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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Columnist: Alhassan, Akudugu

RE: Murder of Amadu Danladi

I read with deep regret and absolute surprise a statement issued and signed by the NPP national chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, on the murder of the party’s Misiga polling station chairman, Amadu Danladi.

In that statement, Jake had alleged that the current NDC government is sponsoring and protecting Kusasis to murder not only Mamprusis but also people believed to be NPP supporters.

This, to me is the most unguarded statement ever made by a political party leader in the history of Ghanaian politics. In making this statement, Jake failed to realise that a statement of this nature can bring the good name of the party into disrepute with the majority Kusasis in the area thereby affecting the fortunes of the party in that part of the country.

If Jake really cares to know, the Bawku traditional area covers areas like Bawku east municipality-the troubled area-, Bawku west district and Garu-Tempane district. Mamprusis are only found in the Bawku east municipality- specifically in the Bawku central constituency. The other two constituencies in the Bawku east municipality- namely, Pusiga and Binduri constituencies- and Bawku west and Garu-Tempane districts have no trace of Mamprusis. In fact, in the Bawku central constituency itself Mamprusis are far fewer than Kusasis.

It is interesting to note that Binduri constituency in which at least 98% of the population are Kusasis was won by NPP in the 2008 general elections. In Bawku central itself, it was the vote of Kusasis that defeated Ayariga.It would therefore be suicidal for a political party to attempt to associate itself with Mamprusis as far as the Bawku conflict is concerned considering the insignificant nature of the Mamprusis as compared to the Kusasis. Those who care to know would realise that if the 2000 housing and population census figures are something to go by, Kusasis can be said to be more than twice Mamprusis nationally.

Most radio station commentators usually associate NPP with Mamprusis and NDC with Kusasis. I usually don’t bother myself commenting on those assertions because I view those individuals of being completely oblivious of the situation on the ground. But this time around I would not keep mute when such a totally misinformed idea is emanating from someone who is expected to know better.

One would have expected NPP to run several light years away from chieftaincy politics considering what happen to them with regards to the Dagbon conflicts, but it seems they are refusing to learn from their past bitter lessons.

Let me unequivocally state here that the 2008 electoral defeat of NPP had more to do with the Dagbon crisis than any other factor ever postulated by political pundits. People shouldn’t forget that Tamale, with such a teeming population, was a strong hold of NPP hitherto to the murder of Ya-na. This suddenly changed after the unfortunate incident.

Considering the razor-thin victory for NDC in 2008 election it would not be out of place to conclude that things would have been different for NPP but for the murder of Ya- na and 40 of its elders.

Let me make it clear that the Problem in Bawku started right at the time when NPP came to power. They shouldn’t forget that the then attorney general and minister for justice and also their 2008 presidential candidate, Nana Akuffo Addo, upon NPP assumption of office in 2001 represented the Mamprusis and took Bawku naba to supreme court in a bid to diskining him.

They were only forced to reluctantly and quietly withdraw the case against Bawku naba only after pressure started mounting on them and their diabolic activities beginning to come under the microscope following the dastardly murder of Ya-na and 40 of his elders.

This gave the green light to the Mamprusis that NPP was behind them thereby encouraging them to take up arms against the Kusasis culminating in the mess that we now all find ourselves in Bawku.

If NPP thinks that they can speak for the Mamprusis, I would rather encourage them to use their association with them to prevail upon them to denounce violence and return to the Bawku peace council that they have withdrawn from. After all, if they have any concern at all, it can only be better dealt with on the negotiating table.

Jake further stated that the fact that NDC government failed to prosecute an alleged guerrilla trainee is a testimony that they are fully supportive of the attacks and killings of Mamprusis and other NPP supporters within the municipality. I view this statement to be at best irrational and at worst reckless. In making this statement, he has forgotten that the culture of impunity started during their tenure in office.

In 2008 for instance a group of Mamprusis who disguised themselves in camouflaged military uniform entered four Kusasis houses and massacred 16 women and children. They were later arrested. Some of them were even arrested with the said camouflaged military uniforms. Others too were detained with blood stained knives and machetes used for the dastardly act.

The question many people continue to ask today is whether those people were ever prosecuted? The answer to this is very simple and that they are roaming on the streets of Bawku freely. Compare this case to “alleged” guerrilla trainee.

What Jake even failed to tell the general public in his statement was the fact that the late Danladi was a Kusasi himself and his killing couldn’t have been linked to his association with NPP since many Kusasis who also support NPP are never harmed. Where he was killed is located deep inside a Kusasi community which means no Mamprusi could have been able to get there. His killing may have something to do rather than the ongoing Kusasi-Mamprusi feud.

I am someone who believes in justice and that it should be meted out to those who deserve it. Crime is a crime. Let us treat them as such instead of reading political meanings to everything no matter how criminal they are.

I am a Kusasi and like any other Kusasi I bear NPP no ill will. That is why some of us would like to see a bipartisan approach to solving the Bawku crisis. All well-meaning Ghanaians including Jake and the NPP are welcome to bring their expertise to bear on this protracted conflict. They should help us by praying for us so that peace can return to Bawku instead of trying to make political capital out of this ethnic and chieftaincy quagmire.

By: Akudugu Alhassan. Tel: 0244477639