You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2018 12 30Article 711883

Opinions of Sunday, 30 December 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

Anlo-Ewes voted against incorporation of Volta Region into Ghana in 1956

Prior to the UN-sponsored 1956 Plebiscite that brought the erstwhile Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT) into the geopolitical confines of the soon-to-be-renamed Democratic Republic of Ghana, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Modern Ghanaian Politics, to wit, Dr. JB Danquah, warned then-Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah that his adamant insistence on having the Ewes become part of the shortly to be born Democratic Republic of Ghana, against the will and desire of the Ewes, especially the Anlo-Ewes, was likely to brew trouble for the new nation down the pike. Well, the first act of terrorism engineered by the Ewe of the erstwhile TVT occurred on March 7 or 8, 1957 (I couldn’t readily verify the specific date at the time of this writing), barely a day or two after Ghana was ceded its sovereignty from colonial rule by Britain. And so I naturally read Mr. Andy CY Kwawukume’s so-called “Critique of the Processes” through which the proposal for the recent creation of six additional regions in Ghana with sardonic amusement (See “Comments” Section of the article captioned “Open Letter to Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana” 12/27/18).

The main article to which Mr. Kwawukume’s rejoinder was attached is credited to a group calling itself “One Volta Group.” Well, as I have had occasion to observe time and again, there is absolutely nothing inviolably sovereign or sacrosanct about the geographical contours of the present-day Volta Region, any more than there was anything constitutionally inviolable about the carving of the present-day Greater-Accra Region by the Anlo-Ewe-led junta of the National Liberation Council (NLC) out of the then Eastern Region in 1967, a process that was officially certified by another Anlo-Ewe junta leader, to wit, Flt-Lt Jerry John Rawlings. Which was why I found it rather contemptuously amusing to read the intemperate and desultory tirade by Mr. Kwawukume. You see, the latter author exposes his disingenuousness or casuistry in the very last paragraph of his torrential tirade in which Mr. Kwawukume also makes the following clearly contradictory analysis, for want of a better term, of the just-ended referenda:

“The argument that Ewes would have voted against the creation of Oti Region is an invalid one, as Ewes initially were not against the creation of the Oti Region and many[,] indeed[,] supported it or were indifferent.” I am holding off on Mr. Kwawukume’s insolent arrogance against my Peki kinsmen and women for another more appropriate occasion. Anyway, the fact of the matter, even as clearly indicated by the just-ended referendum on the creation of the Oti Region inheres in the incontrovertible fact of the residents of the predominantly Ewe-speaking Akpafu District or Constituency’s having massively boycotted the polls in the proposed Oti Region. It is also disingenuous for the critic to assert that “the argument that Ewes would have voted against the creation of the Oti Region is an invalid one.” Indeed, it is indisputably a valid one, contrary to what the critic would have us believe. As well, the critic does not cite any single and/or significant or critical evidence vis-à-vis the Ewes or Ewe leaders who initially supported the proposed creation of the Oti Region.

Unfortunately for Mr. Kwawukume, there is an authoritative historical precedent for the consistently regressive and rebellious trend of Anlo-Ewe mindset towards the all-too-legitimate and well-organized referenda in the country. That precedent, of course, is the massive voting by Anlo-Ewes in the 1956 United Nations-sponsored plebiscite that culminated in the geopolitical incorporation of the present-day Volta Region, formerly called Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT) into the soon-to-be-renamed Democratic Republic of Ghana. In that landmark election, the Anlo-Ewes of the southern Volta Region voted 4-to-1 against the incorporation of the erstwhile TVT into the quondam Gold Coast Colony. Ultimately, the Anlo-Ewes massively lost their fiery campaign to be incorporated into the present-day “Constitutional Monarchy” and dictatorship of Togoland, because the northern-half of the region equally massively voted “Yes” for the incorporation of the TVT into the present-day geopolitical entity of Ghana.

Mr. Kwawukume also unconscionably plays fast-and-loose with the practical reality of “Ewe Psychography” when the critic sophistically asserts that: “If the process has [sic] been fair and democratic, ‘many Ewes in even the Anlo areas down south’ [internal quotation marks added] would have voted Yes to the Oti Region [sic] creation.” Well, the fact of the matter, from the incontrovertible reality of Ghana’s political history, is that the Anlo-Ewes are, by and large, the least democratically minded of all Ghanaian ethnic groups. For example, virtually every successful, as well as unsuccessful, coup d’état against democratically elected governments in Ghana has been led by an Anlo-Ewe. The preceding observation is pointedly more of the norm than the anomaly. But what is even more ironic, if also psychologically reflective of the stereotypical and putatively erratic Anlo-Ewe mentality, is the critic’s patently absurd assertion that if the processes by which the Oti Region’s referendum had been “executed” – no pun is intended here, by the way – “had been fair and democratic,” he, Mr. Kwaukume, would also have voted “Yes,” not fundamentally because he was civically attuned to our democratic culture, but primarily because living with the residents of the Oti Basin enclave of the Volta Region had unacceptably and literally been a pain in the butts, as it were.

Mr. Kwawukume also makes his pejorative thinking about how he and his ideological and cultural or ethnic fellow truckers feel about the non-Ewe residents of the soon-to-be Oti Region as follows: “Me too, [I would have voted ‘Yes’ to Oti Region’s creation] just so they can go [leave?] with their trouble.” Precisely what kind of “trouble” is Mr. Kwawukume talking about that the predominantly non-Ewe residents of the soon-to-be-created Oti Region caused or fomented against the Anlo-Ewes of the southern Volta Region? And yet, rather than squarely take responsibility for inveterate Anlo-Ewe animus and disdain towards the non-Ewe natives of the present Volta Region, the evidently cognitive dissonant critic claims it was the means by which the proposed creation of the Oti Region was undertaken that virulently aroused the vehement opposition of the Anlo-Ewes: “It is the form it has taken that aroused opposition.” As usual, the critic does not provide any forensically sustainable evidence for so cavalierly maligning the very legitimate and lawful means or processes by which the Oti Region’s creation referendum was conducted. Precisely why Mr. Kwawukume thinks and believes that “The Commission [of Enquiry for the creation of the new regions, especially the Oti Region] failed miserably in performing the roles given it and has created a canker for the Akufo[-]Addo Administration and the country” is best known to the critic himself.

I also could not help but feel contemptuously sorry for the likes of this critic when he observes, rather wickedly and falsely that: “For the longest time, docile Ewes have been aroused and they are uniting to fight a common cause and a perceived enemy, putting aside their historical divisions and grievances,” whatever the foregoing may be. But I was even all the more contemptuously amused when Mr. Kwawukume unconscionably attempted to revise the infamous slave-trading history of the Anlo-Ewes as follows: “Some Guans and others whose ancestors fought besides Ewes against the invaders and enslavers that plundered the Weme and Oti enclave[s] are also waking up to the fact that Ewes are not their new enemies and the cause of the underdevelopment of the Oti enclave and the journey they have been misled to embark upon surely might lead some to Kontsiabu [sic] all over again. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.” How inexcusably condescending! Maybe Mr. Kwawukume needs to check his whole-cloth’s fabricated historical bullet points with the Guans of the Akuapem “mountains” and found out, for example, how their Akyem saviors or “Asagyefo” of Akropong and several other towns and settlements on the scarp migrated from Okyeman or the Akyem State to live among them. Could have fooled me, good old Andy K!

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York