President Nana Akufo-Addo has denied claims that his government does not like people of the Volta Region as well as non-Akans.
The accusations were hurled at the government in the thick of the recently-held mass voter registration exercise across the country in which some people of Ewe extraction said they were harassed and suppressed from registering by the military.
President Akufo-Addo has, however, said the Volta Region was not singled out for any special military operation in the run-up to voter registration exercise, and there was certainly no political or ethnic agenda against Voltarians.
According to President Akufo-Addo, despite the fact that deployment of the military personnel along the country’s borders was a nationwide exercise, and was done across all Ghana’s borders and not just in the Volta Region, about which the Minister of Defence and other ministers gave detailed and clear explanations, those explanations did not appear to have satisfied some people.
This, the President said, was “because of the mischief that is so easily generated by some elements on social media, and also because of the season we are in, and the determination of some people to stir up ethnic sentiments in the hope of reaping some political advantage”.
Speaking at Keta, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, at a durbar held in his honour by the Awoamefia of the Anlo State, Togbui Sri III, he stated that there are currently 1,000 military personnel deployed along the country’s borders, of which 163 are deployed along the Volta Region border.
“This has been labelled a ‘military invasion of the Volta Region’. Togbewo, Mamawo, Volta Region is an integral part of the Republic of Ghana, and military deployments in a region cannot be described as an invasion. Some elements of social media went into a frenzy, mostly with old videos taken in Accra and other parts of the world being passed off as residents of the Volta Region being brutalised by soldiers”, President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, “This has been escalated into accusations of ethnic cleansing, and the government that I lead has been labelled as tribalist. While social media is a useful tool for information sharing, it can also be, and has been, used to magnify small incidents, place pictures, videos and voices out of context, or simply generate outright fabrications, in order to stir up needless ethnic animosity amongst citizens who are, otherwise, living peacefully with one another.”
The President noted that the easiest way to tell if people are being discriminated against by a government would be to look out for how the national cake is shared, adding that, on that score, his government has been exceptional, as his government has spread development projects equitably in all parts of the country.
“I dare say this area (Anloga) has done quite well under this government. After years of demanding, an Anloga District has been created, and a new Assembly Complex is being constructed. There are numerous GETFund projects scattered all over Anloga, and Keta SHSs is one which I am due to commission today. Important to me are two TVET projects in the Anloga district alone, one of which I shall be inspecting at Atorkor,” he stressed.
Additionally, the President indicated that there is the Keta landing beach project, construction of which commences in September, the €85 million facility for the Keta Water Supply rehabilitation and expansion project, and the Keta Harbour Project.
“We have not completed our development journey, but, surely, we are on the right path, and no one can accuse this government of discrimination in the distribution of the national cake,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
Recounting the history of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition, of which, currently, he is currently its flagbearer, the President told the gathering that, during the darkest days of the tradition, Party, it was here in the Volta that it drew its biggest strength.
“It was here, in this region, that people were most passionate about the political tradition. It was from here that the first people had to flee into political exile after independence, and it was in this Region that many chiefs had to flee into political exile, and some died there. Some of the consequences on the chieftaincy scene in the region have still not been properly resolved. It was from this region that people were sent into internal exile,” he said.
Many people, the President noted, forget that when J.B. Danquah, the first in the trinity of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition, contested Kwame Nkrumah for the Presidency on Ghana becoming a Republic in 1960, Danquah did not win in his home constituency in Akyem Abuakwa.
“But he won in two constituencies, one is right here in Anlo and the other is Ho West. Even if there was a little brittle tribal bone within my makeup, which there is not, I would not choose the Volta Region as a target. History would not allow me,” he added.
Reiterating his commitment to the Ghana project, he urged all residents of the Volta Region to be guided by the fact that the enemy confronting the Ghanaian people is bad governance and poverty, and that is what he is spending his energy trying to defeat.
“It is a battle we can only win if we stick together and pull in the same direction, even if we have different perspectives. I am convinced we are set on the correct course, and I ask for your support to let us continue in peace with the transformation of Ghana. I assure you that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that the 7th December elections are free, fair, peaceful and transparent, so that the will of the Ghanaian people is made manifest,” he added.