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Volta Region Politically Comes of Age

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Ordinarily, I would not be commenting on the political affairs of the Volta Region; ever since former President Jerry John Rawlings and his people (at least those of the Anlo enclave) decided that the Volta Region was effectively and immutably the “World Bank,” or blind stronghold, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), I have considered the Volta Region to be a virtual non-issue in Fourth-Republican Ghanaian democratic culture. But I must also hasten to confess the fact that that notion itself never sat comfortably with me, to speak much less about its abject nonsensicality.

Still, it made perfect sense, in a paradoxical manner, of course, that in a democratic dispensation the residents and citizens of the Volta Region, like all the other nine regions of the country, had absolutely every right to determine who and/or what political party to staunchly and even perennially back.

But that the Volta Region, like most of the other regions of Ghana, was not homogeneous, made the entire monolithic “NDC-World Bank” faux-ideology seem all the more puzzling. Finally, in a quite refreshing and welcome manner, recently, Ghanaians awoke to the good news that, after all, the people of the Volta Region had firmly decided that no longer would they allow themselves to be taken for granted, and a ride, as well, by the so-called National Democratic Congress (See “Volta Chiefs Urge Voltarians To Change Voting Pattern” Modernghana.com 12/13/11).

That the call for Voltaics/Voltaians – my preferred adjectival nouns – to change their voting pattern came from the august Volta Regional House of Chiefs, was at once both encouraging and curious. Encouraging because it was led by no lesser personality than the very president of the VRHOC, the politically controversial Togbe Afede XIV, paramount king of the Ho-Asogli traditional sub-state. This very fact was also what made such call rather curious, to speak much less about the downright suspicious. And on the latter score may be readily recalled the fact that Togbe Afede was a key player among the membership of the National Democratic Congress’ Transitional Team that ushered in the Mills-Mahama government.

Even more significant is the fact that the current president of the VRHOC has in the recent past made such painfully divisive comments, such as former President John Agyekum-Kufuor having made Togbe Afede feel like a stranger in his own country, that his latest call for an inclusive politics of collective self-interest, regardless of ideological suasion, brought me on the verge of trauma; and I could barely hold back my tears, knowing the pre- and immediate-post independence political history of the region vis-à-vis the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah.

Needless to say, the foregoing comment by Togbe Afede was intended to suggest, in essence, that under the tenure of the erstwhile Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party administration, Togbe Afede and his people and, in fact, the entire region bordering the eastern flanks of River Frau had been deliberately placed on the lowest rung of the NPP’s national development agenda. Ironically, it would be the same Togbe Afede and his people who would become the first primary beneficiaries of power supply from the same West African Gas Pipeline, which the then-candidate John Evans Atta-Mills had sneeringly dubbed as a “White Elephant.” We must also quickly add that the president of the VRHOC is a well-educated man who holds a graduate degree from the Yale School of Business and so ought to be expected to fully appreciate what he is talking about, when Togbe Afede, as well as his colleagues of the VRHOC, calls on the people of the region to seriously reconsider their hitherto unidimensional and seemingly fanatical voting pattern.

Indeed, as one news report clearly indicated, the leading members of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs are not, in fact, simply urging the residents and citizens of the region to facilely swing the electoral pendulum away from the ruling National Democratic Congress to the New Patriotic Party as such. Rather, what the “Afede Group” is exhorting is the imperative need for the residents and people of the Volta Region to prioritize their collective self-interest when it comes to the selection of politicians and leaders who best reflect their well-being and aspirations.

But that the ruling National Democratic Congress, reportedly, either failed or flatly refused to send any representatives to the conference at which Togbe Afede and the other paramount kings of the Volta Region issued their call for political maturity and open-mindedness on the part of eligible voters, was to be expected. For in classical “Camusian” terms, this political awakening of the NDC World Bankers, as it were, dangerously undermines the blind support which Messrs. Mills and Mahama took for granted in Election 2008.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.

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Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame