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Opinions of Monday, 22 April 2002

Columnist: Dagbon Citizens in the Diaspora

The King's Blood: Dark Day of Shame

- Moral will versus Political expedience

During the later days of the 2000 Presidential election run-off of, it was widely held that if voted into power, the NPP government would dis-skin the Ya Naa,Yakubu Andani II as a payback to its traditional alliance in Dagbon, the Abudu gate. The NPP leadership issued a statement denying the allegation, and the general secretary of Dagbon Youth Association (DAYA), issued a press statement in Tamale on December 18, 2000, urging all politicians not to drag Dagbon chieftaincy into partisan politics, saying such endeavor would only result in chaos and suffering to people of Dagbon.

However just a little over a year into power by the NPP government, signs of those predictions begun to unravel, only this time the Ya Naa’s palace, which the people of Dagbon so revered was attacked, burnt down to ashes, and the Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II murdered in cold blood with 27 others who were with him at the palace. This time the Ya Naa was not dis-skinned but dismembered by a group of barbaric criminals who claimed to have put up fight with the Ya Naa on this DARK DAY OF SHAME in the history of Dagbon, March 27, 2002.

The sad thing is that, the fears of the people of Dagbon about NPP government coming to power has become a reality and even much worse than the people of Dagbon thought.

The question most Ghanaians, both at home and in the Diaspora keep asking is: what would be the motive of the government in covertly murdering the late Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II? Below are some of the compelling logical conclusions objective Ghanaians could draw from this saga:

First, from the onset of this regicide the NPP government did not treat it as a crime, but rather a dispute to be mediated. When in fact, there is nothing to mediate about. The question the NPP government has not answered to Ghanaians is that what is the three-member team of traditional rulers mediating about? Are they mediating about the where about of some of dismembered parts of the late King or for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to hand themselves up voluntary?

Secondly, the government quickly claimed it accepted the resignations of the (former) interior minister Mr. Malik Yakubu Alhassan, MP for Yendi accused as the mastermind of this regicide and the Northern Regional minister. However, the NPP government surreptitiously still maintained the regional minister, who was recently seen on the national TV performing the functions of a regional minister for the same post he resigned from. The question again is why would the NPP government accept his resignation but still maintain him rather than appoint a new person to that post or ask the deputy regional minister to act? Very simply: the NPP government cover up is not done yet. As such appointing a new person to the post may be very detrimental to the government’s claim of innocence. Further a great majority of Ghanaians – including Hon Elizabeth Ohene, Presidential spokes person (in a statement), would believe the late Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II would still be alive had the government reacted to the first violence at Yendi on March 24, 2002. Instead, the then interior minister and MP for Yendi categorically denied any ensuring fighting at Yendi on the radio/TV (breakfast show) on March 25, 2002 with confidence. Two things went wrong here: the minister not only lied to the Ghanaian public but the government also failed to have independent findings; also, where was the national security personnel who so claim to be the best in West Africa? If the national security chief Rtd Gen. Hamidu and his deputy Rtd. Major Sulemana who happen to be Dagbamba themselves were actually at work, why didn’t they put a lid over the trouble than allowed it to explode? What these two individuals need to explain to the Ghanaian public is did they have any hidden motive in the Dagbon chieftaincy? If not, at what time did they know about the incident? Should their answer be that they just as surprised as every Ghanaian, I would be compelled to say they not are up to the job of providing security for our nation.

Thirdly, the NPP government realizing the critical analysis in the media seeking answers critical in uncovering their deeds quickly moved to invoke the state emergency powers without consulting the council of state as the constitution demands. This scrutiny of the media allowed the government to control what is being asked and said .

Fourthly, the government in an attempt to divert attention from its backyard, announced a 10 million cedis reward for any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Meanwhile, they snubbed the list of the assailants the late King’s heirs provided from eyewitness accounts to the government for interrogations or arrest. In addition, the government has not even made any attempt to collect forensic evidence either at crime scene or any part of Yendi. The incompetence or lack of interest by the NPP government in unearthing the regicide is evident in the investigation team languishing in Tamale, which is 60 miles from the crime scene. According to reliable sources from Tamale, the investigation team has only sent letters (or invitations) to the accused person in Yendi inviting them to Tamale, while harassing the victims. The question again is why hasn’t there been any arrest in Yendi but Tamale?


Clearly, the answer may be that NPP government has a moral obligation NOT to arrest its party sympathizers from Yendi or may be, they do not want their strongest seat in Northern region to strike against them. Which may include reminding them of their campaign promise to dis-skin the King when they assume power.


Some people might want to know what the NPP will gain from dis-skinning the late Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II after all? Again the answer is very simple: the NPP government is only completing a task it’s predecessors commenced in 1969 under Dr. K. A. Busia, which was subsequently overturned by the High and Supreme courts of Ghana in the mid 70s and mid 80s respectively.


It is no brainier that the NPP government to begin with had a nonstarter case to dis-skin the late Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II, since it is a constitutional government. Yet, stand a lot to manipulate the hands of the so-called mediation team to get some compromise between the Abudus and the Andanis. he question the people of Dagbon still don’t get, is that a spokeman of the Abudus amidst this tumult came out and condemned the regicide and said it must be investigated as a crime because the Abudus did not and could murder the Ya Naa let alone to burn down the revered palace. Yet no single member of the NPP government with the exception of the Vice president has yet to condemn the regicide as a crime.

To those who say let us wait for the investigation to complete, I tell you that from the look of things the government is not only stonewalling these investigations, but also deeply covering its party sympathizers up both at Yendi and in Accra.

My only hope is that, His Excellency, President Kuffour meant business when he said in his acceptance speech to the nation on December 30, 2000: “ yesterday, I was the candidate of my party, today I am the President-elect of all Ghanaians”. I believe he is decent man, and I believe he will be true to his oath to the nation, even at the expense of revealing a few party cronies. My belief that the president meant his statement and oath to the nation gives me some comfort.

May God help and direct you, Mr. President.


PS: Article has NOT been approved by the Ministry of information