Some Voltarians in the diaspora have condemned what they described as the harassment and intimidation of indigenes of the Volta Region during the just-ended voter registration exercise.
In a statement signed by Dr Nat Abotchie and Prof Anthony Mawuli Sallar among a raft of others, the diasporans said: “We, sons and daughters of the Volta Region resident in USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Australia and New Zealand, wish to express our grave concerns on recent developments in our country, with particular reference to our region”.
“We are opposed to the deployment of extra military and other security detachments to our border areas, resulting in a high level of intimidation, harassment, and disrespect of our people in this dire period when COVID-19 has already destabilised the lives and livelihoods of our people. The heavy-handed nature of the deployment and the reported cases of intimidation and branding of Ghanaians as Togolese is simply deplorable, offensive, and deeply unfortunate. We add our voices to the chorus of condemnation from chiefs and politicians as well as many well-meaning ordinary citizens.”
Read the full statement below:
VOLTARIAN ASSOCIATIONS IN THE DIASPORA CAUTION AGAINST HARASSMENT AND SUPPRESSION OF GHANAIAN CITIZENS
We, sons and daughters of the Volta Region resident in USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Australia and New Zealand, wish to express our grave concerns on recent developments in our country, with particular reference to our region.
“We are also offering recommendations and measures to address certain intractable problems which threaten the very survival of Ghana as a united nation state that is made up of various ethnic groups, put together by the colonial rulers.
“We are opposed to the deployment of extra military and other security detachments to our border areas, resulting in a high level of intimidation, harassment, and disrespect of our people in this dire period when Covid-19 has already destabilised the lives and livelihoods of our people. The heavy-handed nature of the deployment and the reported cases of intimidation and branding of Ghanaians as Togolese is simply deplorable, offensive, and deeply unfortunate. We add our voices to the chorus of condemnation from chiefs and politicians as well as many well-meaning ordinary citizens.”
We observed the garrulous and flippant comments of the prominent Adansi constituency MP, K.T. Hammond, who claimed openly that the militarization of our homes and communities was an attempt to prevent Togolese from registering to vote in Ghana. His false and misguided utterances follow the lines of the old, ignorant and tired refrain of a group of politicians that people from the Volta Region are not
Ghanaians. We are convinced that these last claims are not limited to a small group of politicians like K.T. Hammond but are beliefs shared and fueled by some ignorant and bigoted politicians for far too long.
The incessant demonisation of Voltarians must cease immediately. We are concerned that Ghana, with the victimisation, marginalisation, and intimidation, is headed in a dangerous direction.
We are therefore offering the following statements and recommendations to produce a lasting solution to the current situation:
We detest vehemently the militarisation and weaponisation of the Volta Region especially the border towns and villages; from Aflao to Wli, and call on the President of Ghana, and the security services to bring it to a stop immediately. Reasonable people are at a loss as to why military personnel are manning some registration centres and intimidating villagers in a civilian government.
We note that the Government has made arrangements to evacuate stranded Ghanaians from high COVID-infected countries in Europe and North America. As recent as last week several flights sponsored by the Government of Ghana departed European and US cities carrying Ghanaian citizens. We have also observed that the government led a convoy of fisherman to enter Ghana through the Togo border with police escort back to their hometowns in Central and Western Regions. One would have expected that concrete steps would be taken to avail other Ghanaians in Togo of the same opportunity but this was not to be. Why is the government evacuating some Ghanaians and discriminating against others who need the same help to come home from neighboring countries like Togo?
The opaque ignorance which clouds the minds of some fellow Ghanaians about Voltarians must be tackled at its roots: the school system. The school curricula in history and geography from the basic to the tertiary level must be updated to include accounts of how the nation of Ghana was put together. At the moment, it is a pity that many Ghanaians are not taught that over half of the VR was part of the Gold Coast colony proper from the 19th century before the Asante and Northern Protectorates were added.
We were reliably informed through first-hand accounts that the military forces deployed in Ketu South have been invading people’s homes without a court order and with military assault rifles demanding and seizing registration cards under the pretext that the holders were Togolese. We demand from the President of Ghana who is the head of the security services that such dehumanizing treatment of Voltarians in their own country must cease.
We view with utmost concern the blatant militarisation of areas outside the Volta Region where Voltarians are resident. We refuse to accept that these are coincidences. In a video that most Ghanaians have watched, the Ewe residents of Banda (Bono Region) are being harassed and denied the opportunity to exercise their constitutionally-mandated right to obtain a voter’s ID. We wish to place on record that some of the affected families have been resident in the area for almost a hundred years.
We view with disgust a military vehicle with assault rifle mounted and blocking the road in a rural area preventing Ewes from registering for a voter’s ID card.
While these blatant acts of discrimination against Ewes may be viewed by some as normal, it evokes sad memories of Apollo 568 which was implemented by Dr. Abrefa Busia’s government which culminated in the wholesale dismissal of Ewes from the civil and public services.
We condemn, in no uncertain terms, some Voltarians, who have found it necessary to join in the harassment of their own people in the name of party politics.
These are some measures we would like to bring to the attention of the whole nation of Ghana. We hope these would set the tone for future dialogue and actions to bring peace and development not only to the VR but Ghana as a whole.
We look forward to a fruitful engagement with all relevant parties, bodies and persons.
Long live the Volta Region. Long live Ghana.
1. Kossi Nutekpor; One Volta Group, USA.
2. Dr. Tsatsu Nyamadi; Council of Ewe Associations of North America (CEANA).
3. David Abusah; Anloga Development Association of North America (ADANA).
4. Togbe Aglasu Henyo III; Aflao Association of North America.
5. Belinda Bugadam; Mid-Volta Association of Canada.
6. John Kamasah; South Volta Association of Canada.
7. Patrick Adzadu, Tongu Citizens Abroad.
8. Emefa Manteaw; Norvihaborbor of Australia.
9. Frank Dake; Norvihaborbor of New Zealand.
10. Daniel Torkornoo; Ewe Dukor Germany
11. Prof Anthony Mawuli Sallar (Ghana Rep)
12. Dr Nat Abotchie (USA)