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Politics of Saturday, 17 February 2007

Source: Palaver Research Desk

Atta-Mills was not wrong about Ghana's Independence

It is strange how the Danquah-Busia political tradition is doing everything possible to re-write the political history of this country.

There is a columnist in the Ghanaian Chronicle who once produced an article and quoted profusely from Dr. Nkrumah?s ?Consciencism? and dishonestly attributed all the quotations to President Kufuor.

Another product of the Danquah-Busia political tradition, Kofi A. Boateng (the man who sought to present himself as a mouthpiece of all Ghanaians in the Diaspora and is the brain behind the ROPAA), in the Thursday, February 1, 2007, edition of the Daily Graphic, produced another horrifying masterpiece as far as distorting Ghana?s history is concerned. The Editor of that state-owned paper who is a lawyer and whose pro-NPP stance is not disputed, gleefully published the article without checking any of the false facts contained in it, obviously because it was taking a swipe at Professor Mills.

In the said article, Kofi Boateng tried to take apart the facts that Professor Mills laid bare at his encounter with the media to the effect that it is ironical that the Danquah-Busia tradition which opposed Kwame Nkrumah?s 1956 Motion for Ghana?s Independence are the ones who are in power as Ghana celebrates its 50th birthday.

According to Kofi A. Boateng the ?Motion of Destiny? moved by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the then Legislative Assembly did not take place in 1956 and that it took place in 1954. This is factually incorrect and flies in the face of the historical facts.

Any search at the National Archives will show that there were two motions both moved by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana?s history that have both been described by historians as ?Motion of Destiny?. The first was moved on 10th July, 1953 (and not 1954) and may be the one that Kofi A. Boateng was writing about.

The second was the ?Motion of Destiny for Independence? moved on 3rd August 1956, the debate on which was boycotted by Dr. Busia and the elements of the NLM, which was what Professor Mills was referring to. What Professor Mills did not add was that Busia and his cohorts went further to boycott the Independence celebrations themselves.

So when Prof. Mills stated that ?the irony is that it is the successors of the Busia-Danquah tradition who opposed the ?Motion of Destiny? moved by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1956 to pave the way for our Independence who are today the political leaders of Ghana---? the learned professor was just stating the facts as happened in 1956.

It is not a figment of the imagination of Prof Mills that the Danquah-Busia political tradition opposed the motion for the country?s march towards independence and it speaks for itself that Prof. Mills, the distinguished academic that he is, did not misrepresent the facts as Kofi A. Boateng sought to portray in his article.

ROPAA?s Kofi A. Boateng also wrote that Dr. Danquah was the Leader of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in the Legislative Assembly in 1954. This statement by the US-based Kofi A. Boateng is also another falsehood.

Dr. Danquah was NOT the Leader of the UGCC. The leader of the UGCC was Pa Grant.

Again, the UGCC was never in the Legislative Assembly in 1954 and therefore Dr. Danquah could not have been a member of the Legislative Assembly to have tabled a counter-motion as Kofi A. Boateng would have the unsuspecting public believe.

In the June 15, 1954, general election, the CPP was challenged not only by the UGCC but by as many as seven parties.

The parties were, Ghana Congress Party (GCP), Northern People?s Party (NPP), Muslim Association Party (MAP), Togoland Congress (TC), Anlo Youth Organisation (AYO), Ghana National Party (GNP) and the Ghana Action Party (GAP).

The CPP won 72 out of the 104 seats, the NPP won 12, the GCP won one, the MAP won one, the ATO won one and the TC won 3. The UGCC did not win any seat, so how could Dr. Danquah have become a member of the Legislative Assembly and go on to file a countermotion?

Clearly, but for the obstructionist tactics of the NLM, independence would have been attained long before 1957 as the NLM and its allies rejected all constitutional proposals and insisted on fresh elections as the only means of resolving the constitutional deadlock which they created, and so the British Government ordered that there should be fresh elections on July 17 1956.

The then Secretary of State, in his bid to get the CPP to acquiesce to fresh elections in order to stop the NLM and its allies from making the country ungovernable stated thus: ?I have told Dr. Nkrumah that if a general election is held, Her Majesty?s Government will be ready to accept a Motion calling for independence within the Commonwealth passed by a reasonable majority in a newly elected legislature and then to declare a firm date for this purpose?.

This began the final round in the battle for independence. The CPP was opposed on the electoral battle front by the ?mate me ho? (I have seceded) NLM and its allies (which did not include the UGCC because it was defunct at the time).

Whilst the CPP contested all 104 seats, the NLM and its allies contested 76 seats However, since 17 of the 45 independent candidates declared their support for the NLM and its allies, Dr. Busia, thinking that the coalition would win, told the colonial government that ?in accordance with the constitutional practice in the United Kingdom, the National Liberation Movement and its allies will expect Your Excellency to call upon Dr. K. A. Busia, their Parliamentary Leader, to form a Government should they (together with the independents supporting them) win more than fifty-two seats at the elections?.

The results however proved decisive for the CPP as they won 71 seats.

Of the opposition groups, the secessionist NLM won 12 seats, all in the Ashanti Region. The NPP won all its 15 seats in the Northern Region, with the TC, MAP and the Federal Youth Organisation (formerly Anlo Youth Organisation) winning two, one and one respectively. Therefore, in accordance with the earlier stated position of the Secretary of State, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah tabled the ?Motion of Destiny for Ghana?s Independence? on 3rd August 1956 in the new Legislative Assembly.

Because the opposition in Parliament did not take part in the debate since they insisted on a Federal system of Government and some constitutional guarantees, the Motion was passed by a vote of 72 to nil. What it means is that the colonial government accepted that the Legislative Assembly was properly constituted even though the opposition refused to participate and vote on the issue.

Since this vote clearly satisfied the condition laid down by the Secretary of State, the British Government could not but accept the motion and announced on 18th September 1956 that subject to the overwhelming Parliamentary approval for a march towards independence, Her Majesty?s Government intended that independence should come on or about March 6, 1957, and that is how the CPP led the then Gold Coast to stop flying the Union Jack and hoisted high the Red, Gold Green with the Black Star in the middle as the flag of Ghana.

In correcting another false impression that Kofi A. Boateng sought to create, it must be stated without any equivocation that Professor Mills never mentioned Dr. Danquah vis-?is the struggle for independence.

Also for the information of Kofi A. Boateng, the Danquah-Busia tradition led by Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia vehemently opposed the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Dr. Busia and his group saw the establishment of the OAU as part of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah?s ambition to become President of Africa and since their hatred for Nkrumah and the CPP knew no bounds, they did everything to kill the initiative except that their wish did not become horses for them to ride.

Ironically, the same point Professor Mills made ? which was the reason for Kofi A. Boateng attempting to re-write Ghana?s history, John Agyekum Kufuor, a quintessential Danquah-Busiaist, has just been given the mandate to chair the African Union (formerly the OAU).

Indeed, members of the Danquah-Busia political tradition have never believed in Pan-Africanism in terms of the establishment of a United States of Africa.

Finally, the point must emphatically be made that the break-up of the UGCC was inevitable because of the wide ideological difference between the elitist/conservative position of Dr. Danquah and his people as opposed to the left-wing cum Pan ?Africanist position of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Youth of the UGCC.

Kofi A. Boateng can get a copy of Professor Adu-Boahen?s book, ?Ghana: Evolution and Change in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries? and he will help himself pick up Ghana?s historical facts so he does not allow his low knowledge of events to become too obvious.