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Government of Ghana

 

In January 1948, Nii Kwabena Bonne III, a Ga Chief organized a general boycott of all European imports. A series of riots followed the boycott in early February, 1948. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the famous February 28, 1948 incident. Unarmed ex-servicemen marched to the Christiansborg Castle on that day to submit a petition to the Governor about their poor conditions. Superintendent Imray, a white police officer, ordered the policemen at the castle to shoot. When the police refused to do so, Imray himself opened fire on the unarmed soldiers at the Christiansborg crossroad. Three of the leaders namely; Sergeant Adjetey, Private Odartey Lamptey and Corporal Attipoe fell dead. Thereafter, riots broke out in Accra. European and Asian stores were looted by the angry mob. The rioters forced open the Central Prison and set free its inmates.


After the riots, the Nationalist leaders in Ghana sent a strong worded cable to the Secretary of State in London. They blamed the Governor, Sir Gerald Creasy, greatly. They called him "Crazy Creasy" because he had failed to handle the problems facing the country. The Secretary of State however blamed the Nationalist leaders for being responsible for the disturbances in the country. Consequently, six of the leading nationalist were arrested and detained. They were popularly referred to as the BIG SIX. These leaders were J.B Danquah, Kwame Nkrumah, Obetsebi Lamptey, Akuffo Addo, William Ofori Atta and Ako Adjei.

The U.G.C.C. which awakened fervent national consciousness in the Gold Coast was what might be described as a liberal group with its slogan of "Self-government in the shortest possible time." This attitude did not please Nkrumah who wanted "Self-government Now".

Following disagreement of ideologies, Kwame Nkrumah left the U.G.C.C. and formed a more radical nationalist party -Convention People’s Party (C.P.P) on June 12th, 1949 with its motto "self-government now". He was joined by Kojo Botsio, K.A Gbedemah and others.

On 9th January, 1950 the C.P.P organized a nation-wide boycott and strike for workers and the masses. The people refused to buy all British goods. Workers were warned not to cause any trouble. In the cause of the riots however, two policemen were shot dead. On January 21st 1950, Nkrumah and other leading C.P.P members including Kojo Botsio and K.A. Gbedemah were imprisoned at the James Fort Prison, Accra, on charges arising from pursuing what was termed as "Positive Action" against the Government. The imprisonment of Nkrumah made him a hero and martyr in the eyes of the people.


In 1951, the pace was set for general elections. Kwame Nkrumah was in prison when the elections were conducted. He overwhelmingly won the elections and was released by the then Governor, Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clark to head the new government. This however became the British Colony’s first African government. In March 1952, Kwame Nkrumah was designated Prime Minister. He was to appoint a cabinet, which was not to be responsible to the Governor but the Assembly.

 

Kwame Nkrumah in June 1953 submitted proposals for a new constitution. It was upon those that the April 1954 constitution was introduced making the country virtually self-governing. This new constitution provided for an All-African cabinet from an enlarged legislature. A general election followed in June 1954 from which the C.P.P won 79 out of the 104 seats of the National Assembly.

In 1956, another election was held in response to a pledge by the British Secretary of State for the colonies that if the newly elected legislature, by a reasonable majority, passed a resolution calling for independence; a firm date for the changeover would be announced. C.P.P won 71 out of the 104 contested seats. The British Mandated Togoland also held a plebiscite to join the Gold Coast.

This action opened the way for Ghana’s Independence and on 6th March, 1957, the curtain was drawn on the old order. The country emerged as the first country in Africa, South of the Sahara to regain independence from colonial rule. A new chapter was opened in the history of Ghana. On the eve of Ghana’s independence, Kwame Nkrumah (then Prime Minister) proclaimed at the old Polo Grounds in Accra: "At long last, the battle has ended and Ghana, our beloved country is free forever."


Ghana spearheaded the political liberation of colonized Africa from the very first day of her Independence. Dr. Nkrumah championed the cause of African Unity which let to the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU). Ghana became a sovereign member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement.

   
     
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