Security analyst and retired officer of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Colonel (rtd) Festus Boahen Aboagye has challenged the legitimacy of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) and the other two groups that have recently emerged and are championing a secession of the Volta Region from Ghana.
Col Aboagye has, subsequently, asked the groups to produce or publish the said United Nations document that talks about the fact that after 50 years of their union with Ghana [Gold Coast], they [Western Togoland] could decide to secede.
In a radio interview with Radio Ghana on Monday, September 28, 2020 and monitored by Graphic Online, Col Aboagye said the government of Ghana has the obligation to put the matter in context by producing such a document to inform Ghanaians to determine the legitimacy or otherwise of the secession campaigners.
This, he said could be part of the strategy to address the insurgency, Col Aboagye said.
PHOTO: Col Festus Aboagye
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The group on Friday, September 25, 2020 went on the rampage, blocked major roads that lead to the Volta Region and attacked police stations, ostensibly to steal weapons and ammunition.
The security agencies, however, managed to quell the violence, and positioned themselves in the area to forestall further violence.
Since then, some have said the Ghanaian security authorities have not been decisive enough in dealing with the group.
In their statement declaring their independence, the group said the roadblocks were going to remain on the roads until “Ghana agrees to come to the negotiation table, with expected UNO facilitation.”
“All political activities within the new State are banned with immediate effect. Certain radio stations are temporarily designated Western Togoland state radios till further notice, and all media houses within the area are to focus their programming predominantly on Western Togoland issues until further notice,” the statement by the group said.
They further ordered all Ghanaian security forces out of the Western Togoland within 24 hours “and must not take any weapons or ammunitions along with them”.
Col Aboagye's opinion
In the Radio Ghana interview on Monday, Col Aboagye said:
“In 1956, they [secessionists] are saying that there was a certain agreement, which set a timeline of 50 years. That 50 years after this union with Ghana they could become independent.”
“Now the plebiscite question was simple, straightforward.
"For Western Togoland, the question was ‘Do you want to join Ghana to become independent or you want to wait until the future of Togo, which then was French Togoland was determined. That was the question the UN was posing. So that was the question that was on the ballot.
“There were six districts in proper Western Togoland. There was the Ho District, Kpando District, Buem/Krachi District, Gonja District, Dagbon District and there was the Mamprusi District.
Of these six, only two, Ho District and Kpando District voted against the proposition, they wanted to wait until whatever time that the future of Togo was determined and they voted in the region of, I think 60 something percent against but the other four districts voted for the proposition to join Ghana to become independent and they voted in the range of 53 percent to 83 or 84 percent.”
“So that has become history. Now the question is in which resolution of the [UN] General Assembly or [UN] Security Council, did the UN stipulate that 50 years later Western Togoland can decide whether they want to remain in the union with Ghana or they want…”
“Now, I am challenging the group to produce that document, if Ghana has it, I’ll also encourage Ghana to bring the document out into the open.
But this document, is not even a Ghana document, it’s a UN document so we can all go to New York and look for it and the UN has got archives, so where is this report which says that 50 years later, but that is the issue they have.
But I want the government to do is to put this issue on the table and tell Ghanaians that there is no such document, tell Ghanaians emphatically that it doesn’t exist and produce the UN resolution and read it out to the Ghanaians and put it out to the media, let everybody read.
In other words, you are disputing the claim of this group. Then there is the other question of where is the legitimacy of this Homeland Study Group Foundation, this time I’m suggesting that the 31 that we have arrested must be taken through due process and if they are found guilty to have committed treason in accordance with the laws of the land, they must be sent to jail.
Reports indicate that during the colonial era, Western Togoland was controlled by the British, while Eastern Togoland (which went on to become Togo) was administered by the French.
The region of Western Togoland has been part of Ghana since Ghana gained its independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1957.
According to the HSGF, “ while a plebiscite was held on Western Togoland’s incorporation into the Gold Coast (later Ghana), the vote was marred with difficulties: bribery, violence and killings. The British justification for uniting the two colonies was that the two colonies’ “affairs are so closely mingled that the separate administration of this inland territory would be against both the interests and, almost certainly, also the wishes of its peoples.”
According to the HSGF in its campaign messages, since the two entities were merged, Western Togolanders have never been fully integrated into Ghanaian society.
They allege that there have been multiple attempts to exclude the people in the region by designating them ‘aliens’, continuously highlighting their irreconcilability with the rest of Ghana, as well as advocating their expulsion from the country.
This claim, has however been denied by the Ghana government.
Chronology of events
Some literature states that Germany established the Togoland protectorate in 1884.
Under German administration, the protectorate was regarded as a model colony or Musterkolonie and experienced a golden age.
During the First World War in 1914, Britain and France invaded the protectorate.
After the German defeat and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the western part of Togoland became a British mandate, British Togoland.
After the Second World War British Togoland became a United Nations Trust Territory that was under British administration.
In 1957 they voted in a plebiscite to become part of what is now Ghana.
On May 9, 2017 the Homeland Study Group Foundation unsuccessfully tried to declare the independence of Western Togoland.
On Thursday, May 9, 2019, the Ghana Police Service said the eight leaders of the Study Group Foundation arrested for seeking secession from Ghana planned to declare its independence.
On May 7, 2019, the national executive of the Volta separatist group, Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), Emmanuel Agbavor rejected claims that the group had a militia.
Last Friday, September 25, 2020, secessionists ordered Ghana security forces out of Volta Region after attacking several police stations in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region.
In a press statement declaring their secession from Ghana, Western Togolanders under the leadership of Togbe Yesu Kwabla Edudzi II said that roadblocks will remain until “Ghana agrees to come to the negotiation table, with expected UNO facilitation.” They further ordered for the immediate release of all detained due to the Western Togoland independence struggle, and for immediate termination of all related court proceedings.