Conflict and Security analyst, Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd), has revealed that the enskinment of the new Bawku Naba in the Upper East region should have been pre-empted by government.
According to him, government is predisposed with the necessary resources to ascertain the intention of the Mamprusis to enskin a new Naba. He indicated that the Bawku conflict has a longstanding history and there has been a dicey situation when it comes to representation under former President Kufuor and the incumbent President Akufo-Addo, all of which seemed not to have worked.
Col Aboagye (Rtd) further questioned why the matter of enskinment is surfacing considering the timing which is quite critical and puts into context the “empirical evidence that the Kusasis are pro-NDC [and] Mamprusis are pro-NPP”. In some context, the conflict, he highlighted, has some “political undertones” due to its antecedent background.
Reacting to a statement issued by government which condemned the purported enskinment of a new Bawku Naba in Nalerigu, in the Upper East region, by describing it as illegal and a threat to National Security threat, Col Aboagye (Rtd) questioned whether government did enough to foil the event.
“Do you go to any palace in this country on the day that an enstoolment or enskinment is supposed to take place in order to prevent it? I stand to think that the government had intelligence that this enskinment was going to take place and should have pre-empted it, not on the day yesterday, but well before that. Yesterday was too late and now we are confronted with a situation of pouring more fuel into the flame in Bawku.”Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd)
Describing the press statement by government as belated, Col Aboagye (Rtd) explained that to stop the new Bawku Naba, Alhaji Seidu Abagri, from parading himself in public as the Bawku Naba is going to be a daunting task for government. He stated that it will be more difficult if the government has used all the avenues at its disposal to try and stop the enskinment in the first place.
In light of this, Col Aboagye (Rtd) revealed that laxity on the part of government is as a result of “intelligence failure”. Justifying his stance, he indicated that the princes, royals and general public who had assembled at Nalerigu were invited and this information should have trickled down to government as there were “conversations” about the event which took place yesterday.
“If the government did not have its ears on the ground, that is an intelligence failure. You could also use conspiracy theory to suggest that the government just pretended that it was doing something without necessarily being committed to that. It cannot be that the state of Ghana didn’t know that this enskinment [was happening], especially when you couple that with the status of the conflict involved. So, that was not enough.”Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd)
Implications of enskinment of new Bawku Naba in resolving conflict
Furthermore, Col Aboagye (Rtd) expressed surprise how government is going in swiftly and in accordance with the law to reverse this situation, noting that it is going to be very difficult.
“We should expect more violence because the Mamprusi youth are bent on ensuring that this newly enskinned Naba stays on the Skin. I imagine the day he arrives in Bawku, this conflict is going to get messier.”Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd)
The security and conflict analyst highlighted that the tensions in Bawku have already been exacerbated following the enskinment of the Bawku Naba because now the battle lines are drawn. He indicated that the Mamprusis have avowed that they are going to retake the skin which since 1984, has been occupied in their “eyes wrongfully or unfairly” by the Kusasis. On the other hand, he revealed that the Kusasis are looking at all that is happening and are likely to declare government complicit in the happenings.
“The decisive battle will occur when this newly enskinned Bawku Naba returns or arrives in Bawku. That is going to be a scenario that I think we should not contemplate. Of course we know that Bawku is under curfew and that into the foreseeable future, it is not going to be possible for him to enter with this retinue of or entourage to do another celebration in Bawku.
“Obviously, [chaos will ensue] because the youth who were present at the enskinment are youth who are dedicated to their cultural values and in fact, in a classical sense, this is a protected social conflict…”Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd)