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Opinions of Friday, 22 January 2010

Columnist: Awuni, Manasseh Azure

Nana Obiri Boahene, Others, Must Stop Insulting Northerners!

I listened to Joy Mid-Day News on January 20, 2010, and could not bring myself to understand why some politicians think that the rest of us are so dim-witted to swallow whatever they tell us line, hook and sinker. Here was Nana Obiri Boahene, a former minister in the Kufuor administration blaming the NDC for the stalemate in Dagbon due to the politicization of the chieftaincy crisis.

On New Year Day, I heard the MP for Bawku Central making similar comments on Peace FM when some unidentified gunmen shot and killed two people in Bawku. I agree with Nana Obiri Boahene that the prosecution of the killers of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II could have been left out of the campaign promises of the NDC due to its volatile nature. But I also think politicians who turn round to point accusing fingers at someone else for the mess they created are only insulting the good people of Northern Ghana who are bearing the brunt of such actions. It is surprising how every Ghanaian is an expert when it comes to issues of Northern Ghana when even most of our media practitioners cannot tell the regional capitals of the three regions of the North.

All we know is the North!

I will repeat for the umpteenth time that the NDC and the NPP are tarred with the same brush and must share the blame for the woes of the three poorest regions of the country, even if not equally. But when it comes to the Dagbon crisis, the NPP should be the last to make any pronouncement on why the solution to the crisis is proving more elusive than the proverbial foot of the rainbow. There have been countless instances of ground-breaking investigations involving murders that took place under the cover of darkness in which the security personnel didn’t have the faintest clues as who did it, how they did it and why it was done. But the culprits have been arrested finally brought to book. I respect our security personnel for that.

Why is that when it comes to Northern Ghana, everything is different? The Ya Na and forty others were murdered in broad day light, not in the night. The Yendi Police Station is about hundred metres away from the palace where that gruesome murder took place. Why was no one apprehended? Who controlled the coercive machinery of the state? By law only the government does? Which government was in power in 2002? Was it the NDC or the NPP?

He who does not punish evil commands it to be done, say our wise elders. Yendi is not an anonymous city like Kumasi or Accra. It is a relatively small town where everybody knows everybody. To sit down for this crime to have taken place in the full glare of those who have been mandated to curtail it and later blame someone else is not only unfortunate but also an insult to the people who have been affected by it.

There can never be peace where justice has been declared persona non grata. Kete-Krachi in the Volta Region nearly became another Bawku due to the conflict between the indigenes and a section of the Muslim community. The recent one started in 2004 and became an annual ritual until in 2008 when one person was transferred into the district. It took the boldness and almost singular effort of the Krachi West District Magistrate, His Worship Emmanuel Antwi-Barima, to tame the otherwise untouchable individuals and brought them to their knees. Now Kete-Krachi is very peaceful. The magic? Justice! Impartial justice!

Criminals are criminals and must always be treated as such. When criminals commit murder in Accra, they are said to be criminals but when such senseless murders take place in Bawku or elsewhere in Northern Ghana, the culprits cease to be criminals. It is amazing that the politicians who are supposed to know better will leave the core issues and point accusing fingers at one another. When this happens, those behind the unrest are indirectly assured of asylum. What is happening in Dagbon could be worse if the murder of a paramount chief and his elders happened in the Asante Kingdom or any part of the country. This is the basic truth all level minded persons should know. The solution does not lie in vilifying any political party. The solution is justice. So those who know next to nothing should stop insulting northerners when these issues come up. It is unwise and unfair to lump everybody together. Upper West Region is the most peaceful region in Ghana. It is in the North. In the Upper East Region, it is only in the Bawku Municipality that there is the conflict we always hear. Apart from the Dagbon Crisis and mischief of the jobless and politically manipulated Azoka and Kandahar boys in Tamale, the Northern Region can be said to be more peaceful than most regions in Ghana. Where then lies the justification that northerners are violent?

If the NDC cannot ensure that justice and truthfulness prevail, then they had better leave sleeping wounded dogs to lie. Selective justice will only fuel the imploding tension and when it explodes, Ghana will be bound to make ethically malicious headlines and top stories in the international media. We cannot afford to undo the gains we have made as the oasis of peace in this seemingly accursed continent of ours.

To the Abudu and Andani elders, do not think that there will ever be somebody who has grown teeth in his throat to talk to you before you compromise on your deeply rooted antagonistic stance. Your sons and daughters do not know where their next meal will come from yet, you’re there fighting. For what? How many of you will turn into stones? Which of you will outlive eternity? For how long will you remain PhD holders in senseless litigation? All of us only have six feet to end our journey. If all you’ll want to be remembered for, when you are finally lowered into the rocky savanna land baked by the merciless tropical African sun, is litigation and incessant conflicts, then keep it up. God or Allah shall be our ultimate judge.

By Manasseh Azure Awuni [www.maxighana.com] Email: azureachebe2@yahoo.com The writer is the SRC President of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. Visit www.maxighana.com to read more from this writer.