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STATESMAN OPINION: OTI RIVER SAGA WILL BE DECIDED BY REFERENDUM, NOT ELITIST “VOLTARIANS”

General News

Since the decision whether or not a new region based on the Oti River district will be created in the Volta Region will be made in the upcoming referendum in December, this issue in effect is moot and has been settled by provisions outlined by the constitution.

Since the decision whether or not a new region based on the Oti River district will be created in the Volta Region will be made in the upcoming referendum in December, this issue in effect is moot and has been settled by provisions outlined by the constitution.

 

Despite this, a group of diehard, eccentric, elitist “Voltarians” ‒ mostly politicians with an agenda ‒ continue to complain about the constitutionally approved process currently in place.

When their party was in power they had multiple opportunities to develop the Volta Region and failed at every turn. Now they are making all sorts of ugly noises about the referendum even though all legal issues have been settled.

Interestingly, these rabble-rousers forget that this is not the first time that new regions have been created in Ghana and that, in fact, under the P/NDC government/s the Northern Region was re-demarcated into three regions, Upper East and Upper West becoming the two newly created entities.

Today, under the National Democratic Congress and the governing New Patriotic Party, several districts have been created legally in these regions to facilitate local administration and governance at the grass-roots level.

False propaganda

The propaganda being spun by disaffected elite “Voltarian” business and political groups is bent on churning out misinformation, including the notion that the Volta Region is home to only one ethnic group or tribe.

This is simply not true. Anybody who understands the demographics of the region and is familiar with its history can testify to this, regardless of party affiliation.

For some strange reason, the recent calls for unity which seem to be raised only when politically expedient are completely irrelevant. Politics aside, we all know how bitterly some communities fight others over “who is who” in the region, including age-old issues of conflicts that rear their ugly head on occasion among these groups.

For instance, without intending to escalate the problem or open old wounds, we know that there are traditional and political forces in the south of the region that are seen as more elite and powerful and others in mid-Volta that are seen as moderate and tolerant.

Still others up north are a mix of Northerners and Akans ‒ who all belong to separate traditional communities.

While they may not be that “elite and politically powerful” they, too, have a constitutional voice in matters which affect them as communities and as separate local governance entities with different jurisdictions.

People power

No politician, opinion leader or elite group from academia trying to rewrite history who hails from any other community can pretend to know what is best for the people who will be most affected by any change following the referendum.

The people themselves and their traditional leaders should make the decision, not politicians or private interests. The people alone have the constitutional right and power to determine the outcome; that is the purpose of the referendum.

For now, the cacophony of voices continues to create conflict. Propaganda and doublespeak, greed and envy, are muddying the waters and threatening to negate the sanctity of the impending referendum even before it has taken place.

The Volta Region has a history of voting in a particular language. If that language is divine, then the mixed cultures of the Volta Region will continue using it. However, if it is imposed and plastic, the people will know it is false and do not need the apostles of false unity assailing the airwaves and print media with their garbage.

Unless those obsessed with the geopolitics of the Volta River have something to lose, we at the Daily Statesman stand by our conviction that only the people affected – not all residents of the Volta Region – must be left to decide their destiny.