Stop “Firefighting” And Adopt A Strategic Approach To Addressing The Bimbilla Chieftancy Dispute
First and foremost it is important to begin by condemning the murder of Mr. Andani Dasana. Such murderous acts are alien to Nanung and must not be allowed to go unpunished. Every well-meaning Nanung and for that matter Ghanaian must condemn this act and the perpetrators brought to book.
However, the tendency has been for governments to react on impulse rather than take a strategic approach to addressing the problem. It is instructive to mention that the chieftancy dispute in Bimbilla is beginning to mirror the Dagbon dispute partly because one of the contesting parties to the Bimbilla Chieftancy dispute is called Andani. So there has been a strong show of support from the Andani family from Dagbon in the Bimbilla chieftancy dispute. It is worth stating that the Bimbilla chieftancy dispute is not between two gates but a disagreement within one gate. So all well-meaning Ghanaians must work to ensure that the Dagbon Chieftancy dispute does not spill into the Bimbilla area.
In Addressing the Chieftancy dispute, a strategic and holistic approach that involves all the stakeholders must be adopted. A number of issues are worth critical reflections:
• Keep politics out of this chieftancy dispute. We have seen the results of the perceived alliance of the two gates of Dagbon to the 2 main political parties in Ghana. In the Bimbilla case the strong use of the military in the burial of Mr. Andani on Thursday, 26 June 2014 when the other contesting chief, Na Salifu who died some months back and still in the mortury creates the perception that the NDC government has taken sides and may not in the near future be seen by some as a neutral broker of peace in the Bimbilla area. What Nanung needs is a fair and transparent process for addressing the Chieftancy dispute in Bimbilla.
• Early burial of Na Salifu after the Burial of Mr Andani can help allay the fears of other stakeholders in the Bimbilla case who at the moment feel ignored, threatened and silenced due the heavy presence and high handed nature of the security agencies in the area towards sympathizers of the late Na Salifu. The perception is that the high handed nature of the security personnel in Bimbilla is targeted at one side (Na Salifu’s sympathizers).
• The arrests in Bimbilla and Tamale are currently skewed towards persons from the Bang Yili gate or those perceived to be sympathizers of Na Salifu. Stop the reprisal attacks on persons perceived to be sympathetic to Na Salifu. There are reports of a house of one of the suspects being vandalized and some farms destroyed. It is worth reminding ourselves that persons that have been picked up by the security agencies are suspects until proven otherwise. I belief in accordance with the laws of Ghana, they are innocent until proven guilty. Hence their rights must be respected. If on the other hand these persons have been picked up for their own safety, then they should not be treated as criminals.
• Ignoring tradition in this quick fix solution of early burial of Mr Andani could set a bad precedence and affect the stability and kingship structure in Nanung. For instance, there is a role for the people of Dalanyili who are responsible for burying some Nanung Chiefs (Bimibilla Na, Nakpaa Na, Dokpam Na, etc.). If the people of Dalanyili were not involved then we need to reflect on the implications. Interestingly listening to the news on Joy FM on the burial one could hear in the background the sound of a beagle. I suppose it was a military burial? Was it a decision by the military to honor the late Mr Andani? Will the military bury Na Salifu also? Will chiefs from other areas be buried in the same manner?
• What are the implications on the pending case at the National House of Chiefs? Has the views of the Ministry of Chieftancy Affairs been sought on the matter? There is a key role for the Ministry of Chieftancy Affairs in this matter and their involvement in the aftermath of the murder should be sought in addressing the Bimbilla Chieftancy dispute.
• There needs to be a support system for the bereaved family. It is critical at this time