Negotiate With Who?
IF it didn't sound right to you, let’s meet up at the Kokompe Junction. I'll be more than glad to shine light on it and let it sound as clear as a bell .But I think the voice behind those profound words couldn't state it better. By the way, I'm not allergic to negotiation.
I do it like the way I take flu shots. But I do so with circumspection. I won't do it if it will become an albatross in future and not be beneficial to me.
Mind you negotiation is about compromise-- not setting up barriers that need defending if you don't want to compromise.
So, would you negotiate with a group of disgruntled and power-thirsty individuals who seek to perpetuate an act of illegality and vandalism?
I bet you wouldn't. Don't forget they barricaded roads. They besieged police stations.They held hostage uniformed police officers. They allegedly broke into armory and bolted away with a number of AK47 rifles .
And I think they got emboldened when they heard calls from some security experts that government must negotiate with them.
What did they do?
On Monday 28 September they extended their carnage to Ho-- the Volta Regional capital and set ablaze some State Transport Corporation (STC) buses.
Would you set your own house on fire if you value it?
Who does that? You've got to be an anarchist.
So, for those of you who are asking government to negotiate with the Western Togoland secessionist group. Think about it. But beside that here's a piece of advice:
" Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. We cannot negotiate with people who say what's mine is mine and whats yours is negotiable." US president John F. Kennedy .
Wasn't Bawumia right ?
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has stated unambiguously that government isn't interested in any negotiations with the Western Togoland secessionist group.
"These criminals....on what basis? It doesn’t make sense. If so then we’ll be open to many things tomorrow you’ll go somewhere and some group will get up and say the northern territory has to also be somewhere else. What we need is intelligence and we’ll try to deal with this," says
Vice President Bawumia.
His comments followed a statement by a retired military officer who'd urged government to negotiate with the group.
Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd) who's also a security analyst believes an engagement between the two entities is critical in preventing the seeming growth of lawlessness perpetrated in the Volta Region over the past week, from escalating.
However, in an interview on Asempa-- an Accra based radio station on Wednesday, Dr. Bawumia said it would be 'senseless' on the part of the government to engage the separatists.
“Negotiate with who, these criminals…on what basis? It doesn’t make sense. If so then we’ll be open to many things, tomorrow you’ll go somewhere and some group will get up and say the northern territory has to also be somewhere else. What we need is intelligence and we’ll try to deal with this.”
Wave of condemnations
I doff off my hat to the good people of Ghana, civil society groups, members of the opposition, journalists, political analysts, security experts, and more especially the eminent chiefs of the Volta Region who have unequivocally condemned the shameful atcs.
Since Friday 25 September, almost every reputable institutions and illustrious sons and daughters in the region and across Ghana had condemned the notorious acst of the group.
How did they do it?
The National House of Chiefs, headed by Togbe Afede, the Agbomefia of the Asogli State in the Volta Region issued a powerful statement.
He told journalists: “The allegations of road blockage and closures, attempts at causing distractions to state property, kidnapping. These are the kind of things that I have not recollected ever happening in our country.
“The Honourable Minister of National Security talked to me this morning about it and then I also made the efforts to contact some chiefs from the Volta Region about a response from the Volta Regional House of Chiefs."
Next was Togbega Tsedze Atakora VII, Paramount Chief, and overlord of Alavanyo Traditional Council.
On Saturday, he too issued a statement distancing his communities from the actions of the group.
“It has come to our attention recently that some elements or secessionist group in Ghana who are affiliated to the Western Togoland Movement wants to drag our name into their agenda."
"I want to make it crystal clear that Alavanyo and its people have nothing doing with the Western Togoland Session group and wish to warn those who are involved in that ploy never to use the name and territory of Alavanyo to launch their project," he noted.
The chiefs and people did not only distance themselves from the group but also described their actions as ‘illegal and undemocratic’.
The sessionists claimed Hohoe belongs to them right?
This is what Tobge Adzimah V had to say:
“We wish to state unequivocally that we, the chiefs and people of Gbi-Hohoe dissociate ourselves from this Group and condemn in no uncertain terms their activities. We do not condone this act of illegality and vandalism perpetuated by the Group,” Togbe Adzimah V, Divisional Chief of Gbi-Abansi in the Hohoe Municipality said.
“The activities of this Group are becoming a threat to us in the region and for that matter, Gbi-Hohoe following their Friday, September 25, dawn blockade of segments of the Juapong-Asikuma road and other roads in the region. And the attack at the Aveyime Police Station and hoisting of their supposed flags in certain parts of the Eastern and Volta Regions. How can a Study Group create or declare independence in a democratic country? This is unacceptable.”
And it didn't end there on Sunday 27 September another powerful chief issued a statement.
The Awoamefia of Anlo State, Togbui Sri III urged the security agencies to find the culprits and let them face the full rigours of the law.
“I wish to state categorically that the Anlo State, its chiefs and people does not associate nor approve of the actions of such people and firmly dissociate itself from their subversive actions.”
We hoped the Authorities will deal with those involved in such heinous crimes according to the laws of Ghana without fear or favour,” the Awoamefia said.
Also the chiefs and people of Gbi-Hohoe have dissociated themselves and condemned the activities of the secessionist group calling itself the "Homeland Study Group Foundation," seeking independence for Volta Region.
Togbe Adzimah V, Divisional Chief of Gbi-Abansi in the Hohoe Municipality told the media in Hohoe that the chiefs, elders and the entire citizenry of Gbi-Hohoe detested the act of the illegality and vandalism being perpetuated by the Group.
“We wish to state unequivocally that we, the chiefs and people of Gbi-Hohoe dissociate ourselves from this Group and condemn in no uncertain terms their activities. We do not condone this act of illegality and vandalism perpetuated by the Group,” he stressed.
He said the activities of the secessionist group, ‘Homeland Study Group Foundation’ was becoming an albatross on the peace loving people of the region.
“The activities of this Group are becoming a threat to us in the Region and for that matter, Gbi-Hohoe following their Friday, September 25, dawn blockade of segments of the Juapong-Asikuma road and other roads in the region.
“And the attack at the Aveyime Police Station and hoisting of their supposed flags in certain parts of the Eastern and Volta Regions. How can a Study Group create or declare independence in a democratic country? This is unacceptable.”
Togbe Adzimah said "we the chiefs and people of Gbi Hohoe have followed with keen interest the activities of the Group seeking to declare the sovereign Volta Region and part of Ghana as Western Togoland."
The traditional ruler said “Voltarians and Ghanaians owe allegiance to no foreign power than the Government of Ghana.”
“The Plebiscite of 1956 had settled any conceived mind and we; our citizenry and friendly settlers are not in any position to change the history of Ghana knowing very well Gbi-Hohoe had been placed on the map of Ghana.”
Maybe you don't want to call it as it is. Maybe you like to whitewash a tomb.But how good would it serve us as a nation if we allow this lawlessness to linger?
Wouldn't we lose this sense of liberty, this sense of unity, this sense of freedom and this sense of pride?
And I think Tobge Adzimah V summed it up beautifully.
"It's unfortunate and unacceptable for a group of people with their selfish agenda to destabilise the peace and harmony prevailing in Gbi-Hohoe, the Region and Ghana at this crucial moment of going to the polls with the world looking up to the country as epicentre of democratic governance in Africa.”
So whether you're a Dagomba, Kokomba or Nanumba or Bono you're a Ghanaian.Whether you're a Ga, or Krobo, Fante, Nzema or Ahanta you're a Ghanaian. And whether you're an Akyem, Ewe, Hausa or Asante you're a Ghanaian.
Long live our united and beautiful Ghana.
By Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."