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Ghana’s Western Togoland Region Declares Sovereignty

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images 2 Ghana's Western Togoland Region Declares Sovereignty

An area of eastern Ghana has declared itself a sovereign state. The region known as Western Togoland has had 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 Friday morning.
Local sources say the group are 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.
“This is a very serious situation because just few weeks ago we saw [what happened] when they mounted signs along the major roads welcoming people into the Western Togoland State,” a local resident told DW. “Blocking the roads with heaps of sand, burning tyres [and ] even holding security personnel hostage.”
About 12 hours before Friday’s dawn 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.
Seeking sovereignty
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 press release also claimed “roadblocks to assert its sovereignty are all over the Southern sector.”
The movement says it wants to force the Ghanaian government to join United Nations (UN) facilitated negotiations aiming to declare Western Togoland an independent state.
Ghanaian police have been ordered to “leave the region in 24 hours” and surrender weapons. Some radio stations appear to have been taken over by members of the WTRF. The group has demanded the release of prisoners currently being held in detention for secessionist activities.
Travelers urged to be cautious
Meanwhile, on Facebook, Ghanaian police have cautioned travellers to be aware of “security operations” in some communities in the Volta Region.
Local media have reported the minister of the affected Volta Region, Archibald Letsa, urged travelers to remain calm and allow security personnel to do their jobs.
A tumultuous past
The territory of Western Togoland was first colonized by Germany in 1884 and incorporated into the Togoland colony. After Germany’s defeat during the First World War, the colony of Togoland was divided between France and Britain as protectorates. The western part of Togoland became part of Britain’s Gold Coast colony, which became independent in 1957 to form modern-day Ghana. Togo gained independence from France in 1960.
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.
A previous unsuccessful attempt to declare Western Togoland independent from Ghana took place in 2017. In March 2020, around 80 members of the separatist group were detained for protesting the arrest of seven leaders of the Homeland Study Group Foundation. The charges were later dropped.

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Muslim World Protests , Condemns Macron’s Support For Offensive Cartoons

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67506 scaled Muslim World Protests , Condemns Macron's Support For Offensive Cartoons

– Charlie Hebdo published the cartoon amid tensions between France and Turkey
– French school teacher was beheaded for showing Mohammed cartoons to his class
– France President – Emmanuel Macron has drawn anger in the Islamic world by defending offensive cartoons
– Erdogan called the cartoonists ‘scoundrels’ and accused the West of wanting to ‘relaunch the crusades’ with attacks on Islam
– Bangladeshis joined calls to boycott French products, which is already underway in Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar
– Iranian newspaper depicted Macron as the Devil, as ambassador in Tehran was summoned in protest
The Islamic world’s anger at France deepened today as Turkey condemned a Charlie Hebdo cartoon showing its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifting a woman’s burka to look at her naked backside.
Erdogan called the cartoonists ‘scoundrels’ and accused the West of wanting to ‘relaunch the Crusades’ by attacking Islam after the image appeared on the front of this week’s magazine.
‘I don’t need to say anything to those scoundrels who insult my beloved prophet on such a scale,’ Erdogan said, calling it a ‘disgusting attack’.
Showing Erdogan in a T-shirt and underpants, the caricature has Erdogan saying ‘Ooh, the Prophet’ as he looks at the woman’s backside, and comes with the caption: ‘Erdogan – in private he’s very funny’.
A Charlie Hebdo cartoon showing the naked Prophet’s backside was the image which French school teacher Samuel Paty showed to his class in the lesson which led to his murder and beheading earlier this month.
French president Emmanuel Macron has staunchly defended free expression and the right to mock religion in the wake of the terror attack, but has become a target of anger in the Islamic world.
Turkey has vowed to take ‘legal, diplomatic actions’ in response to the cartoon while Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani also took aim at France today by warning that insulting the Prophet would encourage ‘violence and bloodshed’.
Rouhani said that ‘the West should understand that… insulting the Prophet is insulting all Muslims, all prophets, all human values, and trampling ethics’.
‘Insulting the prophet is no achievement. It’s immoral. It’s encouraging violence,’ Rouhani said in a televised speech during the weekly cabinet meeting.
‘It’s a surprise that this would come from those claiming culture and democracy, that they would somehow, even if unintentionally, encourage violence and bloodshed,’ he added.
Rouhani also called on the West to ‘stop interfering in Muslims’ internal affairs’ if it ‘truly seeks to achieve peace, equality, calm and security in today’s societies’.
European leaders have come to Macron’s defence in his row with Erdogan, with Britain’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab today calling on NATO allies to stand together in defence of tolerance and free speech.
‘The UK stands in solidarity with France and the French people in the wake of the appalling murder of Samuel Paty,’ Raab said in a veiled rebuke to Turkey.
Erdogan has accused the French leader of an ‘anti-Islam agenda’ and tangled with him on other issues including Syria and the Mediterranean.
The Ankara prosecutor’s office said it was launching an investigation into the publication of the cartoon.
‘French president Macron’s anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit,’ Erdogan’s top press aide Fahrettin Altun said today.
Altun said the image was a ‘most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred’.
‘Charlie Hebdo just published a series of so-called cartoons full of despicable images purportedly of our President,’ he said.
Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay also condemned the ‘immoral publication’ by what he called an ‘incorrigible French rag’.
‘I call on the moral and conscientious international community to speak out against this disgrace,’ the vice president said.
Macron has vowed that France will stick to its secular traditions and laws guaranteeing freedom of speech which allow publications such as Charlie Hebdo to produce inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
The French government has also shut down a Paris mosque and raided other Islamic associations in the wake of Paty’s killing in the Paris suburbs earlier this month.
Paty showed his students some of the cartoons in a lesson on free speech, leading to an online campaign against him which ended in his grisly murder.
An attack on Charlie Hebdo by jihadists in 2015 left 12 people dead, including some of its most famed cartoonists.Macron’s defence of Charlie Hebdo, and his recent comment that Islam worldwide is ‘in crisis’, have prompted Erdogan to urge Turks to boycott French products.
Macron’s stance has also sparked anti-France protests in Turkey and in other Muslim countries including Bangladesh.
Tehran summoned a senior French envoy, the charge d’affaires, and the Saudi foreign ministry posted on Twitter to denounce ‘the offensive cartoons of the Prophet’.
Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim slammed Macron’s comments on Islam being in crisis as ‘offensive’ and ‘unreasonable’, adding in a statement: ‘With freedom comes responsibility.’
Macron has also drawn fire in Pakistan and Morocco, while the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah have also spoken out against France.
Previously, European leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel had defended Macron after Erdogan suggested he needed ‘mental checks’.
‘They are defamatory comments that are completely unacceptable, particularly against the backdrop of the horrific murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist fanatic,’ Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
On Tuesday, Dutch PM Mark Rutte came to the defence of his country’s far-right politician Geert Wilders after Erdogan brought legal action against him.
Wilders had shared a cartoon of the Turkish president wearing an Ottoman hat shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse on Twitter.
‘I have a message for President Erdogan and that message is simple: In the Netherlands, freedom of expression is one of our highest values,’ Rutte said.

