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Opinions of Thursday, 2 March 2006

Columnist: Kwamena, Ato

Dogs Of War


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Fellow Ghanaians, we have a WORK to do when it comes to the North! We may choose to continuously ignore our duty to this part of the country, but we do that to our own collective detriment and destruction. The three northern regions of the country ? the Upper West, Upper East, and Northern Regions ? are, sadly: the most unproductive (in terms of their contribution to the GDP), the poorest, and the most volatile parts of the country. In fact, the Northern Regions remain the weakest link in the chain of our national security. As they say, ?the chain is as strong as its weakest link?. So, if there would be any instability in Ghana, it will come from the North. You don?t have to be an expert in security matters to know this, my friend. This is a no ?brainer?! A significant majority of social unrests, mini-wars, assassinations, and etc which occur in Ghana happens in the North. Our image as a stable country does not stem from the events in the Northern parts of our country. Albeit if that were the case, we would have been long classified amongst the likes of Sierra Leone, Liberia, La Cote D?Ivoire, etc. The peaceful and stable country that the rest of the world sees us as being is due to the stability in the Southern part of the country. It is for this reason that we, as a people, ought to protect this image we have. We ought to jealously guard the stability of the Southern part of the Ghana even as we strive to bring true peace and stability to the Northern parts of the country.

Should the Southern part of Ghana fall to chaos, war, or ?mayhem?, that would mark the end of our tag as the most stable and progressive country in West Africa. Friend, if you don?t know what the meaning of war or ?mayhem? is, then let me please beg your indulgence to take you through a brief course of what ?mayhem? or war means. ?Mayhem? means that you cannot take the bus or taxi to wherever you please ? to visit friends, family, etc. ?Mayhem? means those family or friends are either running for dear life or are dead! It means that you are either an orphan or have lost all your children. It means that your mother, wife, sister, and daughter are all vulnerable to being raped by some nasty guy. ?Mayhem? means that you have become jobless as your workplace has been turned into a battlefield where bullets are flying all over. ?Mayhem? means if you are over 40 years old, you have to start your life afresh again from scratch in a foreign land, say Burkina (if you are even lucky to escape there alive) as you have lost every penny you saved and every asset you earned. At the end of the ?mayhem? you may become a disabled person, if you were lucky to be alive. So friend, next time someone promises to cause ?mayhem? on you or your country, take a good look at that person?for that is the person who is a traitor, a nation-wrecker, a war monger, and an unpatriotic citizen!

Friend, it doesn?t matter which part of the country you come from ? whether Southern or Northern ? we all have the responsibility to keep our clean image. For it is on this clean image ? as a stable, democratic, and a peace-loving country ? that our goal of developing and turning around Ghana from a backward country to a more progressive and modern country hinges. Take away that clean image of stability and we are undone! Take it away and we would have set the clock of positive progress back 20 years. So irrespective of our ethnicities we must guard our South jealously. And even as we do this, let us all work in tandem to stabilize our North. I have said it before, and I will say it again. No one understands our people of the North better than their own leaders. No one can facilitate a positive change in the North better than the representatives of the Northern people.

The enemies of the North, which we must all join hands to fight, are: Poverty, Ignorance, Love of War, Lack of Dialogue, and the Lack of Respect for the Rule of Law. These are the enemies! And these we must fight or we perish! But this battle must be led by the representatives of the Northern people. For they understand the culture and the people better than anyone else, as I have already said. The strive against backwardness should be LED by their representatives ? their MPs. Parliamentarians are elected to serve in the House of Parliament to enact laws, to represent and lobby for their people?s interest. If our Northern Parliamentarians were to lead the way, I?m sure many other true patriots of Ghana would fall in line and support them in the fight to overcome these hurdles ? for the benefit of our people up North. But so far, they?ve been a complete failure in this direction. They have relegated this primary duty to the background and have assumed uninvited responsibilities.

