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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Alhaji Stephen Atubiga To Save Bawku/Binduri Soon As MP

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Perhaps the most sort after answer in Bawku politics today is the answer to this major question? Will you run for MP in the Bawku area in the next elections and if so, will it be for the Bawku or Binduri seat?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: Yes I will be running for MP position in the Bawku area. I am however not settled on the Bawku or Binduri Seat as at now. Together with my team of experts who are actually on the ground in Ghana now, studying the prospects, a determination will be made shortly on which seat will offer the best opportunity to positively effect change in the lives of the Kusasi people and their neighbors at large.
Interviewer: You are a revered and notable cultural personality within the Ghanaian community, not to mention your accomplishments operating a successful shipping, real estate and other businesses here in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. Why the burning desire to run for political position in the Bawku area?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: First of all, unlike most previous representatives in the area, I am a true son of Kusassi, circumcised by a Kusassi for those who understand the significance of that statement. After more than 50 years of Independence, the kusassi kingdom is still not free. Kusasis have been taken advantage of.
Kusasis need someone who shares their values, and will put his life on the line for their freedom and not play politics with the situation. Peace and tranquility is the bedrock for any meaningful development, be it political, economic or social. I am committed to a more meaningful and practical approach to the resolution of the age long conflict between the Mamprusis and the Kusasis which has claimed the lives of many innocent people.
My background and life experience living in different sectors from the northern region through Yendi, Wa, Bawku all the way to remote parts of the upper regions, and speaking practically all the languages in the area, have granted me tremendous insight into the issues of the people, especially the Kusasi /Mamprusi situation. The Bawku area is currently blessed with a hardworking and peace loving Regional Minister Mark Wayongo and an equally versatile DCE Musa Abdulai. These are people I can work with. I have a better plan for peace.
Interviewer: Could you throw more light on what you mean by “The Kusassi people have been taken advantage of.”
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: I have witnessed the devastating effects of the conflict over the years with peace initiatives often played to the disadvantage of the Kusasi people with the Busia, Akuffu-Addo (Senior) and until recently the Kuffuor regimes being the notable culprits. I have seen how kusasi women have forcefully been taken away not only from their husbands but from parents to become wives for the Manprusis in Bawku. Kusasi men have been made slaves to work on farms.
Kusasis have been denied fair access to schools and treatment in hospitals. Many Kusasis have experienced some form of harassment trying to trade in Bawku. I can personally testify to a situation a few years ago, under the unpopular tax system “Lampoo”, when my chicken given to me by my grandparents was confiscated by the Mamprusi authorities at the time, as punishment because I did not provide “adequate documentation”. I have seen our house burnt to the ground down out of hate, vandalized and looted by Mamprusis in Bawku. I have seen good sons of kusasis killed and tortured with bodies lying all over the place in the name of self-rule. I could write a book on the atrocities.
Interviewer: Alhaji, Historically there have been several attempts by almost every administration to mediate, control, suppress or even put the conflict to rest. But the resurgence of the violence and unrest in one degree or the other is indicative that peace is yet to be realized? How would you characterize the initiatives of previous regimes in the resolution of this conflict?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: First of all, let me reflect a bit on history. The Kusasis demographically the majority, are the historic and traditional owners and settlers in the area. The Mamprusis who form a minority, migrated from Burkina Faso and settled in the area, but grew to exert influence during later years. This development has often lent itself to constant power struggle and conflicts. Nkrumah’s CPP regime supported self-rule with minimal government interference in chieftaincy and traditional affairs in most ethnic areas in Ghana.
The CPP recognized the significance of Kusassi traditional ownership of the area and helped to set the stage as such. With the continued struggle for power and influence in the area, some Mamprusis have often been successful at creating unrest to draw attention to their course. Unfortunately the Busia/Akuffu-Addo (Senior) regime and recently the NPP regimes and their representatives have played into the hands of the Mamprusis. The results have been bloodshed, insecurity, unrest and devastation to especially the Kusasis. This is why I am asking all my northerners to reject Nana Akofo Addo and the NPP.
If we give them a chance, the whole of the northern Region will never see peace. NPP will not only use us and reject us. It is obvious that the NPP will make sure the whole region is in flames. That is the politics they have always pursued. NDC stands a better chance of cleaning up the mess. Honorable Ndebugri under PNDC and PNC, Honorable Avoka, Atubiga and others have been credited with efforts to advance peace by restoring control to the Kusasis, but lasting peace and tranquility is yet to be achieved.
Interviewer: From what you are saying it appears NPP politics has not helped peace and development in the entire northern to upper regions. Is that the case?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: Absolutely. Go to Wa, they have not had a chief for more than 10 yrs now. Why and how? All masterminded by the NPP in Tamale under Alhaji Aliu Mahama (former Vice president) and President Kuffuor. There is every indication the NPP masterminded the beheading of our noble king. It is pathetic, or for lack of better words hypocritic, for Aliu to be hiding in Brong Ahafo rather than Tamale, shedding crocodile tears at the loss of the Chief asking the people to hand over the killers. One would have expected him to have done that whilst in office.