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Goodluck Jonathan Observing Tanzanian Election

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images 2020 10 28T153931.702 Goodluck Jonathan Observing Tanzanian Election

ELECTION DAY IN TANZANIA:
The African Union (AU) Expert Election Observer Team which I lead visited some polling stations in Dar es Salaam this morning as voting got underway in Tanzania’s general elections.
The African Union sees today’s polls as yet another opportunity for the good people of the United Republic of Tanzania to deepen democracy and peace in the country.
-GEJ

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#WTO – DG : France , Germany , 104 Other Countries Back Okonjo – Iweala

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images 2020 10 28T094609.198 #WTO - DG : France , Germany , 104 Other Countries Back Okonjo - Iweala

The 27 European Union member states have backed Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her bid to become the first African and first female director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
The EU member states are France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
The latest support for Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy brings the number of countries officially endorsing her to 106 out of the 164 states that comprise the WTO.
The 55-member African Union had earlier officially supported the former World Bank director over her sole remaining opponent, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea.
Okonjo-Iweala had also won the goodwill of a group of Caribbean and Pacific States as well as others from Asia.
The European Parliament endorsed Okonjo-Iweala to head the WTO, saying she is well-equipped. The Parliament had subsequently written the EU to support the Nigerian candidate.
When EU member states convened on Monday, they failed to find a consensus around the choice but the EU representatives reconvened and agreed to back Okonjo-Iweala, according to AFP news agency.
The WTO’s consultation process ends today and the new leader is expected to be named in November but an EU official said the EU will publicly announce its support for the 66-year-old economist today, according to AFP.
The final winner between the two women will replace Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo and former director-general of the 25-year-old trade organisation.
The initial pool of eight candidates for the WTO’s top post, which has been whittled down over two rounds of consultations, had included three Africans – Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya.
The third and final round of consultations seeking to establish consensus around one candidate is due to end today, with the announcement due in early November.
If Okonjo-Iweala is confirmed, she will join the WTO at a difficult time, with the world facing a deep post-coronavirus recession and a crisis of confidence in free trade and globalisation.
A trade war is brewing between the world’s anchor economies -the United States and China – and the European Union will see G7 member Britain leave its single market at the end of the year.
US President Donald Trump faces a tough battle for re-election early next month, but under his leadership, Washington’s relationship with the WTO has suffered.
His administration has appealed a WTO ruling that faulted US duties imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods.
Usually, the WTO Appellate Body would have three months to rule on any appeals filed.
But that process has been complicated since the WTO Appellate Body – also known as the supreme court of world trade – stopped functioning last December as the US blocked the appointment of new judges to the panel.

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