Feature Article of Friday, 8 April 2011

Columnist: Twumasi, Patrick

A Painful March Towards Finding Ya-Na’s Murderers.

If you lose a hair or your hairs of memory, you will surely have nothing in your will for your generational issues. Hence, one can comfortably say that, there would be an aspect of your life that could as well be considered as a history of dry pages.

Death is one sad part of this life that is quiet difficult to comprehend. But the death of a leader of a people which is not natural is overly disturbing, frustrating, disorganizing and has the fertile recipe to set the ugly tone of this kind. It would be precedence, especially when it is drifting to be an unresolved crime. The followers of such leaders tend to struggle to maintain their cohesion. We need to accept the views of others, but not necessarily agreeing with them, the dead can be buried, but issues of grave concern cannot be interned. Issues of mind wrecking are not easy to be eroded.

A forth night ago, an Accra Fast Track High court acquitted and discharged 14 persons, with one on the run, on the murder of the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and forty (40) of his elders at the Gbewa Palace in Yendi, Northern Region. This has generated a lot of acceptable and unacceptable arguments, from various quarters’ frost and dented with politics as well as sentiments and emotions. Politics, especially in our part of the world divide than can unite, while emotions and sentiments make logic defective. Let us painstakingly dissociate our reasoning from the parameters of politically based arguments.

It is instructive to read the ensuing inference with the entire independent mind that you can. The case involving the murder of the Late Ya-Na, set off on the premise of politics, in both trials, first, during the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime and secondly in the era of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Factually if these two power houses in Ghanaian politics do not take a bow out of this complex case, it will suffer as it has previously and at present. In the murder trials, beginning with the previous administration to the incumbent, fences have been built so high that both the Abudus’ and Andanis’ cannot see each other. Bridges built between the two royal gates since 1969 to date is so fragile, creating fear among those who wish to use it to access the other side of the gate at Dagbon. A lot of toes have been seriously fractured making it difficult to heal. As a country that prides herself as the icon of democracy in the sub-region and Africa, Ghana cannot afford to consign this hideous crime among the world unresolved headaches.

In both trials the prosecutions were unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt to warrant a gaol term for the accused persons. Hence, the failure to achieve the long awaited desire to apprehend the perpetrators of the death of bestride of Dagbon, raises a lot of concern of a common cold of psychological problem. The frantic efforts being made by the current administration to fetch the killers has or is hitting a blank wall. All lights at the tunnel which emits hope to continue our search for these enemies of national cohesion seem to be losing their fuel gradually, thereby leaving us with nothing but stock and stones. Again, let a dispassionate mind read between the lines that are about to unfold. The prosecutor built the case from the Wuaku Commission Report which sat during the previous NPP regime. The Wuaku Commission Report has never received any respite in many quarters especially among the political elites of our dear nation. When the incumbent was in opposition the commission’s report had a baptism of fire for been lopsided. Therefore, it was spited. Whether by accident or design, the Prosecutor decided to use this rather alleged disputed document to prepare and build a case. It was surely going to crumble and it has indeed. Adding, the Prosecutor turned to disagree with portions of the Wuaku Commission Report which he used in the recent case. This clearly defeated the thought and direction of the argument, hence, giving room for doubt and inconsistency. Historiography in history forbids the use of documents that has elements of doubts hanging around them. It affords the dais for dispute of materials that emanate from such sources. Hence, the Wuaku Commission’s Report should not have been used, as either a supporting or at worse the main document in the recent trial.

In addition, the witnesses invited to testify in the case were not different from those who appeared before the court which heard the first trial. The question remains, what were these witnesses going to say that would have helped determined the case otherwise as compared to the earlier? It is a held belief that Judges make laws. This is through the act of precedence, which involves the reference to a previous case that is relative to a present one which might be before a sitting Judge. Lawyers also refer to such cases to buttress their arguments in court. Then if per precedence, the trial Judge in this instance should refer to the previous statements by the prosecution witnesses and finds nothing distinct or different; it will be a repetition of the past which will receive same judgment at best. Furthermore, the prosecution witnesses provided were themselves part of that ugly spectacle of a history the country is still pricking herself to come to terms with. How then can such witnesses presented be considered as credible. By objective inference, would the Defense Lawyers also be expected to invite witnesses to testify of what the prosecution witnesses perpetrated during the bizarre incident? Besides, it was held that, what happened was a war. A war indeed.

Nonetheless, why should the Prosecution close his case before requesting to tender in a suppose tape or recording? In our quest to bring ashore the killers of this prominent King of Dagbon, we should try as march as possible not to resort to punishing hitherto innocent citizens, with just any evidence which are highly inadmissible to pacify the offended. The nation grieves over the death of such a personality, but care should also be taken not to sacrifice the animal not meant to purify the society on the holy altar where our salvation is to be proclaimed. Abraham Lincoln, a former American President said, “Do not interfere with anything in the constitution that must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties” The by-all-means–it-must-be-these-people-attitude growing should be done away with.

Politicians should desist from the trade of always riding on thorny issues and playing on emotions to attain power. Forthrightly and downrightly it is not, in my candid opinion, prudent for the current regime to have made the search for the killers of the King of Dagbon a campaign promise, let alone allow it to reflect in their manifesto. For the reason that, as government it has the onus to deal with cases of this nature, irrespective of when it was initiated and the outcome. But when cases of this nature and stature are given political colouration, then we should be rest assured the country would be chasing wild wind. For a moment I have been wondering why my dearest Ghana has opted to dwell in the town of politics, and chosen to live on of all the streets, the particular street called ”Everything is politics” Politics is about ideologies, hence, it is divisive. How can property owning and socialist democracy tenets flock together? Let’s do the best we can as a nation to keep our steps from the coloured path of politics. For without politics waving its ugly and divisive tendencies among us, we are capable of dealing with any situation that will come our way as a nation.

Plato said “Only the dead has seen the end of war”. This goes to emphasis the point; the two royal gates should shut their doors at the politicians who have over the years used them as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. The kind plea I am offering is the country and the current administration should not make the mistake of finding just anybody who possibly fits a killer to pacify the sobbing victims of the kingdom of Dagbon and the nation. In an attempt to unravel this mystery and honouring a campaign promise, innocent souls should not be toyed with. Remember the maximum sentence is death. We are all aware that elections are at the turn of 2012, and heat is gathering on the promissory. As we take a long march towards the finding and punishing of these social wreckers, may care be our guide, decent search be the modus and discipline to lay down investigative principles steer this quest of ours. Therefore, rumours that are chronicled in gold and are screamed on top of buildings of sacredness by holy men cannot be considered as facts. In any future trial, the Prosecution should try as much to carefully select facts which are supported with strong evidences, from speculations, rumours and manufactured statements, which would not help the case in the direction so desire. We should not lose the fact that, Judges have discretion and modesty to determine cases. Let us not feed pre-conceived notions with forced facts.

Till the country identifies and apprehend those who spilled the blue blood of Dagbon, may the spirit and soul of the Ya-Na and those whose murder still remains a mystery, live forever.

Patrick Twumasi (0209045931) patricktwumasi@yahoo.com