For decades, Bimbilla, as a farming community in the Northern Region has enjoyed peace. The District capital of the Nanumba North of the region has a mixture of tribes and clans mostly from other parts of the Northern region and a few Southerners.
The chief of Bimbilla wielded much power and was highly respected by all the inhabitants in the Nanumba District and beyond.
Since 2001 there has been absolute peace in the town after the devastating war between the two major ethnic groups-Nanumbas and Konkombas.
During those periods, the overlord of the town, Naa Abarika from Bang-Yili gate had passed on and his son was on the skin which was to be handed over to the next gate (Gbugma-Yili).
From 2003-2004 tension started to mount on the town because there were two royal families of Gbugma-Yili (Gate) Naa Salifu Dawuni popularly called Nakpa Naa (because he had successfully ruled as a chief in a town called Nakpa), and Naa Dasana Andani Dawuni.
The disputes between these two people to who is the right person to ascend to the skin as a chief from the Gbugma-yili gate lasted for over ten years, therefore, there were now two chiefs in Bimbilla town.
THE DEATH OF NAKPA NAA, SALIFU DAWUNI
Somewhere in 2014, Nakpa Naa passed on, on natural cause and was to be given a befitting burial as a chief in his residence in Bimbilla.This move was however protested by followers of Naa Andani, the body of the deceased was then kept in a mortuary for some time.This was the period more tension mounted on the town and one could see people on public making unguarded comments on the matter.
The case was then lodged at the police station for due processes.This delayed, until one evening while Naa Andani was from a mosque after evening prayers was shot by unkmown person (s) leading to his death.
Basically this was the result of the conflict that erupted leading to cold blood killings of people in the town in 2014, farms of rival sections were destroyed and people attacked and killed in the farms, people reported their maize and yam farms were destroyed.
INSTALLATION OF A SUCCEESOR TO THE MURDERED CHIEF, NAA ANDANI
After Naa Andani was murdered, government had to come in to find a solution to the problem at stake to prevent further clashes, a new chief was installed to replace the late chief.
EXPECTATIONS FROM REGIONAL HOUSE OF CHIEFS
Expectations from the regional house of chiefs and the law court was that a lasting solution be found to the disputes, but it seemed that actions on resolving the issue was relaxed and the whole of Bimbilla people knew that they were seating on the time bomb since Nakpa Naa”s body was still in the mortuary.
My genuine expectations were that, in order to find a lasting solution to the disputes, the late Nakpa Naa whose body was still in the mortuary be allowed for burial, and that will end the Gbugma-Yili’s gate.
That means, those from Bang-Yili gate be allowed to take over, this would have bought lasting peace to the area, this in my opinion should have been done, this way because Gbugma-Yili gate could not get a substantive person to be a chief For over ten years.
THE RENEWED CLASHES
On the 8 th of February,2017 I was in Bimbilla town during the hours of 8pm and noticed that military was patrolling the township was an almour car, I asked whether there was a problem and was told that there was an issue, because the successor to Naa Andani is planning to install some sub- chiefs and it is bringing some tension in town, on the next day at around 12pm sporadic gun shots started in the town till around 4pm,one could hear sporadic shootings in the outskirts of the town while the security agencies were in town to control the people. These shots so far led to the death of at least ten people as of Friday February 10.
INFILTRATION OF POLITICS INTO THE DISPUTES
Politics is a generic game because politicians tackle the problems of the society, because of this many people are trying to read political meanings into the dispute in Bimbilla but on a clear note Bimbilla chieftaincy disputes is not a political one, people expect that they will gain favor from a particular political party to address their issues so they aligned themselves on political parties just to seek redress to their plights. Though people now thinks that those two sections have their political affiliations but we still have people across the political divide belonging to each of the sections, people should therefore stop the politics in Bimbilla chieftaincy disputes.
BIMBILLA CHIEFTAINCY DISPUTES, WHOSE HEADACHE?
Functionalists theories have it that a society is like a living body and if one part of the body is sick it affects the whole body and /or system, the disputes in Bimbilla has caused a lot of headache to the whole District, Region and the Nation at large, economic activities comes a standstill, educational institutions are affected since most of the environs of Bimbilla trek and use bicycles to attend schools in Bimbilla town, these clashes have compelled them to stay out of school, the curfew imposed on the township affect transport industry in the area, the only District Government hospital is situated in Bimbilla township, this is making health care delivery and access a problematic. Development on the larger note is affected since the funds for the development of the District wide will be used to pay the security agencies, this explains why we all need to take a collective efforts to solve the problem once and for all.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE
Chieftaincy disputes in Ghana is proliferated in all the ten regions, stringent policies, laws should be made to arrest these disputes, the constitution of the Republic should modernize the chieftaincy institution into the tradional democracy so that in the disputed chiefdoms, the election should be the ultimate choice in selection one person to rule. National and Regional house of chiefs in Ghana should be equipped well to settled disputes amicably by way of setting up a Chieftaincy dispute courts to resolve those chieftaincy disputes.
In Bimbilla, Peace will prevail when the late Nakpa Naa whose body is still in the mortuary is allowed to be successfully burried and the funeral performed, after this the new chief from different gate( Bang-Yili ) be installed so that those disputed sides will relief the skin to allow peace reign in the area.
Let us come together to collectively stand for peace, Bimbillla needs its past glories once again
Let us Pardon Everybody And Co-Exist (PEACE)
By: Abraham Njonaan Nlenkiba