Papavi Dies @87

The late Charles Kormi Kordzordzi, aka Papavi

The Octogenarian who led a group to claim they were seceding from Ghana to form an imaginary Western Togoland, causing intermittent security concerns, has passed on.

Charles Kormi Kordzordzi, aka Papavi Hogbedetor, 87, leader of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) reportedly died last Friday night (October 15, 2021) at Akatsi, in the Akatsi South Municipality of the Volta Region.

DAILY GUIDE sources close to the family say that the man who was on bail, pending trial for his involvement in breaching the peace of the country, had been receiving treatment at the St Paul’s Hospital at Akatsi.

The Volta Regional Police Command said it was yet to confirm the death of the man who recently said he will be disappointed in God if he is not allowed to see the secession of parts of Volta, Oti and the eastern parts of the north, to create the country called Western Togoland.

The educationist, born in April 1934, worked with the Ghana Education Service and retired at Kpando, his last post.

Since 2019, security agents have mounted a coordinated manhunt for Papavi and his assigns for their so-called attempted breakaway from Ghana.

The secessionist group was noted for pulling off activities around the independence celebration.

Curious Observation

Observers were concerned that the group heightened agitations for a breakaway only when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in office. Anytime the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which dominates the areas where the agitations are coming from are in power, little or no declaration for a breakaway from Ghana is heard from the group.

In 2019, the group declared their independence from Ghana and later started training recruits in a forest area in the Volta Region.

Soldiers from the 66 Artillery Regiment descended upon the location and arrested a number of suspects who were eventually sent to court but almost all of them have since been freed.

Apart from the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), there were also pseudo-groups like the Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF) and the Western Togoland Assembly (WTA) that claimed to have adopted different strategies but are purporting to fight for a common goal towards the secession agenda.

‘Independence’ Declaration

Papavi applied an assortment of tricks to push his so-called Western Togoland agenda.

When he was once arrested alongside some members of the Home Study Group Foundation and airlifted to Accra, he cut the picture of a frail old man hardly able to walk and relying heavily on a walking stick.

Many people, who saw him, exhibited empathy for Papavi when he disembarked the chopper and was taken to the security agents for processing.

Eventually, Papavi had the charges levelled against him dropped by the Attorney General on humanitarian grounds.

No Money

Even when he was released, he was unable to return home on his own; the state through the National Security had to provide a vehicle to drive him back home in the Volta Region where he was picked up.

He was said to have been given some undisclosed largesse to take care of himself only for him to regroup and start his treasonable acts all over again.

Funeral Decoy

In 2019, Papavi and his men pretended to be organising a funeral activity, with his sympathisers donning the characteristic mourning colours of red and black in the course of their treasonable declaration.

“He hoodwinked the security agents into believing that the activity was really a funeral programme. It was after the declaration that they discovered how they had been fooled.

“His different postures continue to be downloaded on social media following his declaration. Whereas one had him visiting a village, another showed him sitting with his wife,” a security source said at the time.

Trickery Traits

There is a school of thought that downgraded the threat of Papavi referring to him as a trickster who thinks he can make some money from the state through ‘negotiations’.

Some of his followers fell for his tricks as evidenced from a so-called military training they were undergoing in the hands of a lone soldier called Staff Sgt Samuel Kpogli, who was also arrested.

When the Papavi ‘recruits’ reported for the military training, they were passed out after a few days.

‘Presidential’ Broadcast

In an audio, Papavi once told security agents that he was in the country and would not present himself to them because he did not know what they would do with him.

In the video that went viral, he described himself as the man who brought about the idea of freedom for “our land and this we have been doing for some time now.”

“Last Saturday, it came to pass that a declaration was staged. Yes, we mean it. And that I am appealing to all of you, everyone to be peaceful. No declaration is staged without quarrel. It is always so. But we want to set the record for peace to prevail so that the whole world knows that we are peace-loving.”

He continued, “I am asking all kings, queens to advise their people, subordinates, subjects here and there to be peaceful. The youth should advise one another to be peaceful.”

Arrest Stories

He then ‘advised’ the government that “what has started happening is not the right thing. Going round arresting people in the streets, taking them and locking them up in cells, and also going to houses of every individual, particularly mine, and taking my near 70 years old wife and locking her up because the husband is talking on the freedom of a country. No, that is not the right thing.”

He said, “I have been arrested for a number of times (2017), and the very government of this country said she was no longer interested in the matter and was discharged. It came again when I spoke in 2019. I was taken to court a number of times and the government repeated the same thing. I think government is looking for peace. If now after government is not interested in the matter and I’m discharged together with those arrested with me yet the police insist that we should keep reporting to them, we did for more than several times, and it stopped somewhere (sic).”

Negotiation Bait

“If with this declaration we are being pursued again, I am asking government that if government feels that I should come back for the case to continue they are free to do so through my lawyers and I will present myself; but to look for me, I don’t know the reason, take me somewhere, I don’t know what they are going to do with me. Human as I am, I will not present myself; I am in the country anyway. I have not travelled (hidden) anywhere.”

Showing Maturity

Papavi said, “But I want the government to show maturity. Invite me legally through my lawyers and I will present myself for the case to continue. Please let us do justice.”

“Again, I am appealing to the international world, those in the corridors of peace, Amnesty International and all the groups we know, to come in to put the situation under control to avoid any possible mayhem,” he added.

From Fred K. Duodu, Ho