THE MAIN POLITICAL EVENTS IN THE GOLD COAST BETWEEN 1951 AND 1957
The independence of Ghana did not just come from the skies. There were a lot of events in the years leading to the 6th March, 1957declaration of independence by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Some of these events are discussed below.
- The general elections of 1951: The first major political activity of the period under review was the February, 1951 general elections. The contesting parties included, but were not limited to, the Convention People’s Party, the National Democratic Party, United Gold Coast Convention and the People’s Democratic Party. The parties were contesting for 38 seats. In the end, the convention people’s Party swept the polls, capturing 34 of the 38 seats. Its leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, became the leader of Government Business, a position akin to that of a Prime Minister.
- Reforms in Local Government Administration: Another major political event was the reforms in Local Government administration of the colony. The District and Urban Councils came to replace the Native Authority system that was being implemented. One of the major functions of the District and Urban Councils was the provision of social amenities and the stimulation of economic activities in the colony.
- The Nkrumah constitution of 1954: The introduction of the 1954 constitution, also called the Nkrumah constitution, was another major political event of the period. One of the main features of the constitution was the introduction of self-rule, making the Gold Coast partially independent.
- The formation of the National Liberation Movement: The formation of the National Liberation Movement constituted a major political development within the period under consideration. The movement was a regional one, formed in 1954. One of the demands of the movement was the introduction of a federal system of government to promote regional autonomy. The C.P.P. on the other hand argued that the unitary system already in operation must be maintained. In the end, it took therecommendations of the Bourn Committee to resolve the matter.
- The 1956 plebiscite: Another major political event was the 1956 plebiscite to determine whether the people of the Trans-Volta Togoland would decide to join the Gold Coast or not. The results of the plebiscite showed that majority of the people of the Trans-Volta Togoland wanted to be part of the Gold Coast.
- Ghana’s independence: The event which crowned the period under discussion was the independence of the Gold Coast. The Prime Minister of the Gold Coast, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah moved a motion in parliament for the independence of the Gold Coast. His motion was overwhelmingly supported. As a result, on March 6, 1957, the Gold Coast was declared independent.