The people of Kumbungu may have celebrated the recent Damba Festival in peace and unity alright but one shocking incident which seems to have sent shivers down the spine of the older folk, in particular, was the storming of the durbar grounds by a host of warrior bees, causing people to run helter-skelter at one point of the celebrations.
According to oral tradition, those bees are usually commanded by the fetish priest of the town to take specific actions determined by the community.
It is further said that even in war situations the warrior bees are commanded, when necessary, to be at the forefront of the exchanges and put the enemy to flight.
But the paramount chief of Kumbungu, Naa Abu Iddi, and his elders had the shock of their lives when they were joined, uninvited, by the warrior bees at the climax of the celebrations.
A member of the royal family, Kadiri Musah Sumila, who confirmed the bizarre incident to The Finder, said tongues went wagging immediately after the ordeal.
A school of thought was that the incumbent chief, Naa Iddi, and his elders may have ignored certain customary practices in line with the celebration, hence the anger of the bees while another was that the bees only wanted to send a clear signal to the people of their power and authority.
Yet still a third view was that the bees may have been disturbed from their habitat by the intensity of the drumming, singing and dancing and did not have anything to do with tradition.
But what certainly surprised many was the fact that no matter how hard the drummers and gong-gong beat their equipment with the view to scaring the bees away, they would not surrender.
In the end, the people were compelled to cordon the chief from the onrushing bees while the celebration was put on hold on the second day.
The following day, which was the last segment of the festival, called Belkulsi, primarily meant to see the Damba off, the palace reacted swiftly. The elders of the town visited the shrines and pacified the gods with all the necessary rituals.
Calm was, therefore, restored in the community and the bees kept their distance till the successful end of the festival.
In a related development, Mr Bede Ziedeng, the Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to the chiefs and people of Dagbon to use the successful celebration of the Damba festival to bury their differences and let peace prevail in the traditional area.
He said the government was on track in prosecuting its development agenda but it could only do that and even double the pace of development in an atmosphere of peace and togetherness.
Mr Ziedeng made the appeal in Yendi during the celebration of the Damba Festival at the forecourt of the Gbewaa Palace, where the people celebrated in unity on the theme: Honouring our Culture and Traditions, Advancing our Father.
He said a divided home could not be supported in any way and the government needed the support of every Ghanaian to be able to change the living conditions of people in the country.
He commended both the Kampakuya Na, regent of Dagbon, and the Bolin-Lana for the maturity they displaced so far in ensuring that they resorted to peaceful means and use of dialogue in resolving their differences, rather than to violence.
He said the peaceful coexistence had enabled the people to enjoy the Damba and advised them to continue to work together for the development of Dagbon for the betterment of the youth.
Mr Ziedeng commended the security agencies for their effort and determination to maintain peace in the whole Northern Region, Dagbon in particular.
He said the government could not afford to continue to spend scarce resources mainly on conflict resolution when the country needed good roads, good health facilities, quality education, potable water and good sanitation as well as reliable electricity supply.
He said he was happy to see chiefs from the Abudu Royal Family at the Damba Festival led by Bolin-Lana Abdulai Mahama and Sunson-Na Shani Amidu II, representatives of Nanton Na, among others, as well as some youth chiefs who celebrated the Damba together at the Gbewaa Palace.
In an address read on his behalf, the Regent of Dagbon and acting President of Dagbon Traditional Council, Kampakuya Na Abdulai Yakubu Andani called on Dagombas not to see themselves as Abudus or Andanis but as a united family from one umbilical cord, especially in these trying times for prosperity, development and peace.
The Kampakuya Na Yakubu Andani said, “Never again shall the world associate Dagbon with division, intolerance, violence and lack of progress,” adding that the major common enemy they faced was poverty, environmental change, and unfavourable market forces.
He said all over the world sons of Dagbon were making great strides and suggested that those who made great achievements must be honoured and celebrated to inspire others to work hard.
He said those who abandoned Dagbon needed to come back home and build on the foundations their fathers left for them as means of contributing in growing a strong successful nation, which they would bequeath to the younger generation.
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