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Crisis Looming – Andani family rejects peace deal

Andani Family

The family of the late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani has angrily rejected the final decision by the Asantehene led Committee of Eminent Kings, mediating the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis, to allow the Abudu royal family to occupy the old Gbewaa Palace at Yendi for the performance of the funeral rites of Naa Mahamadu Abdulai.

The three Kings, after 16-years of turbulent peace talks at the Manhyia Palace, since the murder of late Yaa Ana Yakubu Andani II and a dozen others in 2002, resolved on Friday, November 16, 2018, to grant a separate access to both Abudu and Andani royal families into the Gbewaa palace to perform the funerals of the two late chiefs, in line with a roadmap to peace document which implementation has suffered multiple disputes from the feuding factions.

The Committee announced that the Abudu royals would now perform the funeral of the late Yaa Naa Mahamadu Abdulai, starting from 14-28 December 2018. The Abudus would then evacuate from the palace for the Andanis to also occupy for another 14-day period, beginning from January 4-18, 2019, for the funeral of the late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II.

The decision announced by the Committee chairman, Asanatehene Otumfuo Osei Tutut II, also directed for the rehabilitation works at the Gbewaa Palace to resume.

Friday’s decision was arrived at in the presence of representatives of the Abudus and Andanis.

Though, some chiefs from the Andani family, like the Nyankpalana, Tonlana and Kpatiilana, reportedly raised objections against the decision, but Asantehene, the Yagbonwura and Mamprugurana refused to back down on the decision.

However, in a sign of renewed resistance, the immediate family of the late Yaa Yakubu Andani II has organised a news conference in Tamale, rejecting the decision of the Committee after accusing members of the committee of “inconsistency or hypocrisy” on this matter in connivance with government to fulfil its promise to reward the Abudu royal family.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we would like to reiterate very forcefully that we, the Andani Family, shall under no circumstance allow for the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai to be performed at the Gbewaa Palace”, the Family declared Monday, at the explosive press conference addressed by its spokesman, Basharu Dabali.

“The authorities of today may opt to apply the full force of state power, as they have done repeatedly in the past whenever they are in government, but we are sending a clear signal that there are several ways that this can be challenged,” he cautioned.

The family said the late Mahammadu Abdulai died as a private person and must be buried at a private location, more so, it added, his funeral could not be permitted at the Gbewaa Palace when government had not arrested and prosecuted the 2002 Dagbon Palace Massacre.

The family described the final decision by the committee as nothing new but an “exact replica of what had earlier been rolled out by top appointees of the NPP government, including the Minister of National Security, Hon. Kan Dapaah, and the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed”.

The family said government had already planned through the National Security Minister to perform the two funerals at the Gbewaa Palace which would be followed by the imposition of the Savelugu Chief as new Yaa Naa.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, we would like you to join us in reminding the Committee of Eminent Chiefs that it had, in two separate decisions, maintained that the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai would only be performed at the place where he died and not at the Gbewaa Palace. You would recall that this decision by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs was what led representatives of the Mahamadu Abdulai faction to announce a boycott of the mediation process”

Basharu continued: “We are, therefore, outraged at this sudden U-turn by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs. The question we would like to pose is: what has changed? Such shameful lack of principle and gross moral corruption are shocking. The Committee of Eminent Chiefs has been informed repeatedly that one of the principal customary requirements in the performance of the funeral of a Yaa Naa, is the presence of the full complement of chiefs representing some specific skins. They are: Kug’ Naa, Gushie Naa, Yelzoli Naa, Tolon Naa, Kumbungu Naa, Gulpke Naa and Kpatii Naa”

“The Committee of Eminent Chiefs are also fully aware that with the exception of the Kug’ Naa, Kumbungu Naa, and Gulpke Naa, all the other skins are currently being occupied by regents. And regents are customarily barred from performing the roles of substantive chiefs during the funeral of a Yaa Naa.

“Indeed, on the two earlier occasions, when the committee decided that the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai should be performed at the place he died, the Committee also asked for the processes to be started to have substantive chiefs installed in all these skins occupied by regents. Once again, we ask, what has changed? How on earth will the Asantehene, the Nayiri and the Yagbonwura suddenly become so inconsistent in their conduct,” the family queried.

They ended by once again denouncing the decision of the Eminent Kings, describing their conducts as a betrayal to their colleague, the late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II and promoting a culture of impunity. They further warned government not to underestimate resistance by attempting to use security forces to intimidate them and asked Ghanaians to hold the committee responsible for any negative ramifications of their decision.

“It is the wish of these criminals (referring to the alleged murderers of the late Dagbon overlord) that the Asantehene, the Nayiri and the Yagbonwura have finally come around to grant. In doing so they have not only betrayed their former colleague Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II but also promoting a culture of impunity, and sending a clear signal that crimes pay. A precedent is being actively set.”

“No one should underestimate our resolve. The Asantehene, the Nayiri and the Yagbonwura still have time to reflect very seriously over the possible ramifications of this their latest program. They are setting the stage for the next crisis, by pouring petrol on an already volatile situation. No one can predict the nature and scope of the next crisis. All that we can say is that, the Asantehene, the Nayiri and Yagbonwura will be held fully responsible for the consequences.”

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