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Regional News of Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Initiative to resolve Dabgon chieftaincy dispute launched

The “Dagbon Peace and Progress Now” initiative to rekindle efforts towards ensuring lasting peace and progress in the Dagbon Traditional Area has been launched, with a call on all stakeholders to help resolve the 15-year-old Dagbon chieftaincy dispute.

The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Sa-eed, and the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, jointly launched the initiative at a durbar held at the Jubilee Park in Tamale yesterday.

The ceremony was attended by chiefs, religious leaders, some prominent citizens and youth groups of Dagbon, former Northern Regional ministers and government appointees, representatives from both the National and Regional Peace councils to kick-start the process to bring to finality the chieftaincy dispute between the Andanis and the Abudus, the two Royal Gates of Dagbon.

Fragile peace

Dagbon has witnessed fragile peace since Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and more than 40 of his subjects were killed on March 27, 2002 in a fratricidal conflict between the Andani and Abudu royal families of Dagbon.

The killings sent shock waves not only across the country but also the world, and then President John Agyekum Kufuor set up a Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mr Justice I.N.K. Wuaku, to investigate the disturbances, identify the perpetrators and make appropriate recommendations.

One of the recommendations the commission made was that the government institute measures to reconcile the two royal gates of Dagbon.
Although 15 suspects were arrested and put before a Fast Track High Court in Accra, following recommendations by the commission, they were acquitted and discharged.

Later, the government, in a move to ensure sustainable peace in Dagbon, established the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, chaired by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to initiate talks with the feuding parties but all efforts had since proved futile.

Cooperation

At the launch of the Tamale peace initiative, the Northern Regional Minister ­stated that the initiative was to generate renewed support and cooperation from all stakeholders and partners who were concerned about the progress and development of Dagbon.

“In all these, it is our firm belief that peace in Dagbon will bring about absolute peace in the whole of the Northern Region and ultimately Ghana. It will also be the launching pad for the pursuit of vigorous progress and development of the north in general and the country at large,” he stated.

Mr Sa-eed, therefore, called for the total support of all stakeholders, irrespective of their beliefs, conviction or sides, to come on board, since the absence of peace was not beneficial to any person or group.

Acknowledgement

The Northern Regional Minister also used the occasion to acknowledge the efforts by previous governments towards the resolution of Dagbon issues, adding that “there is no doubt that we are building the current peace process on those previous efforts and the successes chalked up.”

For his part, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, called on the youth to support the process to help bring lasting peace to Dagbon, adding that the government was ready to support all efforts by the revered chiefs to resolve the Dagbon chieftaincy matters to pave way for peace for the accelerated development of the area.

Non-partisan committee

A former Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, for his part, called for a non-partisan committee, apart from the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC), as part of the collective effort to resolve the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute and also said that no political party should hurry to claim victory in the resolution of the matter.

He stated that the existing road map for the resolution of the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis must be followed and added that “the legacy must be that we must get Dagbon together.”

The Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Alhaji Razak Saani, and a representative of the Chairman of the Northern Regional Peace Council, the Metropolitan ArchBishop of Tamale, the Most Reverend Philip Naameh, both stressed the need for peace in Dagbon to help speed up the development of the area.

Views from the people

Some of the people present at the ceremony applauded the organisers for the effort and expressed the hope that the renewed efforts would bring lasting peace to Dagbon since the current state of affairs was retarding progress and development in the area.