Dagbon matters: Otumfuo Mediation Committee finalizes road-map to peace

The Asantehene-led Mediation Committee handling the Dagbon chieftaincy stalemate, today, Friday, November 16, 2018, finalized its road-map to the restoration of peace in Dagbon.
The three eminent Kings have resolved that the Abudu Royals should perform the funeral of the late Yaa-Naa, Mahamudu Abdulai, beginning December 14-28, 2018.
This will be followed by the funeral of the late Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II from January 4 to 18, 2019.
The two funerals are to be performed in the old Gbewaa Palace in Yendi.
Rehabilitation of the Old Gbewaa Palace is to begin with immediate effect
The Mediation Committee is to meet President Nana Akufo Addo at the Jubilee House on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
The Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Sae-ed, on Thursday November 15, led chiefs from both sides of the chieftaincy divide in Dagbon to the final meeting at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
The latest decision is in line with the current government’s resolve to permanently resolve the age-long Dagbon chieftaincy impasse.
Similar attempts in the past hit a snag leading to boycotts of sittings at the Manhyia Palace.
Previous boycott by Abudu Royals
The Abudu Royals’ representatives at the Manhyia Palace on Friday January 28, 2016, petitioned the Asantehene-led Mediation Committee, and reaffirmed their boycott of proceedings there.
They refused to honour subsequent invitations by the committee for fresh talks on the implementation of the final phase of the road-map to peace in Dagbon.
In a petition, they accused the Mediation Committee of open bias, saying, “We have served notice to the Committee of Eminent Chiefs (CEC) on their inability to avail themselves for the committee’s sittings for lack of consistency until certain decisions of the body are implemented.”
They further chronicled the following in that petition. “We have noticed, regrettably that the committee has abandoned their own Road-map to the peace document, and now operate under the sole direction of a so-called ‘Kuga-Naa’ who is, with the support of the Andani Family, usurping the powers of the Gushei-Naa.”
“The committee has failed to give true meaning to clause ‘i’ of their Road-map to peace document which states that: ‘’…the old Gbewaa Palace should remain free of occupation or any activity until a date is set for the performance of the funeral rites of Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV.’’
“The intent of the committee, expressed in the Final Peace Agreement, that: ‘’…we therefore conclude that the funeral should take place at the Gbewaa Palace…’’ has not come to fruition. This clause was made in reference to Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV.”
“A visit by Mr. Owusu Boateng, Ashantehene’s Secretary, to the Bolin-Lana Palace with a contractor who was introduced as the one engaged by the committee to rehabilitate the old Gbewaa Palace has not yielded any results.”
“Their most recent promise on December 5, 2015 that ‘’the Abudus…will take occupation of the Gbewaa palace to perform the final funeral rites of Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV between January 8 and 15, 2016’’ has not been fulfilled.”
“We have also noted, with regrets, that the committee has failed to follow the letter and spirit of clause ‘10’ of a ‘Reconciliation Agreement’ reached by the two feuding royal families in 1987 which states that: ‘’on the death of Ex Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai, he should be accorded the full funeral rites of a Yaa-Naa in the light of the Supreme Court ruling of 17th December, 1986’’.
“Given these reasons amongst other things, the family has been compelled to temporally suspend appearance before the Committee pending commencement of rehabilitation works at the old Gbewaa Palace as contemplated in the above submissions.”
“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the Committee has preponderance of evidence before it to take the giant step of rehabilitating the old Gbewaa Palace for the funerals to take place there. There is absolutely nothing to negotiate about as far as this already settled matter is concerned.”
They nonetheless reiterated the urgent need for renovation of the old Gbewaa palace in Yendi, ceremonial ground for the final funeral rites of the late two Dagbon overlords.
Peace Talks resumption agreement
The representatives of the two Royals in Dagbon, on Tuesday September 5, 2017, agreed to resume peace talks at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
Government’s Inter-Ministerial Committee set up to permanently solve the problem succeeded in convincing them to return to the negotiation table.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee is made up of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, and the National Security Ministry.
The Northern Regional Minister, who doubles as Chairman of the Regional Security Council, Salifu Saeed, is the lead advocate.
President Nana Addo’s golden dream about Dagbon
It was President Nana Akufo Addo’s wish that Dagbon should have a substantive Yaa-Naa before the 2017 Damba Festival in December.
He promised to make available the necessary resources to enable the Otumfuo Mediation Committee bring to finality the chieftaincy stalemate in Dagbon which intensified following the demise of the late Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II on March 27, 2002.
The President, who is passionate about Dagbon’s genuine reconciliation and unity is convinced that Dagbon deserves a new Yaa-Naa.
The Dagbon chieftaincy stalemate prominently features in the President’s speech whenever he is addressing the chiefs and people of the Northern Region.
Andani Royals’ strong resistance
The Andani Royals have relentlessly resisted any attempt to perform the funeral of the late Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV in the old Gbewaa Palace in Yendi.
They have always argued that, the late Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV, died as a private person in life, hence their opposition to calls for his funeral to be performed like that of a Yaa-Naa.
Late Yaa-Naa’s children demonstrate in Tamale
The children of the late overlord of Dagbon, Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II on Friday, April 3, 2015, demonstrated on the streets of Tamale and reiterated their incessant calls for justice.
In solidarity, the late Dagbon Overlord’s widows and sympathizers participated in the peaceful demonstration.
They presented a petition to then Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, for onward submission to then President John Dramani Mahama.
The petition was headlined, “Petition on the matter concerning the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II, and towards the restoration of the stability and integrity of the traditional authority in Dagbon.”
The family’s Spokesperson, a son of the late Dagbon Overlord, Abdulai Yakubu Andani who read the petition accused government, saying, “The government of the day embarked on a deliberate attempt at whitewashing this monumental crime with the setting up of the Wuaku Commission. In the process of manipulating investigations, the Commission preferred charges which do not exist in our statute books on some two individuals thereby ensuring that they would be discharged by the law courts and this was exactly what happened.”
“When in 2010 the government of the NDC almost belatedly responded to honor its manifesto promise, some hasty arrests of some suspects were made, who were hurriedly arraigned. The lack of professional commitment and the subsequent prosecution was clearly discernible,” he added.
Abdulai Yakubu further said their late father’s death is still fresh in their minds, not motivated by vengeance, but the need to deliver justice which according to him, is a prerequisite for ensuring peace.
“This is why we reiterate the demand that those who were responsible for the murder which was committed on March 27, 220, are made to answer for their crimes.”
Retired Major Sulemana’s doubt about the Otumfuo Committee’s locus
The Regent of Tolon, Retired Major, Sulemana Abubakari in 2015, questioned the locus of the three eminent chiefs committee headed by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, whose task is to amicably resolve the protracted Dagbon chieftaincy dispute.
He was convinced the Otumfuo Mediation Committee was cosmetic on the face value in its attempt to permanently resolve the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute.
As a member of the Abudus Representatives at the Manhyia Palace, he took this position at his palace in Tolon on the occasion of the 2015 Damba festival.
He underscored the need for the Abudu and Andani royals to trace their history to help them address the root cause of the disputes.
According to Major (Rtd.) Sulemana Abubakari, either the overlord of Mamprugu Traditional Area or the overlord of Nanung Traditional should be made to head the committee to solve the feud.

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