Of the 230 seats available in our parliament 49 belong to Northern MPs. This represents one-fifth of the seats available in our parliament. The minority NDC has 33 of these 49 seats. In other words, the NDC holds 67% of the total number of seats allotted to the North. So, they form a significant majority when it comes to representation of the North. Being in the majority, the onus of setting a pro-development agenda for the North, and lobbying for that agenda rests on the oars of the NDC MPs more than anyone else. But what have they been doing, since they assumed office in the comforts of Accra? They have turned themselves into ?Dogs of War?! There?s something about Accra that I just can?t figure out. Why is it that as soon as our Northern MPs settle in Accra they instantaneously contract a four-year retrograde and anterograde amnesia? They only remember the plight of their own people when election time is up. Why is it that they immerse themselves in the ?filthy? politics of the entire nation and neglect the interests of their own Northern people?

Tune in to any FM or TV Station. Whenever there?s any debate about any issue ? however trivial it may be ? an issue that is obviously being exploited by some faceless politician for his/her own parochial benefit -- the task of arguing for this ?faceless politician?s? interest is almost always assigned to a Northern MP or a Northern politician? When was the last time you heard or saw Mahama Ayariga championing the cause of the North? Have you ever heard Haruna Idrissu talking about how he intends to put pressure on the Executive, and on Parliament to pay more attention to developing the North? Take a long look at Bagbin! Hasn?t he become more dedicated to serving the interests of his ?masters? than the very people who sent him to Parliament? Did you ever hear Bagbin debating other MPs on why they should support him to help break the vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance that plagues our people ? more especially our Northern brothers and sisters? Shouldn?t the championing of the Northern people?s interest be the primary goal of the Ayarigas, Bagbins, Kumbuors, and Haruna Iddrisus? Why have they relegated this important duty to the background and turned themselves into ?Dogs of War?, threatening ?mayhem?, and chaos to the rest of us?

Imagine if Ayariga had spent half the time and effort he expends in hopping from one TV Station to another doing his ?master?s? bidding, rather on championing the cause of the North. Imagine how effective he would have been as an MP! Instead, Mahama Ayariga has decided to make himself available to the whims and caprices of his ?masters? to throw dust into the people?s eye, and threaten ?mayhem? should his ?master?s? will not be done. He?s become a ?Dog of War? in the South. Haruna Idrissu comes from a part of the country that suffers from chronic social upheavals, ?mini-wars?, and social upheaval - Tamale. Why is he NOT moving heaven and earth to unite his people up there, but has instead been trying to introduce to the South the ?mayhem? that often plagues his people? Ever wondered why these threats of destabilizing Ghana and causing ?mayhem? are issued, primarily, by Northern MPs? Of the NDC?s 94 MPs, their Northern MPs form about 35% of the lot. What happened to the 65%? Why are they basically mute? Curious and discerning minds want to know why when it comes to controversial issues the 65% lurk in the backgrounds and unleash the 35% ?Dogs of War? on the country. Why? Because the 35% are disposable citizens (to be used to do ?dirty jobs and then trashed, when they have outlived their usefulness)? Instead of using the stability and peace of the South as a source of encouragement to our Northern citizens to eschew violence and embrace dialogue and the rule of law, we are allowing the violence in the North to be ?exported? to the South. What?s wrong with us, people!

Nobody is saying that as an MP Bagbin and his likes should not speak on National issues. No, that?s not the point! They have the right to speak on such issues. The point is: why is it that when it comes to the issuing of threats of ?mayhem?, chaos, and war, it becomes a job for the North? Why must they be the bearers of their ?master?s? desire to threaten ?mayhem? to the people? What happened to the other NDC MPs from the other regions? What happened to Ken Dzirasah (MP of South Tongu), Doe Adjaho (MP of Avenor), and the other Southern NDC MPs? I?m personally deeply disappointed in the Northern MPs! They are so short-sighted it?s unbelievable! All they need to do is take a look at the ?big picture? and they?ll become more discerning. They?ll then see that someone is using them as ?Dogs of War?.

