Today in History, on August 4,1947, Exactly 73 years ago, The United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was formed.
Although political organisations had existed in the British colony, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was the first nationalist movement with the aim of self-government ” in the shortest possible time”. Founded in August 1947 by educated Africans such as J.B. Danquah, A.G. Grant, R.A. Awoonor-Williams, Edward Akufo Addo (all lawyers except for Grant, who was a wealthy businessman), and others, the leadership of the organisation called for the replacement of Chiefs on the Legislative Council with educated persons.
For these political leaders, traditional governance, exercised largely via indirect rule, was identified with colonial interests and the past. They believed that it was their responsibility to lead their country into a new age. They also demanded that, given their education, the colonial administration should respect them and accord them positions of responsibility.
As one writer on the period reported, “The symbols of progress, science, freedom, youth, all became cues which the new leadership evoked and reinforced”. In particular, the UGCC leadership criticised the government for its failure to solve the problems of unemployment, inflation, and the disturbances that had come to characterise the society at the end of the war.
In 1947 when the UGCC was created in the Gold Coast to oppose colonial rule, Nkrumah was invited from London to become the movement’s general secretary.
Nkrumah’s tenure with the UGCC was a stormy one. In March 1948, he was arrested and detained with other leaders of the UGCC for political activism. Later, after the other members of the UGCC were invited to make recommendations to the Coussey Committee, which was advising the governor on the path to independence, Nkrumah broke with the UGCC and founded the CPP.
Unlike the UGCC call for self- government ” in the shortest possible time”, Nkrumah and the CPP asked for “self-government now”.