Soldiers from Ghana’s armed forces have been deployed to the volatile eastern Ghanaian region of Volta ahead of the general election which is scheduled for Monday, December 7.
The move is part of what the government says are security measures put in place to forestall feared attacks that may spring up in the lead-up or during the elections. Volta Region, in recent weeks, has been hit with protests and threats from a group that is demanding secession from the Ghanaian republic.
The group, known as the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), has been campaigning to break away some parts of Ghana into an independent state called Western Togoland.
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The HSGF IS based in the Volta Region and was founded in 1994 by Charles Kormi Kudzordzi Papavi. The founder claims the group was founded as a platform to discuss the political, civil and human rights of the people of Western Togoland, a pre-independence territory between Ghana and Togo that voted in a 1956 United Nations plebiscite to be part of Ghana.
The ruling New Patriotic Patriotic Party (NPP) led by the country’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has reiterated the need to secure the region that it deems liable to terror attacks. However, the region is also the stronghold of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ghana’s largest opposition party which was founded by the late Jerry Rawlings.
The NDC has called the decision to send soldiers to Volta, a political tactic of intimidation from the government. Its leader and candidate for the presidential election, John Mahama, a former president, has campaigned for the withdrawal of the troops before the election.
Mahama’s advocacy has been supported by the Volta regional house of chiefs, a council of tribe leaders. Last week, a letter from the chiefs to Ghana’s president said the council is of the view that the presence of soldiers will intimidate and “prevent [the people] from going out on 7th December 2020 to cast their votes in a peaceful manner.”