He was preoccupied with looting and grabbing all contracts in Ghana for himself during his 8 year tenure of office as Vice president. Unlike Aliu, leaders like Hon. Mustafah Ali, Hon. Boniface Sadick are notable young leaders that have been most helpful to the people in the north. Sadick gave employment to a whole lot of northerners. A whole party chairman was killed under the NPP? This is not acceptable. The NPP jailed one of the best leaders Ibrahim Adams. This is a man who will shear his last bread with any northerner. Alhaji Aliu Mahama and the NPP jailed him simply because he was presidential material to NDC.
Not finding any faults with Chanbass they encouraged him to leave the country. In 2008, Some group of Mamprusis trained in Yemen killed women and children. These murderers slit throats, cut genital organs, mutilated bodies and killed innocent Kusasis guerilla warfare execution style. The perpetuators’ who confessed to these crimes were granted amnesty by kuffuor before leaving office. The list could go on forever. How much more insensitive to the plight of a people could you be?
Interviewer: Are you suggesting that the NDC is handling issues in the area better?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: Without a doubt, even though a lot remains to be done. The advent of the young, brilliant and charismatic John Mahama, the current Vice President to the political scene, promises to effect positive change in the area. The NPP party is famous for “pull him down” type of politics. They are already doing what they do best, working hard to tarnish Johns reputation. Aliu and the NPP in the whole northern region should be grateful John is taking us out of the shame the NPP put us through in the eyes of the entire country.
His assumption to the position and his performance so far is reassurance that northerners can lead Ghana when given the chance. Atta Mills and John Mahama are indeed a blessing from Allah to Ghana. Mahami Salifu, the former Director and controller of Accounts General Department opened doors in the accounting sector and made it possible for most northerners to obtain jobs in that sector. But likewise, the NPP worked hard to wreck his reputation. This is why I believe that any kusasi who joins or votes for the NPP or any of their representatives is not a true kusasi and does not have our interest at heart. Today, Tamale is blessed with the best regional minister Tamale has ever had, Hon. Moses Bukari Magbenba.
Interviewer: Even though the NDC appear to have a grip of the tensions, the fact that; currently there is curfew, people cannot ride their motor cycles (a basic means of transportation), and government troops are in operation in Bawku is enough indication that real peace is yet to be realized. We know you are a strong advocate for NDC policies, appearing on highlife radio on Saturdays. Should you be elected as MP in the area, what different peaceful initiative would you advocate?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: I have a plan and know what it will take to bring lasting peace to Bawku. My plan will emphasize a nonpolitical, nonviolence approach and will focus more on dialog, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Peace has to start from the grassroots to the top. People that have lost fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, sisters, wives, and properties, have to accept peace first for anything to work. It is often said that the menace of a ragging tooth is eliminated by extraction. If pain is not healed from the source, we will never see peace in Bawku. Some of the Mamprusis in Bawku get recognition, and make a living through the wars. For others, that is a way of drawing the government’s attention to their issues.
All this will end under my plan. I will not rest until peace prevails in Bawku when I am in parliament. It is sad that very few ordinary Mamprusi and Kusasi people can sit and talk about peace or feel comfortable with the word. My position as MP will grant me the opportunity to put pressure on any government in Ghana to issue the white paper ruling in Bawku. In another article I will be talking about what the current MPs are not doing, to end the curfew and lift the ban on riding motor cycles. In as much as I commend the NDC government for their efforts as compared to their predecessors, the curfew, military harassment of civilians and the ban on riding motor cycles is only a measure to control or subdue the crisis. This is unacceptable. There is a better path to achieving lasting peace.
Interviewer: It is obvious from this conversation that you strongly applaud the efforts of the NDC even though a lot remains to be seen in achieving lasting peace in the area however, if you had to say anything now , what would you say the NDC administration?
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: I would like to pose a challenge to the NDC to present the conflict in the area as a national issue or crisis for it to receive maximum attention nationally. President Atta Mills in his annual presentations has not placed the Bawku conflict in that category. His pronouncements have often centered on sympathies for Amobilla and Yaa Naa and the like. It is one of the items on my menu for a peace plan in the area, the details of which I will unfold in subsequent articles and press conferences prior to elections.
Interviewer: Moving forward, what would you say to the people in the Bawku area.
Alhaji Steven Atubiga: I am pleading with the good people of Bawku to exercise restraint, to stop the fighting and killing. No one wins in any war considering the destruction to life and property and the hindrance to development regardless of the proportion of loss on either side. Take your grievance to the ballot box. Vote for candidates who care for your values.
Source: Janney, Edwin

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