The region known as Western Togoland has had secessionist attempts in the past. Armed men demanding the secession of Western Togoland from Ghana blockaded major entry points to the Volta region of Ghana, on Friday morning.
Local sources say the group are holding three police officers hostage, including a District Commander, and attacked two police stations. Prior to the blockade, the group reportedly broke into an armory and stole weapons.
“This is a very serious situation because just few weeks ago we saw [what happened] when they mounted signs along the major roads welcoming people into the Western Togoland State,” a local resident told DW. “Blocking the roads with heaps of sand, burning tyres and even holding security personnel hostage.”
About 12 hours before Friday’s dawn operation, the Western Togoland Restoration Front published photos of the graduation ceremony for around 500 personnel who underwent training for months in secret locations, raising questions over the effectiveness of security agencies in the region. Ghana’s Western Togoland region is predominately wedged between Lake Volta and the Ghana-Togo border. Currently, a number of splinter groups are demanding the area be recognized as a sovereign state.
In a press release, the chairman of the WTRF, Togbe Yesu Kwabla Edudzi I, declared that efforts for consolidating statehood, which began on 1 September 2020, were being put into practice. The movement says it wants to force the Ghanaian government to join United Nations (UN) Facilitated negotiations aiming to declare Western Togoland an independent state. Ghanaian police have been ordered to “leave the region in 24 hours” and surrender weapons. Some radio stations appear to have been taken over by members of the WTRF.
The group has demanded the release of prisoners currently being held in detention for secessionist activities.
The territory of Western Togoland was first colonized by Germany in 1884 and incorporated into the Togoland colony. After Germany’s defeat during the First World War, the colony of Togoland was divided between France and Britain as protectorates. The western part of Togoland became part of Britain’s Gold Coast colony, which became independent in 1957 to form modern-day Ghana. Togo gained independence from France in 1960.
Western Togoland is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Four million people live in the region. In terms of language and culture, Western Togoland, especially the Volta region, has more in common with Togo. Locals in the region say they feel underrepresented by Ghanaian authorities.
A previous unsuccessful attempt to declare Western Togoland independent from Ghana took place in 2017. In March 2020, around 80 members of the separatist group were detained for protesting the arrest of seven leaders of the Homeland Study Group Foundation. The charges were later dropped.
The struggle for the people of South Sudan to be free came to fruition in July 2011, when an independent republican nation was born. Sudan was the largest country in Africa and, under the best of conditions, the vast expanse of land and diversity of its people posed a formidable challenge for any government wanting to keep an active line of communication with all its regions and peoples.
Governments in several countries in Africa also have contended with threats that had come from groups wanting self-rule and ending their long association with the central political authority. Some of these agitations for self-rule have shown greater poignancy than others.
In Ethiopia, the threat from its coastal colony to break away lasted thirty years and culminated in a costly war which ended in 1991, with Eritrea emerging as a breakaway state. Ethiopia officially agreed to Eritrea’s independence in 1993 and made Eritrea the first successful breakaway nation in post-independent Africa.
Eritrea breaking away from Ethiopia was attributable primarily to political rather than economic or cultural differences.
While seceding is not a new trend in Africa, it is quite tricky for the Ghanaian government.
Recall that on 27 December, 2018, Ghana held six referenda to demarcate new regions. In six areas around the country, voters had the opportunity to decide whether to become part of new administrative zones. President Nana Akufo-Addo had argued that redrawing the borders would allow the government to “become closer to the people, and, thereby, facilitate rapid development.” He suggested that the creation of additional regions would strengthen local economies as well as enhance investment and infrastructure-building.
However, In the Volta Region, where people in the northern half voted to split off as the Oti Region, the vote was tense. The Council of Chiefs representing the dominant Ewe subgroup in the southern part of the region opposed the referendum, calling it “a threat to the cherished peace we have enjoyed over the years in the Volta Region”.
So, it is clearly a strong opposition against the peace cherished by Ghanaians. Further financial questions arise such as: is the new region financially sustainable, set aside from the Ghanaian Federation? While many fingers point in uncertain directions, secession is clear to have unprecedented consequences to the revolting Ghanaian natives.Follow us on social media