“Konkombas and Dagombas Must Talk”-DCRC


A revised 1930 Dagbon Constitution document currently subject to approval by the National House of Chiefs and onward submission to the Parliament of Ghana,has since generated misconceptions and misunderstandings relating to some part contents of the document. This has resulted into various threatening social media posts bolstered by a radio interview granted by a Konkomba chief triggering response audio recordings and messages from the side of their age-long neighbours,the Dagombas.

The Dagbon Constitutional Review Committee(DCRC) has from the onset assured that the revised modern day version of the 1930 document equitably caters for the interest and guarantee the liberties of both Dagomba citizens and non-Dagomba citizens, of the centuries old Dagbon Kingdom.

Non-Dagomba citizens of Dagbon include,the Konkombas,Basaris,Checkosis among others and who have together enjoyed centuries long peaceful co-existence with their Dagomba brethren.

With particular reference to the Konkombas,they have enjoyed deep historical,nay,blood ties with their Dagomba brethren and it would rather be prudent using dialogue to resolve whatever misunderstandings that might have arisen out of the Constitution document rather than resort to violence more.

Now read the full DCRC’s Press Release for more details

The present rising tension between Konkombas and Dagombas is drawing the two sides to the
brink of armed conflict. Although most people on both sides have seen the looming danger and
fear the consequences of war, there seems to be no clear path towards constructive
engagement so far.

The irony is that after a war and all its horrors and unspeakable suffering,
the two sides eventually sit down to discuss the issues over which they went to war. Why not
avoid war by resorting to dialogue as the first option?

In the raging social media and microphone sabre rattling, dialogue between the two sides
seems to be viewed as condescension by one side and capitulation by the other. The fact
however is that condescension or capitulation, as the case may be perceived, will secure the
welfare of the Konkomba and Dagomba populations better than war.

The issues at stake have crystalised around the Dagbon constitution which contains some
centuries old traditions that some Konkombas view as being detrimental to the interest and
aspirations of the people.

That therefore provides a basis for the two sides to talk. To this end, it
is necessary to provide some clarification on the matter as it appears that many people have not
yet read the constitution and are not seeing things in their right context and perspective.
The current dispute being a fall-out of the constitutional review exercise, it ought not be
escalated to the level we are witnessing as there is a specific mechanism for dealing with the

When the review process was launched, it was given wide publicity and calls were made to
individuals and groups to submit proposals for the exercise. An invitation was extended to the
Konkomba Youth Association which responded by disassociating itself from the exercise. Some
submissions were however received from some individual Konkombas.

Furthermore, KOYA
declined the invitation to attend the Constitutional Conference in November 2021 which
scrutinised and adopted the draft prepared by the DCRC. The conference was however
attended by some Konkombas from Sanguli. It is pertinent to also recall that the conference was
attended by the Nakpalibor accompanied by an entourage.

The conference coincided with the
visit to Yendi of a government delegation led by the Hon. Minister of Defence to Yendi and this
probably prevented the Uchabobor from attending.

The DCRC comprises sixteen members and include the paramount chief of Saboba, the
Uchabobor, and the paramount chief of Nakpali, the Nakpalibor. Even though it had been
considered that these eminent chiefs had ably represented their respective jurisdictions, wider
and direct consultations with stake holders in the areas would have added more value to the

At a certain stage during the work of the committee, the consultants were accordingly directed
by the DCRC to widen consultations with stakeholders who were known to harbour reservations
or misconceptions about the committee’s work to clarify matters to them and to give them the
opportunity to express their opinions.

The Consultants visited the palaces of Diyali, Tolon,
Banvim, and Gukpegu in a first round. The next round of visits started with Mion and should
have continued to Saboba, Sanguli, Tatale and Cheriponi. It was however deemed prudent not
to proceed there at the time KOYA was vehement in its rejection of the exercise and could have
misconstrued the visit as a provocation.

Some Konkomba opinion leaders indicated that such
wider consultations would have brought to the fore much earlier the issues we are now
confronted with today. The review exercise proceeded to the end and the draft of the
constitution was adopted by the Dagbon Traditional Council whose membership includes the
Uchabobor and Nakpalibor.

It was subsequently approved by the Northern Region House of
Chiefs and submitted to the National House of Chiefs which is yet to consider it for approval. If
it is approved it is expected to go through the chieftaincy ministry to parliament.

Some Konkomba stakeholders have been tracking the movement of the constitution and have
become concerned that they may be bound by it even though they have not availed themselves
of the opportunity offered earlier to make their views known. Be that as it may, the door is not
shut on them .

Instead of the ongoing expression of anger and threats of fierce resistance, a more peaceful
approach should be resorted to. The DCRC has not been disbanded and the consultants are
still at work.

