For Rejecting Division Of Volta Region While Hiding Brobbey Commission Report
These few days have witnessed a fiercest attack on the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of the National House of Chiefs, for suggesting “shoddy work” was done by the Brobbey Commission of Inquiry which worked on the creation of six new regions.
Aside Togbe Afede XIV, others, including clergymen, who have raised their voices against the division, have also not been spared in the coordinated political attack, by elements of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as though afraid one of the party’s major campaign promises, would be derailed if the dissenting voices, however, popular they are in the Volta Region, are allowed to hold sway.
Various social media platforms, are being used to attack traditional rulers, clergymen and prominent individuals.
The Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, Dan Botwe, a former Minister of State in the Kufuor administration, Elizabeth Akua Ohene, have separately also launched skating attacks on Togbe Afede for questioning the procedure adopted by the Akufo-Addo government in the creation of the new regions.
Interestingly, since July this year, when the Brobbey Commission of Inquiry report was submitted to President Akufo-Addo by Justice S.A. Brobbey, the content of the report has been a closely guarded state secret.
Ordinarily, the government was required to issue a whitepaper on the work of the Brobbey Commission, but this was not done except to hear President Akufo-Addo, announcing that the process towards the creation of Western North, Bono East, Ahafo, Savannah, North East, and Oti regions now rests in the hands of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Ghanaian people.
The NPP has many times accused Togbe Afede of inciting his people against the government in the creation of the new regions, particularly the carving out of Oti Region from the current Volta Region.
Some members of the governing party, had also suggested that as someone serving in the government as the Board Chairman of the National Investment Bank (NIB), it was improper for him, to be kicking against such a major policy of the government.
But TogbeAfede is not alone in the fight against the partitioning of the Volta Region, Mediators Consult, a group of “seasoned men of God” in the Volta Region, in the first week of this month, added its voice to the call on government to halt the creation of the proposed Oti Region out of the Volta Region.
Right Reverend Japheth Yao Ledo, President of the group at a press conference in Ho, recently said the suspension of the creation of Oti Region, had become necessary, because the group foresaw fierce resistance which may cause “instability, disunity…and loss of lives.”
Rt. Rev. Ledo, who is also a former Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church said, there could be protracted conflicts in the Region with loss of lives, should boundaries drawn to carve out Oti Region pass through already disputed lands like Nkonya and Alavanyo.
He said, some communities, including Akpafu and Lolobi, also rejected their inclusion in the proposed Oti Region and that subjugating them into being part of Oti Region, would amount to suppressing their freedom of choice of habitation. The pastors disagreed with limiting the referendum to people in the proposed Oti Region and urged government to heed to calls to extend the exercise to cover the whole Volta Region.
“…the Ewes form 73.8 per cent of Volta Region and for that matter, to limit voting to 26.2 minority to create Oti Region out of Volta Region is highly unacceptable,” Rt. Rev. Ledo stated, adding, “Despising the will of the majority of Voltarians this time around would be like sounding war drums in their ears.”
However, writing in the Daily Graphic on Wednesday, 73-year old Elizabeth Ohene, said “this weekend, the President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede X1V, purported to speak on behalf of the people of the Volta Region and in the interest of the peace-loving people of the region and comprehensively condemned the proposals to create the Oti Region”.
She went on “It is not clear when he became a constitutional authority, as well as being the financial guru he is reputed to be. He says the Commission of Enquiry into the setting up of new regions did a shoddy job.Brave man. He says it is unconstitutional not to allow the entire Volta Region to vote in the referendum, and advises that the 1992 Constitution would be bastardised, if there was a yes or no question in the referendum. Very brave man”.
“I do not know how Togbe Afede X1V came to acquire the power to speak on behalf of “the people of the Volta Region”. He certainly does not speak on behalf of this Ewe woman from Abutia”, she said in that write up.
The President of the National House of Chiefs, had stated that the insistence of people in the Volta Region to be included in the referendum for dividing the region into two, is only to uphold the 1992 Constitution.
Togbe Afede was addressing ‘Ewefiawofe Haborbor’ (Association of Ewe Chiefs) led by the President, Togbe Dzogbede V and representatives of Anlo Youth led by the leader, Mayor Agbleze on Saturday, October 20. Their mission was to pay a courtesy call on Togbe and to raise some concerns, including the partitioning of the region.
