British Togoland was a United Nations Trust Territory, spanning down from Pusiga on the Gold Coast Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) border to Sokode about sixteen kilometres south of Ho, with a land size of 33,776 square kilometres.
A trust territory is a dependent country administered by another country under the supervision of the United Nations. It is different from a colony, which is only a dependent country administered by another country. It is, therefore, another falsehood, the claim by Ewe extremists that British Togoland was a sovereign nation. A sovereign state is a political entity which is independent in its own right and has the ability to implement its own laws. At the time, before March 6, 1957, the British Togoland and the Gold Coast were not sovereign states.
On December 15, 1955, the UN General Assembly, by Resolution 944(X), recommended to the British Togoland’s Administrative Authority (Britain) to take steps, in consultation with a UN Plebiscite Commissioner, to organise and conduct a plebiscite without delay under UN supervision to find out whether the majority of the inhabitants of the Territory would desire, either to unify with the Gold Coast on its independence day or continue to be a trust territory until a final resolution is found. This began with the registration of eligible voters on January 10, 1956, and a total of 194,230 persons, almost the entire adult suffrage, registered to vote.
The Territory’s Administrative Authority, Britain, appointed Lt. Col. Sir Arthur John Dring as the UK Plebiscite Administrator, while the UN appointed Mr. Eduardo Espinosa y Prieto as the UN Plebiscite Administrator, and his staff of observers to have supervisory role over Sir Dring and every aspect of the process of the plebiscite.
On May 9, 1956, of the six electoral districts made up of Mamprusi, Dagomba, Gonja, Buem/Krachi, Kpandu and Ho, only the two southernmost areas of Kpando and Ho, made up of the Ewe ethnic group, voted for separation. The overall results had 93,093 (58%) voting for unification, and 67,492 (42%) voting for separation.
It came out that only one-seventh of the Territory opted for separation, and that was an area of 4,824.7 square kilometres.
In the view of Sir John Dring, any partitioning of that small portion as a distinct political entity would be harmful to the long term interests of the inhabitants of the Territory, creating the most formidable administrative problems, and may also cause serious difficulties for the Gold Coast. So, going according to the spirit of the Plebiscite, unification was recommended as by the desire of the majority.
Despite some initial reservations by some member countries about the unification of British Togoland and Gold Coast, with some speaking out that the issue should have been reuniting the two Togolands, in the course of the debates that came up, the General Assembly, on December 13, 1956, adopted Resolution 1044(XI) to end the trusteeship and have British Togoland be in unification with Gold Coast (Ghana) on March 6, 1957, and so it became the fourth province. (Source: Yearbook of the United Nation, 1956 pages 368).
Certainly, this was no good news for the minority Ewes in British Togoland, since the results of the Plebiscite and the final determination of the UN did not favour their desire to be reunited with the Ewes in French Togoland.
Very determined to use all means, more foul than fair, these Ewes decided on the terrorist approach to resolve the matter. Gold Coast must never go independent, and so they did all they could to introduce a bloodbath in their districts during the months leading to independence and days after. (Source: Daily Graphic March 11, 1957).
When all failed, another approach was adopted, and it was by writing their side of the story and painting it so beautifully to win sympathy. Suddenly, a new nation was born in the minds of these Ewes called Western Togoland, and according to the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), a pro-secessionist group with its official language as English, Western Togoland has a population of four million people made up of the Ewe, Dangme, Avatime, Nyagbo,Tafi, Logba, Likpe, Ahlor, Nkonya, Santrokofi, Bowiri, Akpafu Buem-Lelemi Anyanga, Atwedi, Akebu, Ntrobo, Adele Kotokoli, Kokomba, Nanumba, Nawuri, Sisala, Nchumuru, Chokosi, Getaba, Moba, Gruma, Mamprusi and Busanga, among others. The basic religions were Christianity, Islam, Afa, Voodoo and Yeweh (Source: Western Togoland https://unpo.org/members/20425).