When the Dagbon people beheaded their own chief, Ya Na Yakubu Andani, and 30 others in 2002, the whole nation was shocked. This primitive regicide was then allowed to be politicized by the very Dagbon people. They allowed themselves for some ?filthy Southern? politicians to divide them into a pro-NPP group, and a pro-NDC group. Scavenging politicians ? ?political hyenas?, if you please ? saw this despicable regicide as a great opportunity to exploit the people for their own parochial political gain. To achieve their aim, they clandestinely lurked in the background and exploited the Northerners themselves to ?stab each other in the back?. So they turned to Drs. Seini Wayo, Yahuza Gomda, and Adam Gamel Nasser. These three Northern intellectuals played a significant role in fanning the conflict between the two Dagbon Gates ? helping to consolidate the entrenched positions that the two Gates (Andani and Abudu) had taken. At the end of the day, the losers were the very Dagbon people.

Whilst the rest of the country was urging politicians to exercise some circumspection in the exploitation of the Dabgon regicide for political purposes, Haruna Idrissu was using this unfortunate incidence to please his masters ? to score political points. During a campaign in the Techiman South Constituency where the party?s Youth and Women?s Wing was being inaugurated, he promised that Atta-Mills would find the killers of the Ya Na in 90 days if he wins the 2004 elections. He didn?t elaborate whether Atta-Mills knew the killers or whether the professor had now become an FBI-trained chief inspector. ? Mills will find Killers of Ya Na in 90 Days (GHP ). I just cannot understand why the leaders of our Northern people continuously sell out their own people. Why can?t they stand up for their people? Why?

And, friend, have you noticed that almost anytime there?s an incidence of political thuggery, the culprits ? those who were being used - are often people of Northern extraction? During the intimidation-infested Koforidua Congress, Mrs. Frances Essiam stated, ?One girl known as Amina from Tamale came from nowhere and hit me on the left eye with a bottle of water.? Why did Amina do that? She had being told to do it! Someone was using her to accomplish a ?dirty work?. Mrs. Essiam went on to state that hefty boys bashed, slapped, and knocked her head against a wall. They also whipped her using horse whips. ? Ghanaian Chronicle . Who were these ?hefty boys?? They were ?hoodlums bussed in from Tamale, Nima and Bawku, to charge the atmosphere at the congress grounds, as part of the game plan to put fear into delegates, who might vote for Dr Obed Asamoah. The Tamale team was led by a certain Azoka, and eight of the members were attired in black T-shirts.? ? Daily Guide (posted on Joy Online) . To make their bosses happy they would do anything, even if it means putting themselves in a position to be incarcerated by breaking the law. Very sad indeed!

Friend, I could go on and on. But I hope by now you get my drift. Now listen to the names of the leaders of the ROPAB demonstration who ended up attacking the police with stones: Bernard Monarh, Mahama Ayariga (MP for Bawku Central), Boya Gariba, Asiedu-Nketiah (NDC General Secretary), Alfred Lartey, Adam Sanusi, Alhaji Iddrisu Bature, Hajia Miriam Sinare, Dr Kwabena Adjei (NDC Chairman), Ama Benyiwa-Doe (NDC Women?s Organizer), Victor Smith (Special Aide to chairman Rawlings), Said Sinare, Haruna Iddrisu (MP for Tamale South) and Dr Ben Kumbuor (MP for Lawra Nandom). Ask yourself, ?how many of them are Northern ?Dogs of War? being used to export ?mayhem? to the South?? Now I want to call on the Ayarigas, the Bagbins, the Bernard Monarhs (of the PNC), etc, to give us a break! Let us make it clear to these ?Dogs of War? that ?we will not allow them to extend their ?mayhem? to the South?. All that we have in Ghana is the stability of the Southern part of the country. If they will not help us bring peace to the North, let them keep their ?mayhem? to themselves! We don?t need it. We are content with the peace we have. And we cherish this peace and civility in Accra and many other parts of the country. I appeal to our Northern Politicians to wage war against the true enemies of our people in the North: Poverty, Ignorance, etc, etc. and stop threatening us! I urge them to turn a new leaf and LEAD our people up North to a new course of development in freedom and tranquility. For Ghana does not need any ?Dogs of War?.



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