NATIONALISM IN GHANA
Ghana was one of the African countries that attained independence by the use of peaceful methods or constitutional method. Ghana was initially called Gold coast.
In 1946 the British colonial government introduced what was called the Burns constitution. Although this constitution provided for an African majority in the legislative council, it had two main weaknesses.
1. The legislative council was merely advisory and it did not have deliberative vote, the decisions were made by the British officials.
2. Its representatives were very limited because out of the eighteen, thirteen were chiefs who were selected by their fellow chiefs who were supporters of the colonial system.
The Burns aroused frustration among the Africans in Ghana especially elites. As a result they formed a nationalist movement known as the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 under the leadership of SB Danquah, Kwame Nkrumah was the secretary.
The UGCC organize numerous attacks to the colonial government, this forced it make another constitution known as the “coussey constitution”. This constitution proved for more elected members in the legislative council. In addition eight out of eleven cabinet posts were to be held by Africans.
The new constitution seemed to have pleased some of the members of the UGCC, but the radical ones e.g. Kwame Nkurumah broke away from the UGCC and formed another nationalist movement known as the Convention People Party (CPP) in 1947.
The CAP had two powerful slogans known as, “Seek first the political Kingdom and all things will be added unto it” and “self government now”. The CPP was advocating for complete independence and not changes in colonialism. There was a political movement known as the National Liberation Movements (NLM) that was formed to challenge CPP.
Reasons for a successful independence struggle in Ghana
There are various factors that account for a successful independence struggle in Ghana. It is one of the first African countries to attain independence. Ghana attained its independence in 1957.
1. Absence of tribalism.
There was absence of tribalism in Ghana whereby the political party, Convention Peoples Party was not associated with any major tribe in Ghana. The absence of tribalism made it possible for the nationalists to get enough support that was needed to present a common front against the colonial government.
2. Strong leadership.
Strong leadership is one of the factors that enabled Ghana to acquire her independence earlier than many African countries, Kwame Nkurumah was a strong leader who was able to unite all Africans in Ghana and fight for one common cause that is independence.
3. Clear policies
The Convention Peoples Party that fought for Ghana’s independence had clear policies and elaborates programs. The party advocated for better prices for peasants products high wages to African workers and getting rid of colonial rule. This impressive idea managed to get support of the people in the struggle for independence.
4. Common language.
The use of English as a common language helped greatly to the independence struggle in Ghana. This language was known to almost all the people in Ghana hence they became aware about the objectives of the Ghanaian nationalists and gave them the much needed support against the colonial government.
5. Absence of many white settlers.
There was absence of many white settlers in Ghana; the British had established a peasant economy thus they did not invest heavily. The absence of many white settlers made it easy for the British to grant independence to Ghana.
6. Good transport system.
Ghana had relatively a good transport system which was helped by the small nature of the country. The transport system made it possible for the nationalists to move around the country campaigning to overthrow the colonial regime.
7. Popularity of CPP.
The CPP was very popular in Ghana; the party had great support from the cocoa growers and the peasants and there were the ones who made up the biggest party of the population. The party became so popular that in the 1951 elections, it won 33 seats against the three of UGCC. Following this result a government and in 1952, he became the Gold coasts first prime minister. On March of 6 th 1957, the Gold coast became independent taking the name of the ancient Ghana Empire, In July 1960; Ghana became a republic with Kwame Nkurumah as the first president.
8. External forces
External forces such as the United Nations Organization rise of USSR and the USA contributed greatly to the independence of Ghana. The UN put pressure on Britain to grant independence to Ghana. The USSR pledged to assets all African countries in their struggle for independence.
Role of Ghana to African Nationalism
The independence of Ghana in 1957 marked a turning point in Africa, it played a great role in ensuring the rest of the continent is liberated from colonial rule and this cause was led by Kwame Nkurumah.
The independence of Ghana in 1957 inspired many African countries to fight for their independence as well. Kwame Nkurumah acted as a limelight to other African states that were still under colonialism to fight for their independence. This is one of the reasons that encouraged Africans to use armed struggle so as to attain independence.
2. Material support.
Ghana under Kwame Nkurumah provided financial support to most of the nationalist movements in Africa that were fighting for independence. The financial and moral support given by Nkurumah inspired many African countries to fight against colonial rule.
3. Headquarters of the pan African movement.
Following the independence of Ghana in 1957, Accra the capital city of Ghana became the headquarters of the pan African movement. The Pan African movement played a significant role in the independence of Ghana. In 1958 all independent states such as Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia and Ghana met in Accra where they laid strategies on how to help other African countries to attain independence.
4. Encouraged African unity.
Kwame Nkurumah contributed to the independent of many African countries by encouraging unity in the continent. He convened a meeting for all African trade unions in 1959 with the aim to unite all African states into a confederation. African unity was a crucial factor if African was to succeed against colonial rule.
5. Put pressure on France.
Kwame Nkurumah exerted a lot of pressure on France to grant independence to Algeria. In 1959 to 1960 a team of delegates from Africa, Britain and America went to monitor the situation in Algeria. It was Nkurumah who took initiative of such a visit. Ghana also pressurized France to end her dominated in West Africa.
6. The role of radio Ghana.
Radio Ghana played a great role in the struggle for independence. It became the mouth piece of African nationalist movements to air out their feelings towards colonial government exploitation and oppression. Broad casting on the radio led to massive support for the nationalist both in and outside Africa.
7. Ghana became the model.
Ghana under Nkurumah became the model for all African countries to emulate. Nkurumah once said that if he could, he would have delayed the independence of Ghana until a time when other Africa countries are independent. The position of Ghana encouraged many African countries to struggle for independence.