Even though British Togoland formed less than 15% of the total surface area of Ghana, the secessionists have placed Western Togoland at almost 30% of Ghana as shown in their logo, going on to add all Dangmes and all areas on the western side of the Volta River, which are not ethnically Ewe and the Akwamus.
In contrast, a map of the Gold Coast clearly shows that areas comprising Peki, Tognu, Agave and Anlo were part of the Colony. This is what some people choose to call the Volta triangle. Accordingly, a learned professor and an eminent Ewe, Prof. Emeritus D.E.K. Amenumey, who is an expert on this subject, stated in his feature, The Brouhaha over the Togoland Plebiscite, that the people of Peki, Tongu, Anlo, Some and related Ewe … had constituted part of the British colony of the Gold Coast right from the second half of the nineteenth Century, about the time the Gold Coast became a British colony.
Just as the Ewe extremists are contradicting each other about whether the Plebiscite was time-honoured or not, so are they about what area actually constituted the British Togoland or their Western Togoland.
In some reports, we are told that the area included Peki and down south to the sea, all of Dangme, from Ada to Kroboland, and all of Akwamu, from Akosombo eastwards.
For example, in a joint statement published on August 27, 2018, entitled HSGF Reaffirms Independence Claims, the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) and the Association of Western Togoland Youths (ASWESTOY) traced the geographical boundaries of Western Togoland from Aflao through to Keta Anyanui to Ada Foah, along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and stretching north, bordering Ghana up to Sankasi and Kulugungu in the north-west and Bawku in the north-east. (Source: https://unpo.org/article/21040?id=21040).
Even taking a cursory look at the map of British Togoland, some of the towns within it are Bawku, Nakpanduri, Wawjagwa, Gushiago, Yendi, Zabzugu, Bimbila, Dambai, Kete Krachi, Hohoe, Kpandu and Ho. It must also be known that the Volta Lake does not wash the shores of this territory until about mid-way between Ho and Kpandu, and that is the Anum area and a little beyond. In the south, Dzodze, Denu, Keta and Ada all fell within the Gold Coast. (Ref: https://www.britishempire.co.uk/images3/britishtogolandmap1919.jpg).
Strangely, even among the pro-Western Togolanders, they seem to be confused sometimes about which area constitutes Western Togoland.
Reading from the History of Togo (Source: http://www.historyworld.net/), it was specifically stated that after the German Togoland was divided between France and Great Britain, Britain had authority over the territory lying west of the central plateau, bordering the Gold Coast, and France was left with the economically more active areas of the former German colony, including the entire coastline and railway network. The emphasis was on the ENTIRE COASTLINE. This supports a statement by one of the pro-secessionist movements, the People’s Liberation Council of Western Togoland (PLC), where it volunteered alleged reasons why Britain wanted the Trust Territory to integrate into Ghana. And one of the reasons was that Western Togoland has no coastline to build a harbour for foreign trade. Even though the PLC added Ketu, Tognu and Anlo to Ho, Kpandu and Hohoe as the southern province districts of British Togoland, it did not debunk the claim by Britain that the territory had no coastline.
And, in another ridiculous excuse as to why the Southern Ewes did not partake in the plebiscite, the Association of Western Togoland Youths, in a press statement dated June18, 2018, under the heading, The Keta Basins and Oil Exploration, stated emphatically that the Anlos and others down south did not vote, because they made it clear “that no one votes to become a citizen of his God-given country.” So, if the Southern Ewes have such a good reason, why did the Northern Ewes vote at all? (Source of this information is from https://unpo.org/article/20905).
With all of the Northern ethnic groups of the former British Togoland strongly indicating that they were not into this business of separating from Ghana, and lately, strongly voicing out their dislike for this Western Togoland idea, as exhibited by the Oti people on December 27, 2019, the question is what area is left for the pro-secessionists to claim as their home country, their nation, to be called Western Togoland? With just an area of 4,824.7 sq. km, Western Togoland will become the thirty-first smallest nation in the world, but certainly far bigger than Mauritius, Bahrain, Singapore and the Seychelles. (On the Acts of Provocation and the Call for War of Independence, stay tuned for Part Four)
Hon. Daniel Dugan
THE 1956 PLEBISCITE CHRONICLES (4)
Acts of Provocations and the Call for War of Independence
There have been gross misrepresentations and provocations in the way some of the Ewe extremists and pro-Western Togoland campaigners come out to speak.
