Government fights Togbe Afede over Oti Region
The Ministry of Regional Reorganization and Development has expressed utter shock at comments by the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV about the work of the Commission of Enquiry in the creation of new regions.
Togbe Afede is said to be 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.
The Ministry, in a statement signed by the Minister, Daniel Botwe, said it’s baffled by the utterances of Togbe Afede, who was extensively consulted and involved in all spheres of the commission’s work “perhaps more than any other Ghanaian on the creation of new regions.”
Togbe Afede last Saturday suggested that the Commission of Enquiry set up to investigate the substantial demand for new regions in the country did a shoddy work in apparent declaration of war on the creation of Oti Region.
He cited disregard for petitions to extend the commission’s public hearings to other parts of the affected regions, suppression of petitions opposing the creation of new regions or inclusion in new regions, and withholding the final report from the public as breach of the 1992 Constitution.
Togbe Afede said the creation of Oti Region and other new regions involves the alteration of existing boundaries and therefore asked stakeholders to ensure the referendum covers other parts of the affected regions.
He went to the extent of describing 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?”Togbe Afede queried.
But the ministry has expressed reservations about the comments since Togbe Afede was involved in about eight separate consultations on the commission’s work.
“The utterance of the President of the National House of Chief really baffled us, as he has been consulted perhaps more than any other Ghanaian in the creation of the regions. Togbe Afede 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 statement said.
The statement from the ministry enumerated various instances where it met Togbe Afede in person and other institutions of which he is a member.
It said the Ministry of Regional Reorganization and Development held a sensitization workshop on May 17, 2017 for the Volta Regional House of Chiefs at the conference room of the Regional House of Chiefs and Togbe Afede was in attendance.
It further stated that the Commission met the Council of State on July 25, 2017 at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs and Togbe was present as well.
“The Council of State, which includes Togbe Afede XIV on August 15, 2017, advised His Excellency to proceed with the processes involved in the creation of new regions,” it said.
The statement mentioned other meetings which involved Togbe Afede, including one with the National House of Chief of which he is the President, as well as the Volta Regional House of Chiefs.
The minister said he personally met Togbe Afede in his private office at the World Trade Centre in Accra twice at the invitation of Togbe.
The statement therefore labeled Togbe Afede’s criticism of the work of the commission as “baseless” and called on people to disregard it.
It added that members of the Commission did a great job and deserve commendation and not insults.
The creation of new regions has sparked controversy, particularly in the Volta Region, with some citizens and groups criticizing the work of the Justice S.A Brobey Commission of Enquiry.