Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF)
Western Togoland is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Four million people live in the region. In terms of language and culture, Western Togoland, especially the Volta region, has more in common with Togo. Locals in the region say they feel underrepresented by Ghanaian authorities.
The region known as Western Togoland, an area of eastern Ghana declared itself a sovereign state. This followed secessionist attempts in the past. Armed men demanding the secession of Western Togoland from Ghana blockaded major entry points to the Volta region of Ghana on 25 September 2020. Local sources said the group was holding three police officers hostage, including a District Commander, and attacked two police stations. Prior to the blockade, the group reportedly broke into an armory and stole weapons. A previous unsuccessful attempt to declare Western Togoland independent from Ghana took place in 2017.
About 12 hours before the operation, the Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF) published photos of the graduation ceremony for around 500 personnel who underwent training for months in secret locations, raising questions over the effectiveness of security agencies in the region.
Ghana's Western Togoland region is predominately wedged between Lake Volta and the Ghana-Togo border. Currently, a number of splinter groups are demanding the area be recognized as a sovereign state. In a press release, the chairman of the WTRF, Togbe Yesu Kwabla Edudzi I, declared that efforts for consolidating statehoood, which began on 1 September 2020, were being put into practice. The movement said it wanted to force the Ghanaian government to join United Nations (UN) facilitated negotiations aiming to declare Western Togoland an independent state.
The arrest May 09, 2019 of leaders of the Homeland Study Group Foundation seemed to have crippled alleged preparations towards the declaration of independence of parts of the Volta and Northern Regions (Western Togo land). On May 08, 2019, over 80 members of the secessionists group from across the Volta Region were picked up by joint police military operation for alleged intended demonstration against the arrest of leaders of the Group. The charges were later dropped.
In November 2019 the separatists from the Volta Region officially detached themselves from Ghana after declaring independence. The Homeland Study Group Foundation declared independence for the Volta, and parts of the Northern, North Eastern and Upper East Regions after its meeting held in Ho. Its shadow Minister of Information and Spokesperson George Nyakpo revealed on Starr FM that now that the independence has been declared, measures are being put in place to ensure that they are recognized as a state independent of Ghana. In the interim, he hinted "we will notify the United Nations of our independence and seek recognition and will require a lot of support from the world body to succeed." Meanwhile, Octogenarian leader of the separatist movement in his inaugural speech disclosed that the new state can now boast of its own currency, coat of arms, among other things and cited the recent omission of roads in the Volta Region from the Critical Roads list in the 2020 budget.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main political opposition in Ghana, condemned the military deployment in Western Togoland (Volta Region) ahead of the 2020 Ghanaian elections. The move was widely critcised by the opposition, while K.T. Hammond, an MP for the ruling New Patriotic Party, stated that the deployment was partly to stop illegal immigrants from Togo crossing the border and registering for the election. Interior Minister Ambrose Derry stated that the military had been present since coronavirus measures were put in place. Critics, however, argued that Western Togolanders are being prevented from registering for the election as Western Togoland is an NDC stronghold.
The Ewe people traced their ancestral home from Oyo Region of Western Nigeria. The migrated to Ketu, which lies at the South-Eastern part of the Republic of Benin. From Ketu, they migrated and settled at Tado in Togo. They moved from Tado to settle in Notsie also in Togo. Their leader in Notsie was king Agorkoli, who was wicked to them. They could not stand the bad treatment meted out to them by King Agorkoli and therefore decided to leave Agorkoli Kingdom to settle in the Western Part of Togo. They entered Western Part of Togo in Three groups along the coast from Dzita trough Keta to Denu in the 16th Century.
The Agave (also Crophy) are an ethnic group of Ghana, belonging to the Ewe peoples. They are mainly farmers living in the eastern Accra Plain, west of the Volta River and north of the Songhor Lagoon. The Agave people are one of the largest Ewe subgroups. They live in the southern part of the Volta region of the republic of Ghana. Currently, they are located around the delta and estuary of the Volta River on both the east and the west banks. The Agave people have fifteen clans and are traditionally ruled by a paramount chief, surrounded by warrior chiefs.