In a statement, dated August 27, 2018, entitled Western Togoland: HSGF Affirms Independence Claims, and published by Ghana News, the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) in a bid to drag ethnocentrism into the Oti region and Western Togoland issues, talked about threats from the Nzema people against TogbeAfede, in that clash of words between the Ewe chief and Hon. Freddy Blay.
The HGSF made it sound as if the NPP, Freddy Blay and the Nzema people were the aggressors and went on to issue a warning that the brave make very low noise but only strikes when necessary.
The HGSF succeeded in cunningly and dishonestly hiding the truth, since in that matter it was TogbeAfede who first accused Freddy Blay of acts of corruption and in his response a rather usually calm and tolerant Freddy, became livid and demanded to know how Togbe makes his money; maybe he sells palm wine while he Freddy sweeps the streets to make money. All hell broke loose, when The Ewe extremists claimed they heard NPP national chairman saying that TogbeAfede speaks like a palm wine seller and subsequently placed a ban on him from entering the Volta region.
Complete addiction to fabrications of issues by hiding the truth and spewing lies just to win sympathy from the powerful nations and institutions of this world has become the hallmark of these Ewe extremists. Without any shame they make statements and interpret things they want people to hear, understand and hope they go along with them.
One such person is George Nyarkpo, the secretary of the Association of Western Togoland Youth (ASWETOY) who, in a statement, dated November 6, 2017, under the heading Western Togoland: ASWETOY Urges Ghana to Refrain from Seizing or Renaming Territory, exposed his complete lack of understanding of words like union. In 1957 the British Togoland went into unification with Ghana and simple English will tell anyone that what took place was that the two became unified, they became united, they become a union, meaning they become a single unit.
The meaning of Unification which is from the Latin unificare (uni-one; facere-to make) should not be lost in meaning to anyone.
George Nyarkpo stated loud and clear that “This land was voted to be in a kind of Union with Gold Coast, now the Republic of Ghana in 1956. This Union didn’t state that the two lands are to merge and become one state. I refer you to go through the League of Nations/UN documents on this issue am drawing your attention to…”
Maybe George has a different meaning to the word “Union.” In effected he is telling us that the “the union of a man and woman in marriage does not mean they should live together.”
And what League of Nations/UN documents is he referring to? He must do well to produce them, for the document that mandated the unification of British Togoland to Gold Coast (Ghana) on March 6, 1957 is the UN Resolution 1044(X). That is the legal binding document which brought British Togoland in union with Ghana and this document is not time-bound. And as they want to drag along the other ethnic groups who voted to be in union with Ghana, to Western Togoland, will that country become an extreme form of dictatorship? Will it be in the form of autocracy, despotism, ethnocracy, fascism, feudalism, kakistocracy, ochlocracy, tyranny or monarchy?
Going on, George wanted us all to believe that people who speak “Twi” in the former Volta region must not be regarded as Akan citizenry of Ghana, forgetting that there is a paramountcy in Oti region which is under the Golden Stool.
This dangerous idea to blame any misfortune on Ewes to Akans, especially Asantes is plain cowardice and shifting of blame. In one of the most powerful Ewe royal families, Tamaklo, there is a royal Asante blood running through the veins of its members and same with the Prempeh royal family of Asanteman, where a royal Anlo blood runs through the veins of its members.
We have allowed politics to divide these two ethnic groups in Ghana and it all began with the unsavoury attacks by Dr. Agama on Akans when he stated on June 16, 1970 on the floor of parliament during a Private Member’s Motion that “…to place on record the voice of this House disapproving of and deploring this backward-looking act of the Busia administration…” and going on to tell the lie upheld by Ewe extremists to this day that “…that people were dismissed for been suspected to be one or all of the following. First, for being Ewes. Secondly for being Gas.”
When Hon. Kennedy Agyepong allegedly spoke of the extermination of Ewes after the brutal attack on Akans in the Business District of Accra by some Ga youth organized by Hon. NiiLanteVanderpuye, some Ewe extremists decided to use it as a case for Western Togoland. They effectively hid from the public what an Ewe from Wedome, Dr. Kodzi wrote in his book, Ghana: Worse Than Aparthied S. Africa, in which he identified Anlos as the problems all Ewes were facing and made a clarion call that the Anlos should be killed (Source: The Bruohaha About The Creation Of The Oti Region; The Ethnic Imbroglio-Part 2 by Gabriel Asare Nov. 21, 2018).
When KwabenaAgyapong said unpleasant words about Ewes in 2008, these Ewe extremists took offence, but they never want to talk about Prof. Kofi NyidevuAwoonor when he suggested in his book“The Ghanaian Revolution”that “he is Ewe First and Ghanaian Second” That “Ewes in the Armed Forces achieved the reputation of being notorious coup makers and plotters against successive governments because Ewes see themselves in opposition to all governments in Ghana which inevitably became Akan (Ashanti) dominated…..The contest for power is reduced in simple terms to a fierce contest between the Akan (Ashantis) and the Ewes…” He saw “Ewes as effective check on Ashanti effort at hegemony….and the purpose of the 31st December Revolution is to take away political and economic hegemony perpetrated by Akans, particularly Ashantis….CPP government fell because of the presence of corrupt Ashanti elements in the Party”
These extremists never explain to Ghanaians how come all the three judges and retired army officers who were Akans were killed by Ewe soldiers.
Sometimes one will only hope that none of such ethnocentric comments were made, because in giving the appropriate responses one could easily veer into unpleasant areas of ethnocentrism.
What we have on board now, after the good and discerning people of Oti registered their voice once again that they belong to Ghana and are Ghanaians, is the issue of Western Togoland.
This is a dream that will never die out and the earlier we as a nation confront this issue the better. Unfortunately for the Ewe extremists, no authority in Ghana, ECOWAS, AU, UN or any powerful nation can coerce, bribe, force or even suggest that those ethnic groups in British Togoland who voted to be in union with Ghana should pack their bags and baggage and follow the Ewes who voted not to be in union with Ghana. In plain words, this land usurping agenda by the Western Togolanders will only be a dream, a pipe dream. The only land size these Ewe extremists can carry along with them will be the 4,824.7 sq. km that has forever remained in opposition to Ghana. They should forget the area called Volta Triangle because it was a Gold Coast land from the nineteenth century when the British became our colonial masters. Luring and deceiving the Southern Ewes will not help, because the Truth will always come out.
No one should think Western Togoland of such a small size will not survive. There are nations much smaller than that size but are very successful, Singapore can be mentioned here.
The likes of MawuliKumeko who believe the truth must be supressed if it will even mean killing people and Peter ÄahianyoÅtun who believes only bloodbath could win independence for Western Togoland, and so called for the acquisition of arms and ammunitions and the training of the youth to kill Ghanaians, should never be given any chance.
We have heard of how bloody uprisings gave birth to nations like South Sudan, we know what is going on in Spain and the uncivil deeds in Cameroon where the English Cameroonians are being slaughtered for suggesting some form of autonomy. I will not suggest same for Ghana and if I had my way, the Western Togolanders must be given their request. We should come to a peaceful resolution of this demand in peace times and like the father of the prodigal son, allow them to go. They cannot, however come back as the prodigal son did, that is for sure.
These people never wanted to be in this union since 1956 and this message and desire has been passed down to the next generations who are ready to kill for the realization of this dream. There are members of the forces and other security services who are Ewes from northern Volta region and one would need to ask where their loyalty would lie should there be an outbreak of the war of independence of Western Togoland. (What Brought up all this Jazz? Stay tuned for the fifth and final part).
Hon Daniel Dugan