President Nana Akufo-Addo
President Nana Akufo-Addo has said as the leader of Ghana, he is not supposed to panic about the recent violence being perpetrated by Western Togoland secessionist groups in the Volta Region but rather must assure the country that everything will be fine.
“Yes, I have to be calm because institutions are in place, the security agencies are doing their work”, President Akufo-Addo said in an interview with Kumasi-based Hello FM on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.
He said the security services have started dealing with the secessionists already, adding: “We’ll see results”.
However, he noted, “if I panic, the country panics”.
“For example”, Mr Akufo-Addo pointed out, “if I had panicked over the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have sparked fear in all Ghanaians because the work that God has chosen me to do, if I panic, the whole country will also panic”.
“That is not the purpose of leadership”, the President said.
“I’m supposed to assure people that our country will work”, he noted.
“What is going on in the Volta Region, it’s just a handful of people – these secessionists”, the President said and promised: “We’ll deal with them. I have no doubt about it”.
In his view, “there’s no value for the country if I start making hysterical statements and acting [panicky]”.
“No, because if you have good arrangements to deal with such issues – not so much that you can sleep – you can be complacent but, at least, you can be steady about what is coming and I trust the security agencies, I trust the armed forces, I trust the police, I trust their leadership, intelligence agencies, I know they are all working very very hard to make sure that this matter is dealt with as quickly as possible”, the President added.
He mentioned that: “There are people reporting to me. Wherever I am, I’m getting the reports on a daily basis telling me what’s going on”.
Meanwhile, the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, has said the President and the government he leads have not shown any seriousness in dealing with the threats posed by the separatists.
According to Mr Mahama, the activities of the groups are an embarrassment to the government and the President must sit up to address the issue once and for all.
Different secessionist groups who claim to be Western Togolanders, have launched attacked in different parts of the Volta Region.
In the first attack on Friday, 25 September 2020, they seized two police stations, took the officers hostage and stole weapons from the armouries after blocking entry and exit points in the Volta Region.
In the second attack, they torched two buses at the Ho STC yard on Tuesday, 29 September 2020.
Despite the President’s assurance to Ghanaians that he will deal with the matter, Mr Mahama told Eric Ahianyo in an interview on Woezor TV on Thursday, 1 October 2020 that: “It is clear that this President hasn’t taken this matter seriously, he hasn’t. The whole government, the security service; it’s like they have a very lackadaisical attitude toward the issue of Western Togoland”.
“There is nothing like Western Togoland. Ghana’s territorial integrity is a sovereign matter, no inch of this country must be ceded to anybody. our constitution makes it clear that we must protect the territorial integrity of Ghana. It’s one of the most serious things the constitution deals with and that’s why when I was president and we had that maritime boundary issue, I did not sleep over it.
“I didn’t want one inch of our maritime boundary to be ceded to another country and, so, we took definite action and you could see there was seriousness in what we did.”
Mr Mahama continued that: “This Western Togoland thing, it’s either our security services are so inept or so confused or inefficient which I don’t want to believe because I’ve been commander in chief before and I’ve worked with these same security services and I know that intelligence is very key and that they are good at gathering intelligence.”
“This homeland study thing was there when I was President and yet we had people who infiltrated them and we knew at every stage what they were up to – doing seminars and press conferences. Now they are becoming a bit bolder and the President must be taken bold action…
“It looks like the whole government is not serious about this, the President himself is not serious about it, no senior person has gone to the area since this thing happened. The Minister of National Security when this thing was very topical and had become an issue, he should have gone to the area to boost the morale of the security services there, instead, he was in Kumasi with the President commissioning a compost plant instead of going to the place where people are trying to cede that part of your country and that’s why I’m saying they are not taking this seriously,” Mr Mahama stressed.
“It’s embarrassing, the President must sit up,” Mr Mahama added.