The First group that came to Western Part of Togoland included the Anlo, Afife, Klikor, Ave, Some, Fenyi, Tsiame, Mafi and Tavia Ewe speaking People. The were led by King Amega Wenya. They settled along river Volta around the Keta Lagoon. The second group that came to Western Part of Togoland included the Ewes at Ho, Takla, Kpetoe, Hodzo, Klevi,Sokode, Abutia and Adaklo. They were largely famers and there settled in the forest belt along the Northern half of the Volta Region. The third group of Ewes that came to Western Part of Togoland included the Ewes at Hohoe, Kpando, Awudome, Kpalime, Vue, Agu, Peki and Wodze.
The territory of Western Togoland was first colonized by Germany in 1884 and incorporated into the Togoland colony. After 1918, following the defeat of Germany, the League of Nations divided the German colony of Togoland from north to south, a decision that divided the Ewe people among the Gold Coast, British Togoland, and French Togoland. After 1945, the UN took over the Togoland mandates. During the 1950s, when the independence of Ghana was in sight, demands grew for a separate Ewe state, an idea that Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the Gold Coast independence movement, opposed.
The Togoland unification problem was first considered in 1947, when the Trusteeship Council, at its second session, examined seven petitions from the All-Ewe Conference and from Mr. Augustino de Souza, President of the Comite de !'unite togolaise, requesting that the Ewe people should be unified under a single administration. Under the title the "Ewe and Togoland unification problem" the question had been brought before the General Assembly and the Trusteeship Council and had to be given special consideration by previous periodic Visiting Missions to the two Trust Territories of Togoland.
The General Assembly had before it a white paper issued by the Government of the Gold Coast in 1953, defining its attitude to the Togoland problem. This referred to the insistence of the paramount chiefs and people of four important Northern Territories States which extend into Togoland that a decision on the future of the northern section of Togoland should be taken before any further advance was made towards self-government. The White Paper referred to a statement by the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast, expressing confidence that when the time to amend the Trusteeship Agreement came, the United Nations would not "fail to give satisfaction to the frequently reiterated and unanimous demand of the people of the Northern Section for their area to become part of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast".
Following a UN plebiscite in May 1956, in which a majority of the Ewe voted for union with Ghana, British Togoland became part of the Gold Coast. Prior to the July 1956 general elections in the Gold Coast, a plebiscite was conducted under United Nations (UN) auspices to decide the future disposition of British Togoland and French Togoland. The British trusteeship, the western portion of the former German colony, had been linked to the Gold Coast since 1919 and was represented in its parliament. The dominant ethnic group, the Ewe, were divided between the Gold Coast proper and the two Togos. A clear majority of Brit- ish Togoland inhabitants voted in favor of union with their western neighbors, and the area was absorbed into the Gold Coast. There was, however, vocal opposition to the incorporation from some of the Ewe in southern British Togoland.
After Togolese independence in 1960, relations between Togo and Ghana deteriorated, aggravated by political differences and incidents such as smuggling across their common border. At times, relations verged on open aggression.
During the mid-1970s, Togolese President General Gnassingbe Eyadema for a time revived the claim to a part or all of former British Togoland. Two leading Ewe members from the Volta Region sent a petition to the UN in 1974. By 1976 a Togoland Liberation Movement and a National Liberation Movement for Western Togoland existed and were agitating for separation from Ghana. The Eyadema government publicly backed their demands, although it subsequently agreed to cooperate with the Ghanaian government against the separatist movements and against smuggling.
In January 1976, Ghanaian-Togolese relations deteriorated after Togo urged a readjustment of their common border in Togo's favor. Ghana rejected this demand, citing the 1956 United Nations (UN) referendum, which had given western Togoland's population the choice of staying in Togo or ofjoining Ghana. Nevertheless, in March 1976, the Ghanaian government banned the National Liberation Movement for Western Togoland (NLMWT). Later that month, Ghanaian security forces arrested ten people near Togo's border and charged them with subversion for contacting Ghanaian dissidents in Togo. Although the NLMWT threatened to use force against Ghana unless the UN intervened in the crisis, it failed to launch a successful guerrilla war against Ghana.
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