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Opinions of Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Nana must Apologize for Yaa Naa's Murder.

As the case stands now, the NPP is to be blamed for Yaa Naa’s murder and as such, must make amends. The NPP is to be blamed not because they knew the intricate details of the planned massacre. The NPP is to be blamed not because they aided and abetted the perpetrators. The NPP is solely to be blamed for failing to prevent the murder of the Yaa Naa and the subsequent failure to prosecute major players involved, directly or indirectly, to the fullest.

A little background before we proceed. Or better yet, why did one Royal House (Abudu)kill a member of the rival Royal House (Andani) who happened to be the Supreme King? The answer to that question is that the said Royal family did not recognize the King as the Supreme overlord. Why was the King not recognized as such by the said Royal family? Because…..and on and on….. in order to avoid a ‘chicken or egg, which is first’ scenario, and establish the NPP’s guilt in the current crisis, we must trace the crisis to the last significant act in the Dagomba Kingship dispute: a Supreme Court ruling under the PNDC in the early 1980s.



This ruling favored an Andani instead of an Abudu as the rightful heir to the throne after an Abudu had occupied the Kingship for a decade or so. Naturally, the Abudus disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision. In order to enforce the Supreme Court ruling, the PNDC had to provide maximum security for the newly declared King. What this meant, at least implicitly, was that the King was only a King as long as government offered and guaranteed his safety and reign.

With the PNDC’s era coming to an end in 2000, stories flying around Yendi, the ancestral home of the Dagombas were that the Yaa Naa Andani’s days as the Supreme authority were numbered; based on the fact that – observers thought and speculated- without the PNDC and especially without the personal guarantee of the Chairman of the PNDC, who allegedly orchestrated the Supreme Court ruling, the King was no King, unanimously. The question on every one’s mind was whether whoever came after the Chairman of the PNDC, would be able to offer the Yaa Naa the same protection and in the case of an NPP victory, whether the NPP would reverse the Supreme Court Ruling.

This was how matters stood when the NPP came to power: an Andani, traditionally CPP, had been installed Yaa Naa, instead of an Abudu, traditionally a UP, allegedly with the help of a government which was more anti-UP than a pro-CPP. There were warning signs, big ones, that the life of the Yaa Naa was in danger now that the Chairman of the P-ndc was no longer in power.

Two years into the NPP administration, the Yaa Naa was dead. The NPP had failed to protect the King despite all the omen and all the signs. Six years later, when the NPP left office, they had failed to bring to justice major players in the massacre.

So as the case stands right now, the blame of the Yaa Naa’s death lies squarely on the NPP’s shoulders, for failing to protect the Yaa Naa and subsequently failing to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. There are no ‘IFs’ as in ‘if the Yaa Naa had not refused protection (the Yaa Naa flatly refused protection offered him by the NPP administration) he would still be alive’ or any ‘BUTs’ as in ‘ but the crisis is a million years older than the NPP party itself, therefore it couldn’t do anything’. Nor are there any ‘WHYs’ as in ‘why did the Supreme Court under the PNDC, favored one over the other?’ The guilt of the NPP is not conspiratorial either. The NPP is guilty because under its administration – and regardless of historical antecedents-, it failed to keep its charge. It failed to protect a citizen, a King, despite being aware of the of all the signs of an impending massacre.

As the case stands now, there is nothing the NPP can do to exorcise its guilt. There is nothing the NPP can do to right the wrong, except one thing: to show remorse and offer an official apology to the people of Dagomba for the events of March 2002. This would at least start a healing process for the Dagomba people. This is the only gesture that can save the party from the ‘certain doom’ – hyperbolically- that awaits future generations. Without this gesture, the legacy that the current leadership would leave their descendants would be catastrophic. This is one sin committed that our fathers cannot pass unto their sons. This is one sin that our fathers cannot leave to the future leaders of the party to rectify. This is one sin that future leaders of the party can't afford to bear.

As the case stands now, the NPP must ask for forgiveness and make amends. In order to do so,- and the only appropriate gesture, in my opinion- the current leadership of the NPP, our flag bearer, Nana Addo, President Kuffour, National Chairman Jake and the General Secretary Sir John along with all the other party leaders, must take a ‘pilgrimage’ to Yendi, accompanied by all the appeasement items as required by Dagomba Protocol, to offer their sincerest and an official apology, on behalf of the Party and future generations, for failing to protect their King.

The future, - not only the Dagombas or the people of Ghana but their own party descendants- will never forgive the current leadership, if it fails to do so.



Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto.