Analysis: Is Dagbon now waking up? – Asks Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

Folks, any mention of Dagbon in any conversation evokes many sentiments, the most prominent one being the Yendi Massacre of March 27, 2002 whose causes and effects are still difficult to comprehend, let alone tackle to ensure a lasting peace in the area.

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We are already aware of the flurry of heated verbal exchanges, finger-pointing, blaming and counter-blaming by the Andanis and Abudus on the one hand, and rival politicians, on the other hand, as well as provocative utterances from diverse quarters.

The upshot of it all is that Dagbon hasn’t known peace for many years now nor has it regained the status that the Yendi Massacre shattered.

We know how difficult it has been to bring the main parties (Andanis and Abudus) together to smoke the peace pipe and work together to rebuild Dagbon. It has been difficult for the people of Dagbon to look forward beyond the enmity that the Yendi Massacre engendered.

Thank Goodness, something encouraging is emerging from Dagbon. The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation has reported that the “Chiefs of Dagbon have agreed to celebrate this year’s Damba Festival at the Gbewaa Palace in Yendi.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a Regional Security Council meeting with prominent Chiefs of the area in Tamale, interested persons and groups agreed to celebrate the festival peacefully.


I am more than delighted at this positive turn of events, coming just a few days after former President Rawlings’ utterances at Bawku redirected public attention toward the Yendi Massacre.

It is encouraging that the chiefs of Dagbon are working together to rebuild tattered relationships. I expect them to commit themselves to the peace process and ensure that peace and good neighbourliness return to Dagbon.

After all, nobody but they themselves “own” Dagbon. All politicians weeping more than they (the bereaved) are doing should be carefully watched and placed where they belong so they don’t knock their heads against each other for political leverage.

It is undeniable that the more the tension soars in Dagbon, the less likely it will be that any development can take place there. Dagbon needs more than the tension that has torn it apart all these years.

I encourage the chiefs and people of Dagbon to use this interaction at the meeting to forge ahead in unity and trust.

Of course, only they know what their tradition allows. They should understand that they need each other for survival. In fact, as members of the same lineage, both the Andanis and Abudus cannot do without each other unless they are interested in weakening their ranks for outsiders to take advantage of. If that happens, how will their lineage fare?

The future beckons, and it is important that the elders work together for the benefit of Dagbon. If they are able to celebrate the Damba festival as intended—and at the Gbewaa Palace too—they will be shaming their detractors (and I have in mind the wicked, shameless politicians fanning the fire of confusion there).

Thereafter, they should find amicable solutions to whatever the problems militating against their concerted efforts are and move forward. If they have to hold funeral ceremonies for all the departed chiefs to pave the way for the installation of a Ya-Na to superintend over their affairs, that is what they have to do.

The dead are gone and it is up to the living to do what they have to do before they die too and to ensure that they leave behind them a legacy that can be built on, not repudiated.

Over to you, the chiefs and people of Dagbon. Prove your detractors wrong!! Dagbon demands peace! Dagbon deserves better!!

I shall return…