The government of Ghana has condemned the allegation by the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, that the Akufo-Addo government is behind the recent violent activities of the Western Togoland secessionist groups in the Volta Region.
Responding to the allegation on Accra-based Asempa FM on Tuesday, 6 October 2020, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the claim was “appalling and disappointing”.
“When people started making ethnic inciting comments like this in Rwanda, people took it as a joke, only for hundreds of thousands to be killed”, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.
“No responsible politician should take that path”, he admonished.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah used the opportunity to urge all political actors to support the national effort in dealing with the situation.
“State institutions like the Peace Council and other well-meaning groups, like religious groups, should call out untoward political behaviour”, he added.
The Ofoase Ayirebi MP also commended the chiefs and local leaders of the Volta Region, for their cooperation with the government in dealing with the secessionists by arresting and retrieving their weapons and also giving the government a deeper understanding of the local issues.
While speaking to party supporters in the region, Mr Nketia said: “… As far as I’m concerned, what is being hyped as the Western Togoland issue is a 100 per cent NPP orchestration”.
“Not 90, not 95, not 98 but 100 per cent NPP orchestration because NPP will want to do everything to make sure that you don’t participate fully in the December elections”, he claimed.
According to him, the invasion of the military in the area during the voter registration exercise, was part of that plan.
“… They deployed the military here and told the rest of Ghanaians that they were fighting COVID.
“When the military came here, I came around myself. Did you see the military fighting COVID, or fighting prospective registrants? Are people from the Volta Region COVID people?” he asked.
“So, we all saw what happened. Now, if they had come here to fight COVID at the Ghana-Togo border, what were they doing terrorising the Voltarians in Banda? If Banda anywhere near Togo?” he questioned.
Mr Asiedu Nketia, thus, urged the people of the region to be vigilant during the 7 December polls.
“So, let us open our eyes. These are people with an agenda that they will never and I say never, allow the full participation of Voltarians in this election and we have seen enough of that to be convinced that they are hell-bent on implementing that agenda”, he warned.
“What they are doing with the Western Togoland issue is to find some small grievances of a few people and hype them and use it as a decoy to create problems for the region in the December elections.
“Their game plan is simple: they send people to the bushes to go and train and they themselves went to the bushes with cameras to capture these training camps to come and show the international community that Voltarians are training in the bush for subversive activities.
“If they genuinely were chasing subversionists, what happened to the people they arrested? Where are they?” he asked.
He added: “They just wanted to create that first impression in the minds of everybody that there are a significant group of Voltarians who don’t want Volta to be part of Ghana and, so, they will not allow Voltarians to participate in the elections.
“Their simple thinking is that if Voltarians don’t participate in the elections, then they may secure a cheap victory without thinking about the consequences of what they themselves are planting.
“As I stand here, I’m fully aware of military uniforms having been prepared so on December 7, these uniforms will be put on vigilante people to come round Volta Region, in all polling stations to create problems and then they will deploy more military and then Volta Region becomes a battleground from where no election can take place”, Mr Nketia further alleged.
Meanwhile, the leader of secessionist group Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), Mr Charles Kormi Kudzordzi, popularly known as Papavi, has released a video message denying any involvement whatsoever of the group in the recent violence staged by people purporting to be Western Togolanders.
In their first attack on Friday, 25 September 2020, the secessionists seized two police stations, took the officers hostage and stole weapons from the armouries after blocking entry and exit points in the Volta Region.
Subsequently, they torched two buses at the Ho STC yard on Tuesday, 29 September 2020.
Papavi, however, said HSGF had no hand in both incidents.
“The Homeland Study Group Foundation is a peaceful group”, Mr Kudzordzi, who is in his 80s said, stressing in his Ho address that it is “a peace-loving group, a peace-generating group, a peace-making group”.
According to him, he has been cooperating with Ghana’s security authorities following his arrests in the past together with some of his followers.
“I have made myself available to the police and to the security agencies on several occasions.
“Anytime they wanted me, I went there, we had a discussion and then I came home.”
He also noted that his peaceful overtures to the government of Ghana have drawn blanks.
“I have, on two occasions, written to the government of Ghana and the President to have us sit down and have this matter discussed at a round table conference. No attention has been paid to the letter”, he complained.
In his view, “Ghana should intensify its level of investigations against people who do things and not just suspect and arrest people.”
A few days ago, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said his government will deal with the secessionist groups.
Speaking for the first time about the attacks launched by these groups in some parts of the Volta region in recent times, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “It is just a handful of people; these secessionists”.
“We will deal with them”.
“I have no doubt about it but there is no value for this country if I start making hysterical statements”.
“I trust the security agencies, the armed forces, the police, I trust their leadership and intelligence agencies and I know they are all working very hard to make sure that this matter is dealt with as quickly as possible”, the President said in an interview on Accra-based Hello FM in Kumasi on Wednesday, 30 October 2020.
Also, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia described them as mere criminals chasing after a nonexistent nation.
He told Osei Bonsu on Asempa FM’s Ekosiisen political talk show on Wednesday, 30 September 2020, that: “We are a very peaceful nation”, adding: “In fact, the most peaceful nation in West Africa”, according to the “global peace index and we’ve been independent since 1957 and generally, Ghana has not been a place where you’d find these sorts of issues coming up”.
“But recently, you’ve heard people talking that Ghana is not truly Ghana and I don’t understand it”, a perplexed Dr Bawumia said.
“I want to understand where they are coming from. That’s why I think it’s just criminal because the history doesn’t support what they are purporting”, he asserted.