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Bright Philip writes: Secessionist activities: condemnable and incomprehensible

I would like to begin this piece by registering my displeasure on this trans-Volta Togoland issue. It won't help Ghana. It won't help the residents. It won't help every Tom, Dick or Harry. There's no sense in it; it'll have dire consequences on us. When was the last time, secessionist group heightened tension and declared territory independent in the Volta Region?

A previous unsuccessful attempt to declare Western Togoland independent from Ghana took place in 2017. In May 2019, the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) declared independence for Western Togoland, saying that they were no more part of Ghana. This led to the arrest of a 78-year old Charles Kormi Kudzordzi, aka "Papavi", the leader of the group and some other members of the group.

Some were later released, while others faced prosecution in different regions. In a related development in March 2020, about 80 members of the separatist group were detained for protesting the arrest of seven leaders of the HSGF. Although, the charges were later dropped.

The country woke up to the news of secessionist group blocking roads while clamoring for independence on Friday dawn. Juapong, a town located in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region bore the brunt. They launched an attack on the Aveyime and Mepe Police in the said district; forcibly took over stations simultaneously, overpowered the police officers, broke into the armoury, and made away with all the weapons. Indeed, it was a bad happening.

However, what I find it difficult to understand is how every issue that happens in this country is often refracted by partisan lenses. Unfortunately, this Western Togoland separatists saga is no exception. I think that we shouldn't continue letting partisanship cloud common sense. Such is the way to nurture the thoughtful minds of Ghana towards impact and development.

I would like to put on records that, since independence in 1957, the Volta Region of Ghana has endured ethnic-riddled internal torment and has been used as a pawn in national and political struggles. The looming decision by the Ghanaian government to demarcate the Volta Region, to create the new Oti Region, has revived the nationalistic sentiments that stem from the 1880's German protectorate of Togoland which encompassed the region.

These theories of nationalism provide a reflection on the turbulent history of the area and situates the three competing nationalism of Ewes, Voltarian and Western Togoland. Where's the dominant Voltarian identity?

Dear sisters and brothers from the Volta Region, succession is not the answer to our problems. The Ewes have always contributed to the political and economic development of Ghana. This wouldn't go down well for the doubting Thomases. After Nkrumah, I think the second in command of Ghana's independent movement was Kimla Agbeli Gbedemah. Without Rawlings Ghana would by now have disintegrated into multiples of tribal Kingdoms. The 1972 Coup led mainly by the Ewes, as I understand was the overthrow of tribal arrogance and bigotry.

In any case, all these events form part and parcel of our history as Ghanaians and Ewes are integral part of them. They're major stakeholders in Ghana but feel uneasy due to the lack of organisation at the tribal and regional levels and the lack of financial solidarity among themselves as compared to the Akans and Moslem north. Religion and culture should be used to stop negative tendencies and promote each other financially.

Secessionist attack is not something we should joke or toy with. We need to develop a more robust environment for protecting the territory of Ghana. I could not remit my fury in condemnation over the secessionist activities.

Ghana is gradually inching toward that cesspit of violence, and all people of conscience must therefore rise up and condemn this act of orchestrated attack and tension by the culprits.

A nation that cannot protect a regional territory, is not peace living in, does not make life dignifying and comfortable for the inhabitants and such a nation puts its development and growth on a pedestal of critical jeopardy, on the basis of the fact that it overlooks security as a major contributory factor to the protection, safety and well-being of its citizens.

In any case, the security agencies cannot and must not remain apathetic in acting on the seemingly appalling activity of such culprits. The law must be strengthened and made effective not to favor any suspected Western Togoland secessionists when found guilty. They must face the full rigors of the law.

Every well-meaning Ghanaian must rally behind the state in solidarity to prevent the whipping up of political or ethnic sentiments. It is important at a time like this for all Ghanaians to unite against the criminal activities of miscreants whose desire is to create confusion and havoc. This kind of separatists insurgance should never again rear its ugly head in our society. Let's not fail to condemn the group for their uprising and avoid politicizing it.

The author, Bright Philip Donkor is the CSA'20 Online Journalist of the Year; Columnist and a Prolific Feature Writer.

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