OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO, PRESIDENT OF GHANA, FROM VOLTA UNION UK/EUROPE (VUUKE) ON THE DEPLOYMENT OF MILITARY CONTINGENT TO KETU SOUTH OF VOLTA REGION - GHANA
VUUKE and all well-meaning citizens of the Volta region have been watching with rapt attention, bated breath, disquiet and trepidation the complaints of our kin and kith regarding the activities of the government forces (immigration and armed forces) in the region. While most of us have been trying to play the ostrich, hoping this is not true, the opposite keeps hitting us in the face on a daily basis as this unfathomable, unimaginable, and callous act of government progresses.
According to reports, security contingent which included the military and officials of the Ghana Immigration Service have been deployed into some communities along the Ghana-Togo border such as Wudoaba, Korpeyia and Anoenu since Monday, June 22 2020.
Explanations provided by the government and related officials include the following:
- The presence of the security in Ketu South is to protect the citizenry and to maintain peace, law and order in the municipality
- To help check unapproved routes to prevent foreigners with COVID19 from coming from neighboring Togo thereby increasing the COVID19 cases in Ghana.
So the government and officials are telling us that the number of COVID19 cases in Togo is higher than that in Ghana?
These forces were deployed to the region ahead of a voter registration exercise due to begin soon after. It is not confirmed anywhere that same forces were deployed to other border towns of the country, especially the western part - Elubo. This therefore raises very pertinent questions especially when the people of the region feel not only intimidated, but are being viciously attacked and beaten by these government forces.
These explanations given by the government, so contradictory in various cases, need some scrutiny against the background of the government’s age-old animosity towards the people of this part of the country. It is not unknown that this region has been a victim of years of political abuse and disrespect from government, and this is reflected in the following:
- Division of the region against popular wisdom and protest while leaving bigger regions intact. The reason? To ‘facilitate the development’ of the region.
- Development Budget: Not long after the division of the region to ‘facilitate development’, a whole national budget for the country ‘overlooked’ the Volta region in the allocation of funds for the construction of roads. How interesting!
- The statements of various NPP government officials that border on tribalism and ethnic bigotry.
Against the backdrop of all these and numerous other actions, inactions, public statements and surreptitious machinations of the government against the people of the region, who would be naïve to believe these cock-and-bull stories?
It should be instructive to know and understand that Aflao is a border town, and one of the few borders in the world that leads directly into the capital city of another nation state. There is Aflao on both sides of the border, and the Chief of Aflao has dominion over the Aflao of Ghana and the Aflao of Togo. As a result, constant movement of these people within the same town is impossible to control or stop. People’s livelihood depends on their constant movement in their God-given town – Aflao!
School children move across these ‘artificial boundaries’ to and fro school. Petty trading, and normal daily movement and social interactions take place in Aflao just like it happens for a resident of Accra moving between Ablekuma South, Ashiedu Keteke, Osu Klottey unimpeded.
Volta Union UK and Europe (VUUKE) is therefore calling on the government of Ghana to, as a matter of urgent national importance, withdraw the military, national security and immigration deployed in the Ketu South to keep peace in the constituency while there is no apparent sign of war.
We the people of VUUKE, and all well-meaning Ghanaians do view this explanation as a vicious subterfuge, ruthlessly designed to cause fear, intimidate and scare the people from coming out to register in order to exercise their franchise in the next general election.
We were expecting the father of the nation to condemn the statements of these ignorant tribal bigots in his government. How can the President now convince the ordinary Ghanaian that these narrow-minded bigots are not his mouthpiece?
The people of Ketu South and therefore the whole Volta region expect from their government total protection and care, but this action looks more intimidating, disruptive and antagonistic to the peace-loving people of the area.
We find this a despotic enterprise designed to trade in our hard-earned peace for confusion, pandemonium and anarchy.
We find this action as an affront to the integrity of the people and we condemn it as such, especially when government ignored the presence of traditional chiefs and went to unleash tyranny on their subjects.
We feel insulted, abused, disrespected and demeaned, debased in no mean measure and we condemn this attitude as such. No government has the right to visit this tyranny on his people just to promote electoral gains.
That is why we are calling on all chiefs and people of Ketu South and surrounding areas whose status and dignity are being trampled upon with impudence, to stand and condemn this act of reckless terrorism on their soil. This act of effrontery cannot be attempted in any Ashanti land, so why on Volta region?
We call on all Volta associations both home and abroad to condemn this act of intimidation being meted out to our kin.
We stand behind our parliamentarians in their fight against this backward policy designed to foist fear on the innocent and law-abiding people of Ketu South.
We call on the international community and all well-meaning Ghanaians to condemn this despicable act of barbarism in the region.
To the military and other forces deployed, we write to remind you that you have sworn an oath to protect the territory and citizens of your dear nation, and not the president. For presidents come and go, but you shall remain in your job.
One would have thought that the father of the nation would regularly demonstrate some hunger for unity, national cohesion and peace.
God bless our Homeland Ghana? Yes!
And make our nation great and strong? Only He knows!
Gideon M. K. Sedziafa (Chair)
Torgbui Adza I (Vice Chair)
John Fiadjoe (Secretary)
Emmanuel Logosu (International Relations Director)
(VUUKE is a non-political, non-governmental organisation comprising of citizens of the Volta Region of Ghana living in Britain and Europe. Our aim is to seek the development of the Volta Region of Ghana through education, awareness creation and capacity building among the youth).