| Wednesday, February 16, 2005
| A HEADLESS KING, 32 WIDOWS AND A SUCCESSION BATTLE IN THE MAKING
It was terrible enough that the beloved king
was murdered and his head paraded on a spear,
casuing 32 widows to weep at the mere mention
of his name.
Or that more than two years later, his headless
body still languishes in a tiny hospital morgue.
The feud that killed the king of Dagbon has tooked
havoc across the dust-blown fields of this northern
Ghana kingdom. But family members say it's nothing
compared with the war of succession they anticipate
once the king is finally buried.
For 600 years the Abudu and Andani clans -- named
after two sons of the ancient Dagbon king-- cordially
rotated control of the kingdom, centered in Yendi,
330 miles north of Accra, the capital.
Dagbon, half the size of Rhode Island with 1 million
people, is one eight traditional kingdoms in this
West African repulic.
Kings, democracy co-exist
A 30 year old power struggle between the clan ignited
in March 2002, when Abudu warriors brandishing spears,
bows and arrows, and guns stormed the palace and
slaughtered the 66 year old Andani king, Ya-Na Yakubu
and 30 clan elders.
The sacred Dagbon palace-- two dozen mud huts inside
a walled compound -- was raked with bullets and burned down.
The king's head and arm went missing but mysteriously turned
up a week later, placed by persons unknown in the palace ruins.
They now lie beside the corpse.
Andani elders say the king can be buried when a nearly rebuilt
new palace is complete, with a pavilion where he can lie in state.
They will then name a successor-- most likely a son.
But the Abudu contend that since the king is dead -- never
mind that they killed him --it's their turn to appoint a successor.
That would likely be Mahamadu Abdulai, the 20 year old Abudu
chief from Yendi, whose residents say, was taken out of school
and given three wives and a cadre of elders, who pamper him for majesty.
Tensions over the regicide are sending ripples across modern
Ghana, a democracy trying to make its economic niche with high
tech call centers. Kings and chiefs have autonomy over their
areas, but many find it hard to keep modern politics at bay.
A government panel investigating the kiling has achieved little.
(abstracted from CHICSUNTIMES/Associted Press/Bryan Mealer)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 3:25 AM