Togbe Afede, said the people of Asogli, brothers and sisters from Southern Volta and other peace-loving Voltarians are raising red flags, because of the unconstitutional approach that had characterised the process in the attempt to create the proposed Oti Region and called on the authorities to do the right thing.
“The framers of our Constitution, have done a good job. They have given us a clear roadmap for the creation of new regions and the alteration of boundaries of regions. We must, as I have advised before, not bastardise it, but respect it in the interest of peace and unity.”
He said, the Commission of Enquiry set up to investigate the substantial demand for new regions in the country did a shoddy work, citing disregard for petitions to extend its public hearings to other parts of the regions affected, suppression of petitions opposing the creation of new regions or inclusion in new regions, and withholding the final report from the public.
Togbe Afede, said the creation of Oti Region and other new regions involves the alteration of existing boundaries and so, asked that the Authorities ensure the referendum covers other parts of the affected regions.
He described as “disingenuous” and “dangerous” examples cited by President Akufo-Addo of Scotland, Eritrea, South Sudan and Trans-Volta Togoland to support the referendum to be held only in areas calling for the new regions.
“The use of these examples is creating a dangerous precedent, with implications for the survival of our country. Will Ghana allow any part of the country to vote alone to decide their independence as was done in Scotland, Eritrea, South Sudan, Trans-Volta Togoland, etc?”
In response, the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development on Wednesday, said it was baffled by the ‘baseless comments’ of the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, which suggested that “shoddy work” was done by the Commission of Inquiry which explored the creation of new regions.
According to a statement signed by the Minister Dan Botwe, the Commission adhered strictly to the provisions outlined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana relating to the creation of regions, stressing that the comments of Togbe Afede, be disregarded.
Listing nine consultative sessions which the Commission held between May 2017 and January 2018 and had Togbe Afede in attendance, the Ministry said it was baffled by the traditional ruler’s comments, because he was consulted “perhaps more than any other Ghanaian on the creation of regions”.
“…We wish to debunk the statement that the Commission of Inquiry did a shoddy job,” the statement said.
“The Ministry has in the past desisted from responding to views expressed by our revered and eminent Chiefs, but has found it imperative in this instance to respond to attacks on the Commission of Inquiry into the Creation of Regions by no less a person than Togbe Afede XIV.
“The utterances of the President of the National House of Chiefs really baffle us as he has been consulted perhaps more than any other Ghanaian on the creation of regions. TogbeAfede XIV has been involved in all consultations of the Commission with the Council of State, the Volta Regional House of Chiefs and the National House of Chiefs”.
The Ministry reiterated that the Commission adhered strictly the provisions outlined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana relating to the creation of regions and government has expressed satisfaction with their work and the report submitted.
In their opinion, the eminent men and women who served on the Commission did a great job, holding 47 public hearings and 41 consultative meetings and deserve commendation, not insults.
Members of the Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice S.A. Brobbey were; Dr Grace Bediako (former government statistician), Maulvi Mohammed Bin-Salih (AMEER and Missionary in Charge, Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana), Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa (former Vice-Chancellor, KNUST), Ms Gladys Gillian NaaduTetteh (Local governance expert) and Mr Robert Ajene (Retired Director of Educations).
The rest are, Dr David Wellingston Essaw (Senior Research Fellow, University of Cape Coast), Professor George Owusu (Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research) and Ms. Josephine Hughes (a legal practitioner).
In September this year, the Akpafu and Lolobi Traditional Areas, also petitioned the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, distancing themselves from a petition purported to have endorsed the creation of new region out of the Volta Region.
The new petition is to correct an erroneous impression being created in the media that the two Areas, support an earlier petition by the Paramount Chief of Krachi Traditional Area, Nana Mprah Benemuna, together with other chiefs from eight districts in the northern part of the Volta Region, for the creation of the Oti Region.
The petitioners say since the proposal to create the new region last year, no formal invitation has come to them to take part in the deliberations, adding Akpafu and Lolobi have not, be it present or past, petitioned to be part of the said region.
“The Akpafu and Lolobi Traditional Areas want to put on record that, they have never petitioned to be part of the new Oti Region neither in 1992 to the PNDC government nor in 2017 to the Justice Brobbey Commission”.