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Opinions of Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Togbe Afede has not set any records straight

Togbe Afedi Togbe Afedi

He says that he has been grossly misquoted and misrepresented and that he has absolutely no qualms and/or reservations against the imminent creation of the Oti Region out of the present-day Volta Region; and also that he wants to set the records straight.

But actually, Togbe Afede has further complicated matters for himself and just ended up further tarnishing whatever vestiges of good reputation that he may have had going into his sort of litigious nuisance. He has actually shown himself to be a traditional ruler with little integrity and scarcely any worthwhile modicum of public trust and respect. It would take a lot of work to repair his self-inflicted damage (See “Togbe Afede Sets Records Straight on Oti Region” / 10/26/18).

The Asogli chieftain also claims that his main concern is to ensure that the process leading to the creation of the Oti Region proceeds smoothly without any vehement protestations or conflicts. But, in fact, the diametrically opposite is precisely what Togbe Afede, XIV, of the so-called Asogli State, has sought to do, which is to use his considerable power and influence as President of both the Volta Regional House of Chiefs as well as the Ghana National House of Chiefs to push his capricious whims vis-à-vis the long overdue creation of the Oti Region.

He also says that he wants the entire Volta Region to fully appreciate the processes that the creation of the Oti Region out of the present-day Volta Region entails. Watching him publicly huff and puff, one gets the impression that rather than healthily throw his remarkable heft behind the progressive creation of the Oti Region in order to ensure the necessary acceleration of the development of the later enclave of the Volta Region, that President Akufo-Addo was threatening to amputate Togbe Afede’s arms and legs. His rather vacuous pontifical tantrums could not be more preposterous.

That is the lie that Togbe Afede, caught flatfooted, hung and all, literally, would have the rest of us, his countrymen and women, believe. Earlier on, it may be recalled, Togbe Afede had been widely reported by the media to have insisted on having the entire population of the so-called NDC’s electoral World Bank of the Volta Region vote on this most crucial matter.

But it is increasingly becoming evident that, in fact, what the rambunctious Asogli chieftain craves is to have Anlo-Ewes exclusively arrogated the extra-constitutional power of determining whether the inhabitants of the proposed Oti Region have an inalienable right to be ceded their own region and administrative capital. Which is precisely why he has reportedly complained bitterly about what he perceives to be the scandalous neglect of the Anlo-Ewe input in the matter.

For instance, the apparently pathologically litigious Asogli chieftain has been widely reported to have castigated Mr. Daniel Botwe, the seminal Minister for Regional Reorganization and Development, as follows: “You came to Ho. You left Dzodze in the south, Keta, Aflao, Denu, Anloga. All these places [were left] out [of the consultation process]. Why would you do that? There is no question in my mind that the Commission of Inquiry [needed to] extend its sittings to the southern sector.” But the stark fact of the matter is that the Oti Region is not being created out of land carved out of the Anlo-Ewe-dominated southern Volta Region.

The primary population for whom the constitutionally legitimate creation of the Oti Region is of utmost importance, Dear Reader, you guessed right on target, are the indigenous people of the proposed region itself. It is their destiny which is at stake here. Their southern Volta neighbors have absolutely zilch to do with the creation of the Oti Region.

This is in keeping with the same constitutional process or protocol that witnessed the renaming of half of the erstwhile Trans-Volta Togoland and its 1956 United Nations-sponsored plebiscite that witnessed the official and internationally recognized incorporation of the present-day Volta Region into the rest of the country, the then newly renamed but not yet officially recognized Democratic Republic of Ghana, formerly called The Gold Coast Colony.

In the 1956 referendum or plebiscite, no citizens residing outside of the former Trans-Volta Togoland were permitted to exercise the franchise on the preceding matter. And so it is not clear exactly why the Asogli chieftain initially wanted a broad participation of all the residents and citizens of the Volta Region in the consultative process.

But there absolutely no evidence, whatsoever, that in the period leading up to the creation of the Volta Region, and the latter’s incorporation into the Republic of Ghana, each and every township and village in the country was visited by the 1956 Plebiscite Commission.

And so why does Togbe Afede seem to be so hell-bent on reversing a legitimate globally recognized protocol that worked perfectly well for the good of all Ghanaian citizens in the past? I smell some mischief here. And this may very well have to do with the perennially strategic abuse of the Volta Region for the rigging of the country’s democratic electoral process by the cynical operatives of the National Democratic Congress, of which Togbe Afede is a major player.

Both Togbe Afede and Mr. Botwe have publicly said that they have met several times to deliberate on this most pressing issue. Which is why the Minister in charge of the process of regional creation and development has expressed his unreserved and utter displeasure with the way in which Togbe Afede has deported himself on the matter.

According to Mr. Botwe, his crackerjack team of national reorganization and development experts have already met with members of both the National House of Chiefs, of which Togbe Afede is the President, as well as the Regional Houses of Chiefs, to explain the minute details of the processes for the creation of the proposed new regions (See “New Regions: Minister Assures Due Process Has Been Followed” / 10/26/18).

And so clearly, it appears that Togbe Afede, a diehard key operative of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress, is simply doing what the NDC power brokers are widely known to do best, that is, throw a monkey-wrench into this otherwise laudable and all-too-progressive process so as to stall the smooth-sailing Akufo-Addo Administrative frigate and score some cheap political points.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York