The concerns being expressed on social media could be formalised to include
specific proposals and submitted to the DCRC through the consultants for consideration. This
might pave the way for discussions, wider consultations and clarification of the expressed
concerns and views.

Until it reaches the end of the approval process which will take some more
time, the constitution is still in its formative stage. Even when it its completed and gazetted, it will
be subject to amendments after its first anniversary to take account of new developments. For
now therefore the issue is a matter for the DCRC to try to manage.

An appeal is therefore made
here to Konkombas and Dagombas to de-escalate the matter and give an engagement within
the framework of DCRC a chance. The media, social media and microphone sabre rattling by
platform groups, youth organisations and individuals should be put on hold to allow government,
concerned politicians, chiefs, elders, and opinion leaders to manage the situation.

It suffices for now to throw light on some of the immediate areas of contention pending any
detail discussions on them if such engagement becomes possible.

1.The constitution is a revision of the 1930 constitution. The objective is to update it by
excluding or modifying traditions and customs that are no longer compatible with contemporary
times and adding new concepts and practices to enhance and sustain peace, security, unity and

2.The 1930 text stipulated Dagombas and classified all the other ethnic groups as ‘Subject
Races’ under Dagombas. The DCRC expunged the term ‘subject races’ and provided for the
equality of all ethnic groups.

3.The 1930 text listed Gimba and Nafeba as distinct ethnic groups. On the advise of the
Uchabobor, these two groups have been listed as Konkomba.

4.The constitution contains a list of the different ethnic groups including Konkombas and does
not consider any of them as Dagombas.

5.In the matter of enskinment of the chiefs of Saboba, Sanguli, Nakpali and Cheriponi, the
DCRC requested the respective traditional authorities to define the respective traditional bodies
that select their paramount chiefs and to further define the ruling families and qualification for
the skins. This has been done for Cheriponi, Saboba and Tatale. The paramount chiefs of these
skins are to be selected in accordance with their respective customs by their accredited elders.
It is the ceremonial installation or swearing in that is performed by Ndan Ya Na by mutual

6.t is worthy of note that the paramount chiefs of Saboba, Sanguli and Nakpali are responsible
for the enskinment of their lower chiefs and elders. In a few cases however some chiefs under
these paramount chiefs are still enskinned by Dagomba chiefs outside those paramountcies as
had been the practice before the creation of the paramountcies. It is therefore not the case that
all Konkomba or Basari chiefs are selected and enskinned by Dagomba chiefs.

7.Currently all paramount chiefs and some divisional chiefs are members of the Dagbon
Traditional Council. The new constitution provides for all paramountcies to eventually establish
their own traditional councils subject to the appropriate conditions being available. That
recognises the eventual creation of traditional councils for Cheriponi, Sanguli, Saboba and
Tatale which will hold meetings to discuss their traditional affairs, adjudicate their traditional
judicial matters and pass their own resolutions without the involvement of Dagombas.
8.The name Dagbon is a geographical concept that recognises the separate existence of the
different ethnic and cultural groups. It is therefore a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural entity based
on peaceful coexistence.

9.On the matter of land, the 1930 constitution described Ndan Ya Na as the alloidial owner of
the lands encompassed in the geographical area known as Dagbon but it is clearly stated that
the lands are held in trust for the all people living on it through the various paramount chiefs,
divisional chiefs and village chiefs.

This old tradition preceded colonialism by many centuries
and had merely been captured in the 1930 constitution and carried over into the revised

The respective ethnic groups who have historical roots in the lands they occupy
are not constrained in any way by the new constitution which upholds the status quo. The new
constitution does not seek to dispossess any group of its historical right to the land, Ndan Ya
Na’s alloidial ownership of the lands not withstanding.

Beyond the contested issues the constitution encompasses wider provisions governing
security, peace, unity and development whose implementation should inure to the benefit of all
the ethnic groups if genuine efforts are made to find common grounds that will put an end to
disagreements and conflict.

As the way forward, Konkombas and Basaris stakeholders are urged to engage with the DCRC
through its consultants to discuss the issues of contention.

The consultants are ready to
continue the round of consultations that was truncated as mentioned above on mutually agreed
dates and venues arranged in collaboration with Northern Region Peace Council which had
made similar arrangements for the previous engagements in the aforementioned places.

With the ravages of climate change, underdevelopment and the looming threat of terrorism,
there is no worse time for conflict than now. It must be avoided at all cost in the spirit of the
peace accord that was signed by Konkombas and Dagombas in 1995 in the wake of the the
1994 war. Konkombas and Dagombas have no better option than living in peace with each other.

Ambassador Ibrahim Abass
Spokesman for DCRC Consultants
On authority of the DCRC Chairman, Na Yaba Kuga Na Abdulai I.

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