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Opinions of Sunday, 24 February 2008

Columnist: Natogmah Issahaku

Rejoinder: “Fears of Violence in Dagbon”

Dear Fellow Dagombas/Dagbon Members of Parliament,

Reference to the article posted on Ghanaweb on February 11, 2008 captioned “Fears of Violence in Dagbon” and sourced from myjoyonline.com, courtesy Honorable Abukari Sumani, I wish to express my grave concern that rumors of that nature emanating from Dagbon must be taken extremely seriously, if history is to be accorded respect as a good teacher. The government and all the security agencies should not wait to see a smoking gun before prudent steps are taken to avert a potentially violent situation in the Dagbon traditional area. To wait and see a smoking gun before taking precautions may be too late to avoid the worst case scenario from happening. Past lessons should guide us to believe to be true the saying that “there can be no smoke without fire” especially when it comes to politico-chieftaincy issues in Dagbon.

Needless to say, the purported “fears of violence in Dagbon” should serve as a wakeup call to all concerned that Dagbon still remains the Achilles’ heel of Ghana’s national security and stability. I urge the government to take tangible measures to avert such a scenario from happening and to alley the peoples’ fears of violence in Dagbon.

If concrete measures are not taken by the government to alley the fears of the imminent threat of violence in Dagbon then the Dagbon caucus of Members of Parliament should write a petition to President Kufuor and copy the petition to the United Nations country (Ghana) Director in Accra about their suspicions and fears of violence in Dagbon.

Aside from that, parliament should be forewarned about the fears of violence in Dagbon, so that pressure can be brought to bear on the government to act responsibly to avoid any potential violence in the area and to alley the fears and anxiety that the inhabitants of Dagbon may have.

As it happens, the government and Dagombas should understand that it is better to “jaw jaw jaw than to war war war” because the adverse consequences of a forced political solution in the Dagbon crisis far outweigh any expected gains that may accrue from such risky political solution. Dialogue (“Jaw jaw jaw”) is always the answer to crisis situations, because no one ever comes out a winner in a non-dialogue situation. Human lives are human lives regardless of which tribe they belong to: Southerners or Northerners; Akans or Dagombas; Andanis or Abudus – they all deserve protection from government.

God Bless Dagbon!

By Natogmah Issahaku(Dagbon peace, re-unification, and development Advocate) Hails from Jisonaayilli, Tamale