An Opinion Piece by a Concerned and a Proud Indigene of Wa on the Current Human Killings
I greet you all my dear kinsmen. I am alarmed at the current happenings in our homeland – Wa and I know and believe that we all do. Untill a little over a decade ago, we had gained respect from people of all walks of life and being touted as one of the most peaceful, discipline and hardworking people in the northern territory of Ghana. This indeed was to the envy of many. However, events as I see today are threatening to drag our good name into the mud.
We need to acknowledge the efforts of the self-styled vigilantes’ good move but wrong approach in helping the situation. They should have known that in such sensitive security matters it’s not about who owns a gun or who can shoot the best. I must say the move wasn’t the best because in such cases, to prove a point to the whole world that indeed one is a native and a ‘town boy,’ the concerned youth should have been able to do more under-cover works rather than choosing a Rambo-style of action which has allowed a lot of things to go unnoticed. Our inability to know whether a suspect is a mad man in town or not is appalling. Issues of such nature must not escape our vigilant eyes. This therefore means that we are gradually losing touch of our own environment as a people.
Our traditional authorities, religious leaders and the local government administration must up their game and curtail the situation if not the kind of youthful exuberance that we are seeing in my opinion spells nothing but doom on our security and wellbeing as people.
This insecurity started in Wa long ago, the sort of crime that goes on in the region far outweigh that of many of our regional capitals, but as natives we are not doing much to frontally confront the situation. If not, how can people including natives, no longer be able to move in certain areas of the Wa township? And the most annoying thing is that, you go to Wa, sit at a youth camp and raise the topic of insecurity. All you could hear is that they mention the names of these thieves and also shamefully add something like, ‘when the guys meet me in obscure places they only advise me not to be roaming around those areas.’ It is safer for those of us in Accra to roam at odd times than in our own homeland. This clearly tells you that there is a symbiotic relationship between the men of integrity, youth and the thieves.
In an environment like this one, what happens to those of us who are no longer well known in town? What about the numerous strangers who troop in and out for their businesses which are a major source of revenue and development for the town? What about the students, workers and tutors? As the saying goes, ‘coming events cast their own shadows.’ That is exactly what we are seeing in the current killings in Wa. Do we take a step back to ask ourselves why Wa of all places? The town is seen as a low hanging fruit to be plugged by any miscreant all due to our loud silence over the rot in town for decades over little differences – religion, politics, chieftaincy etc.
Let’s not narrow our minds to thinking that the traditional Wa such as Dondoli, Limanyiri, Jejedayiri, Kabanye, Jengbayiri, Douri, Nipayiri, Tuomuni, Bomiyiri and others define Wa today and so issues not affecting these areas are none of our business.
The fact that one does not go to the same Mosque with you doesn’t mean that you are enemies and can never have consensus on anything.
Were there any broader consultations by the Chief in the matter before hand as it used to be? Were the various sections (kabilas) villages, youth groups, summoned by the overlord as to the way forward in respect with progress, development, and the security of the town before that knee-jerk reaction?
Not as in respect of special prayers I know that one was partly done.
We have to be careful as a people not to become a laughing stock. Let’s not forget that Wa and for that matter the chief and the palace were in the news for a bad reason (flogging in the palace) and so care must be taken in orde not to repeat a similar mistake. As Nabihi too, we need to know that the fact that a chief is not your choice or from your gate does not also mean that you can’t get closer to discuss matters of mutual interest to the vary town or village that you are fighting for. We should not forget that the day that the town ceases to exist, will also be the day marking the end of what you are fighting yourselves for.
On the recent occurrence, a suspect was rushed to the Wa Naa’s palace and nearly lynched there. I could see my own people, uncles, brothers, some sub chiefs of high repute and closer to the chief trying very hard, putting their Dankyikyi (Nabi kpari) together to shamefully take their place in disciplining the suspect. Some also were struggling to maintain law and other. Was that the best? In the first place it was even wrong to have taken the suspect there in anyway.
I am equally disappointed in our security services for not being able to effect a single arrest for such a well-defined crime. That explains why some youth probably took the law in to their own hands attacking and looting shops. The focus of the Wa Naa should be to tell the government the town is now bigger than only one police station which has been there since independence.
To conclude, I advise my uncles that a successful leadership is about broader consultation and consensus building. That is the way to go. Sole decision making and individualism exhibited by leadership isn’t the best way to go, but that is exactly what we seem to be seeing and things are now falling apart. It is about time the Wa Naa, Yeri Naa, Wa Liman and the Tendaamba all came together and engaged with the necessary stakeholders in discussions towards restoring the almost lost dignity of the Wa Land.
Thank you for your time.
Long live Wa
Long live upper west Region
Long live Ghana
Abdul-Rashid Mallam Issah, a native of Wa