Tag: CPP


Why Are People from Volta Region Called Number 9?

The Ashantis go by the accolade Kotoko (the porcupine). They gained this accolade due to their military power and effective strategy in fighting wars since 1701. Their assertive claim that if a thousand Ashantis are annihilated in war, a thousand more will come to replace those decapitated (wokum apem a, apem beba), likened the Ashantis to the porcupine which releases its sharp long quills or spines and gets replaced almost immediately. Interestingly the Nzimas also call themselves Kotoko but the reason behind it may probably not be the same as that for the Ashantis.

This article will discuss why Voltarians are called “Number 9”.

At independence, Ghana was divided into seven administrative regions: Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Northern, Upper, Volta and Western. Brong Ahafo was the first region created after independence. It was carved out of the Ashanti Region in 1958. Anyone who went to school in the 60s and 70s will remember that Ghana had only eight regions. Yet Volta Region, which had existed since independence, was called “Number 9”. PNDCL 26 created Greater-Accra as a region on its own on 23rd July 1982. Greater-Accra, became the ninth region of Ghana. Yet the Volta Region retained its nickname of “Number 9”.

The youngest regions in Ghana are the Upper-West and Upper East which were created when the then Upper Region was divided into two by the PNDC government in 1983. Of course, the Volta Region continued to be called “Number 9”.

When Brong-Ahafo Region was created in 1958, it left the Ashanti Region completely “landlocked” within Ghana. The region has no borders with the outside world. Some observers say it was a deliberate ploy by Kwame Nkrumah to make it impossible for the Ashanti State, the heartland of the “matemeho” movement and congenital opponents of the CPP, from ever seceding from Ghana. When Greater-Accra region was created, it left the Eastern Region also “landlocked” within Ghana as it lost its sea border. It is, thus, only the Ashanti and Eastern Regions that share no borders with the outside world.

But how and why did the Volta Region get the nickname by which some people still call it? The well-

Wli Falls in the Volta region

Wli Falls in the Volta region

known fact must again be stated that the nickname “Number 9” is almost always used in a derogatory sense even if it is often said more as a joke than as a serious insult. The people of the region do not call themselves that and it is obvious they do not quite take much delight in being called so.

The derogatory connotation of the Volta nickname may come from it carrying a certain sense of “lateness”. This sense is reinforced by the fact that the region is made largely (but not completely) of the erstwhile Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT) which, until December 1956, was really not an integral part of the Gold Coast. Of the four entities that constituted modern Ghana, the TVT was the last to be formally joined to the Gold Coast (that became Ghana) even though the territory had long been administered by the British from their Accra seat as part of their Gold Coast “possession”.

It wouldn’t matter if the lateness denoted just that – lateness. But “Number 9” carries a sense of backwardness even though the region doesn’t come last on a range of important metrics. It is not the last region to be created, it is not the smallest region, it does not have the smallest population, and it does not have the lowest literacy rate. It does not come last in an alphabetic ordering of the regions of the county. Yet the nickname persists.

A second reason one can hear for the “Number 9” is that, until new codes were introduced in 2010, Volta Region’s code was 09. If you lived outside the region, you dialled 09 to get to the region. But this reason does not seem true. In the 60s, not many people had access to telephones and it is unlikely the region could be identified by its telephone code. Moreover, it is a bit difficult to assign a derogatory connotation to a region because of its telephone code number.

First Miss Ghana Monica Amekoafia

First Miss Ghana Monica Amekoafia

How did the “Number 9” come about? The reason is actually simple and one which, at a time, the people of the region would have been proud of. The first ever Miss Ghana competition was held on 4th March 1957, two days before our independence. It may have been conducted as part of our independence anniversary activities. The candidate representing the TVT (Volta Region), which had by then become an integral part of the new nation, had the identification number 9. Miss Monica Amekoafia, then 22 years old from Alavanyo in the Volta Region, and representing her region carrying lap number 9, went on to win the entire competition and was crowned as the first ever Miss Ghana. Ghana did not have television then (it wouldn’t come until 1964) and only those present at the function or listening to the radio (if it was broadcast live), would have seen or heard the announcers calling the Volta Region candidate by her lap number. The following day, the newspapers may have carried pictures of the candidates and their regions and their lap numbers.

People may have talked about the contest for days even as they still do today for “Ghana’s Most Beautiful”. Volta Region became identified with “Number 9”. If Ghanaians welcomed the TVT as part of Ghana, there might have been a lot of goodwill around. It was a time we all identified ourselves as Ghanaians. The tribalism we see today was virtually non-existent then. Those who then called Volta Region “Number 9” wouldn’t have done so for any diabolical reasons. That would come later on…

Today, there are still a few misconceptions about the Volta Region. The most serious is the one

districts in the Volta region

districts in the Volta region

which identifies the region with the erstwhile TVT. Today’s Volta Region is not identical with the former German colony of Togoland that the British took over in 1916. The CPP government made sure of that. Take a good look at the regional map of Ghana. The coastal areas of the Volta Region consisting of Anloga, Keta, Aflao, Denu and going up to Peki, Tsibu, Awudome, etc. were never part of the German colony of Togoland but are, today, parts of the Volta Region. These areas had been part of the Gold Coast since about the 1850s. Further north, parts of the present day Northern and Upper East regions were part of the erstwhile TVT but are not, today, part of Volta Region. The CPP government simply took the erstwhile TVT and divided it into several regions and added parts of the erstwhile Gold Coast to some of these regions. Just like in the case of the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, there may have been some strategic reasons behind this move. Today, the erstwhile TVT can be found in three different regions. How can they succeed in seceding?

If you look at the map of the erstwhile TVT, you will notice that its southern border is a straight line just below Ho. This is one more evidence of the saying that in the scramble for Africa, the colonial powers used “ruler and pencil” to carve out Africa among themselves. The borders of the erstwhile TVT cut the Ewes in two “by heart”. That was why areas like Peki, Tsibu and even Kpeve, whose Ewe likens that of the “northern Ewes” found themselves in the Gold Coast whereas nearby Ho found itself in German Togoland.

German Togoland included the whole of Togo and the erstwhile TVT. The Germans colonized it for some 25 years until the First World War when the British and the French pushed them out of the area as part of their war effort. They then divided the area between themselves. The British administered their part from the Gold Coast.

After the Second World War, the UN mandated the area as a trust territory for the British to look over.

Akosombo Dam in the Volta region

Akosombo Dam in the Volta region

They called it Trans Volta Togoland and added it to the Gold Coast, though as a separate entity. When Gold Coast independence was imminent, the British informed the UN they would not be able to continue administering the territory after Gold Coast became free. It was then that the controversial plebiscite was held and the people of the TVT voted to become part of the Gold Coast and formally did so in December 1956 in time for independence in March 1957. The French, however, continued to administer the French Togoland until they were forced to grant it independence in 1960.

Number 9 has been repeated by Ghanaians till today to refer to Voltarians in a derisive and derogatory manner. Those who say it, see Voltarians as backward and the 9th and last region of Ghana. It is often said that when a lie is repeated continuously it gains an element of truth. People have either refused or are unwilling to accept or learn the history of “Number 9”. The Bible states that for lack of knowledge my people perish.

Today, there is a poorly maintained statue of Miss Monica Amekoafia (now deceased) in front of the Post Office in Hohoe in the Volta Region. It commemorates her victory in the beauty pageant of 1957. I wonder how many of Hohoe’s citizens who pass by this statue every day know that it is the young lady’s victory in the year of our independence that is the cause of their region being called “Number 9”.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Ghana’s presidential elections 2012

Meet the Candidates:  Dr Abu Sakara

 

The NPP and NDC are not the only parties contesting the 2012 election…. Step forward the CPP (Convention People’s Party) and their enigmatic leader Dr Abu Sakara. Although he does not have the profile and support that messieurs President John Dramani and Nana Akufo-Addo enjoy, Dr Sakara is revelling in his underdog status to charm any potential undecided voters.

Michael Abu Sakara Foster is a Ghanaian agronomist (Agricultural Scientist) and politician. He is committed to rebuilding the CPP to provide Ghanaians an alternative choice to the two dominant parties. The CPP believe a win for them in the election will free the country from the antagonism between the two major parties which seem to be mired in the politics of acrimony to the detriment of the country.

Dr Sakara has supported parliamentarians in four constituencies in northern Ghana since 1996 and participated in two election campaigns. He has also been an active member of the Patriots whose efforts were aimed at rebuilding the CPP. He contested the 2007 congress and won a position as the first National vice chair person of the CPP.

Possibly his greatest moment in his fledgling mainstream political career was his strong performance in the first IEA Presidential debate. He came across as a competent leader and was viewed by many people as the winner of the first debate, outshining the two big names (Dramani & Akufo-Addo).

The CPP have campaigned along to a soundtrack that Ghana needs alternatives that the current two parties have failed to deliver when in power and that the governments current policies are not working.

Some of the key policies from the CPP manifesto “A new way forward, Ghana must work again” are as follows;

 

  • CPP are advocating increased state participation in the ownership of the oil and gas industry. Better auditing of the cost of exploration and development as well as improved monitoring of the output of the oil and gas.

 

 

  • Facilitate and support acquisition and utilisation of land by legislation for agricultural purposes, including fish, farming and ranching, with preference for local business.
    Support development of 200,000 hectares of sugar cane production in rotation with rice and soya bean within four years. This will provide more than 500,000 jobs in directly related industries and eliminate our protein deficit by providing a source of adequate animal feed.

 

 

  • A CPP Government will ensure the election of district chief executives within two years of coming into office. Abolish government appointees to the district assemblies
    Propose an increase of the District Assembly Common Fund from the current 7.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent.

 

 

  • They propose to implement the Whistle Blower law, which encourages the public to report corrupt practices, Pass the Freedom of Information Bill (if still pending) as part of a broad legislative agenda to improve governance and fight corruption.
    Ensure compliance with the Constitution and advocate to put open public assert declaration at the heart of public service.

 

While not expected to challenge the candidates of the two main parties at the election, Dr Sakara has slowly established the CPP as the third party in Ghanaian politics. Thus after a strong showing in the IEA Presidential debates this election could be an opportunity to cement this status and possibly make further gains.

The more choice for Ghanaian voters only makes for a stronger democracy.  Will this year’s election be the springboard for the CPP to challenge the two main parties in the future?

Leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana’s presidential debates: Round 1

As the two main Presidential candidates clash it is the underdog who rises to the challenge to charm voters in first debate

 

With the US Presidential election campaign and Hurricane Sandy dominating the news of late, you may not be aware that the Ghanaian Presidential debate took place on 30th October 2012 in Tamale. The CPP, NDC, NPP and PNC presidential candidates were all present in Ghana’s most northern city to engage in hotly contested televised discussion on some of the policies that matter most to voters.

President Mahama of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) being the flag-bearers of the biggest parties,  both put in professional performances. Mahama seemed slightly below par, perhaps as a result of being the incumbent, and spent much of his time lauding and defending the NDC’s record in government and not enough articulating his vision for the next four years. In contrast, Akufo-Addo took every opportunity to trumpet his flagship free Senior High School policy, and likely edged it in the vision stakes as a result.

However of the two minor parties, the Convention Peoples Party’s (CPP) Abu Sakara gave a good, technocratic performance and seems to have struck a chord with many viewers, especially the young. It is extremely unlikely that this performance enough to ensure he is in the running come the election but it was refreshing to see all the same. Hassan Ayariga of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) was less impressive and assessments of his performance by the media and online have been very unflattering. He seemed not to have a core focus to his arguments and at times butted in and looked as if he was supporting President Mahama with some of his comments.

Overall Nana Akufo-Addo will be happy with his efforts and President Mahama maybe less so, whilst Abu Skara ist not likely to win, he will be happy with the impact his performance had on voters. The next Presidential debate will be held in Accra on 20 November. We wait with anticipation…

If you saw the debate what did you make of it?  Which candidate are you backing to take Ghana forward?

This is an important time for Ghana so please join the debate and leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)