Feature:The United Gold Coast Convention fought for the Gold Coast, not Ghana – By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

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Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

This Akufo-Addo government has begun indulging in irritating pettiness too early in its tenure and will be hurt as such. Does it really matter when Ghana was born? Was Ghana even ever born? Or why it is that many years thereafter, life in Ghana is still difficult to live despite the over-abundance of resources that has attracted foreigners to make it big time in Ghana but that has turned Ghanaians into refugees in other people’s countries? (A lot of head-scratching here, if history serves any useful purpose).
Folks, the factors that turned voters against the John Mahama administration—and which put Akufo-Addo in power—have nothing to do with the political history of Ghana. The voters didn’t bother their heads over who led the Gold Coast to independence to be given the highest accolade. Neither did they lose any sleep over what date on which the country was “born” (or what kind of birth that might be—natural or caesarean)!!
All that triggered everything was based on the voters’ assessment of their living conditions vis-à-vis happenings around them and how they thought their electoral decision could change the paradigm for their good. They voted according to the dictates of their conscience (or manipulation by unseen hands doling out petty gifts). In the end, the results of the polls put Akufo-Addo in power to solve Ghana’s problems, not to worsen them.
Solving such problems demands more than attempting to play to the gallery. Particularly, anything being stage-managed to draw attention to who matters most in Ghana’s history is not only wayward but is also a tacit admission of failure to accomplish tasks so early in the affairs of this Akufo-Addo government.
That is what is happening now, which is disturbing. A country that seeks to grow doesn’t really have to remain fixated on pettiness as is the case now under Akufo-Addo. How does establishing who founded Ghana or when Ghana was born put food on the table of the suffering Ghanaian?
I have been given to know that today, August 4, has been set aside by the Akufo-Addo administration as a major milestone for the launching of a programme of activities to pinpoint August 4 as the birthday of Ghana. Thus a public lecture on the theme “4th August: Ghana’s day of Destiny” is to be given by the Speaker of parliament, Mike Ocquaye (who is no stranger to us for all the mesh or mess that he is in all capacities—an academic, politician, Reverend Minister, or whatever). And Akufo-Addo is the “Guest of Honour” (whatever it means in this context).
I pity these NPP people on their useless pursuit to revise Ghana’s history. They have already lost the cause/fight and will emerge at the end of the shouting match called “public lecture” none the wiser. Ghana’s history in the4 context of independence is already set in stone with march 6, 1957 as the indisputable rallying date.
Twisting issues to attempt downgrading this date is an exercise in stupidity. It is clear that this Akufo-Addo team of empty braggarts has too much time and too little to do—all against reality. (Public reaction to the state of affairs in Ghana under Akufo-Addo in just 7 months of his being in power speak volumes.
The mid-year budget review has attracted strongly negative reaction from their own constituents that should open their eyes to the reality unfolding. So also is the trouble being stoked by the government over the compulsory taxation of vehicle owners over towing. A lot is already stacked up against Akufo-Addo. Yet, he is bent on adding more to the lot).
History cannot be twisted to serve parochial interests. The UGCC was not a political party but a forum for the so-called elite at the time to show off, creating a smokescreen behind which to fight for their own interests. They lost big time when they brought on board the Great Osagyefo, an astute politician who could read deeper meanings into happenings at the time to launch his own CPP as a vanguard political front that the British Monarchy feared for what it was bent on doing. That was why they sided with him and brushed aside the doomed UGCC and its offspring (the treacherous National Liberation Movement and all its affiliates suffering from stunted political growth).
Let’s be clear here. Which of the elements of the Gold Coast were “united” enough to help the UGCC achieve its objectives? Clearly, the most potent force at the time for any political activity was the Joint Consultative Council of Chiefs, one of whose prominent members was the Akim Abuakwa Chief, Nana Sir Ofori Atta. Intriguingly, other strong chieftains in other parts of the territory had their own slices of influence that the British authorities respected, revered, feared, or disdained, depending on the circumstance.
But the hard truth must be acknowledged that the British colonial authorities did not fear the UGCC at all. Indeed, they derided it as an impotent gathering of self-acclaimed business folks with connections that couldn’t cut butter. They represented business interests that couldn’t survive without nurturing by the very system that they thought they could challenge.
How could Paa Grant get his money without British support in his trading activities? And would the British not be quick to sniff him out if he proved too be too much of a potentate without political maturity? Not so for Nkrumah who had little material weight but a huge political capital with which to confront and undermine the British colonial enterprise. Anybody seeing things the way I do here?
(Let’s recall the nationwide strike and arson against the enterprises of the Association of West African Merchants (AWAM—that would become a pejorative terminology in Ghanaian parlance) and why Nii Kwabena Bonnie IV, Osu Alata Mantse, enjoys more respect from those who know the history behind decolonization in our part of the world than the Paa Grants, J.B. Danquahs, and all those self-serving elitist elements in the UGCC could crave.). The Feb. 28, 1948 event that Nii Kwabena Bonnie spearheaded has more significance than the infinitesimal but annoying public posturing being given the traitorous J.B. Danquah and Co. by Akufo-Addo and his sub-standard government.)
The UGCC was spearheaded by Paa Grant, a merchant who invested his money in all that it did only to fade out because he had no political ambitions but economic interests or selfish ones at that to pursue. The UGCC itself was more of a forum for amalgamating economic interests than fighting for political independence because it wasn’t a political instrument at birth, in operation, and at death. How did it die, anyway?
Other notables in the UGCC, especially the traitorous Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, were so shortsighted as not to know how to deal with Nkrumah and his foresight. They chose to break ranks with him and to construct him as an enemy to be attacked from all angles. They did so and failed woefully.
Of course, we are told that it was Dr. Danquah who suggested that the name “Ghana” be given to the Gold Coast territory that Nkrumah was leading toward independence. (Apparently, he was informed by the abundant wealth of gold in the land, a direct reference to the old Ghana Empire that crumbled by 1240). Revisiting history/antecedent at this point was his successful lottery. If he didn’t see anything positive about Nkrumah’s agenda, why would he suggest such a name?
I hope I won’t wake up tomorrow to be told by the Akufo-Addo gang that the one who gave the name of the country at independence as “Ghana” should be regarded as the founder of the country and not the Great Osagyefo who used political force to beat the British colonizers. They are capable of doing anything politically mischievous. Such characters!!
In any case, at the time that Dr. Danquah made that suggestion, the UGCC had folded up. We cannot account for what became of it or its members (even though we can confirm that the conservative and reactionary ones took to the NLM and constituted a bastion for the anti-Nkrumah treachery.
Regardless of all that happened, they failed. The seed that they sowed in their offspring hasn’t borne any useful fruit for Ghana yet. All it has done is to poison the political environment. Can such characters ever come clean?
We wait to hear the “gas” that Mike Ocquaye will release and factor it into public discourse on the waywardness of this obnoxious Danquah-Busia political trash that is now our major national problem to solve. Ofui!!!
Let me land here to say that Ghana couldn’t have been born on August 4 as these NPP revisionist historians and politicians are over-extending themselves to establish because the objectives reality of the situation proved otherwise. Whist that objective reality gave rise to was the formation of a group made up of self-righteous exploiters of the economic situation who beguiled themselves into believing that their economic success could translate into anything political —even if they had no idea what that “political” was.
The UGCC was made up of self-righteous business entrepreneurs taking advantage of the colonial system who had no clue on what politics meant or how they could take control of the territory within which they were operating. Couldn’t that be the justification for their not wanting independence for the Gold Coast? Or their bated approach that Nkrumah dismissed as reactionary?
For the records, the CPP wanted independence for the Gold Coast through a gradual process that involved cherry=picking by the colonizers—giving the territory and its people what they thought was necessary at each historical juncture. Nkrumah saw things from a more radical angle and demanded independence in danger as against servitude in tranquility. And he succeeded; hence, there is a beautiful land of gold and everything that Nature has for the world called Ghana.
Folks, the truth is that the United Gold Coast Convention fought for the Gold Coast, not Ghana.
Let’s be proud of the record and not succumb to the treachery that this lame duck Akufo-Addo government is spinning around. Doom awaits him and his gang of liars, thieves, and manipulators. New to political power and its entailments, they are already overwhelmed and leaping large before looking. When the day of accountability dawns, they may not even get the change to weep, wail or gnash their teeth. Pitiable lost souls that history will swallow up!!

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