one house. The two houses have met. Luribongo has 7 houses. Telabiisi has 11 houses. Put that together; that is 18 houses. So, 2 houses against 18 houses. What type of conflict do you want to create? That is why we are saying that trouble is looming. He is avoiding the other eighteen houses because he and those who are backing him say the members of those 18 houses are enlightened and will demand accountability for the lands sold in the community,” stated an elder (name withheld on his own plea).

A prominent member of the community, Dominic Azumah Azoyine, told the press with emphasis: “Maxwell Alenga’s unilateral decisions are likely to plunge the entire Balungu into chaos. He should be brought to book as quickly as possible. We also want to use this medium to notify the National Peace Council to intervene as well because the Balungu matter has been a very long and thorny issue. There must be dialogue. There must be a consensus.”

Meanwhile, the elders of the Telabiisi and Luribongo clans have written a petition to the Talensi Traditional Council on the development. The petition, dated 21st December, 2020, highlights the need for broader and proper consultations to be done with all the houses under the tindaana clans in Balungu in the selection and installation of the next traditional landowner in order to avoid disturbances in the area.