For the 60th anniversary, AAI will feature a monthly “From the Archives” blog, highlighting historical milestones in AAI and African history. This blog will feature verbatim historical documents from AAI’s files and articles from Africa Report, a monthly publication of in-depth analysis and reports chronicling the continent’s dramatic political and economic developments.
In light of the Ghana’s recent elections, the first blog highlights a news brief on 1956 elections in the former Gold Coast (now Ghana) from Africa Report. Published from 1956 through 1995, Africa Report became the most significant Africa-focused publication in the U.S.
Africa Report, July 5, 1956. Volume 1, Number 1.
ELECTIONS AND THE NEW GHANA. People of the Gold Coast will go to the polls in secret balloting on July 17 (July 12 in some northern areas) in an election which may foreshadow final arrangements for the country’s independence from Great Britain. All registered adults over 21 are eligible to vote and will cast direct ballots for representatives to the 104 member House of Assembly.
Still opposition to Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention Peoples Party has been developing in the Northern Territories and the storied region of Ashanti. In the latter, the National Liberation Movement has called for more power to the separate regions than Nkrumah wants, and has induced Professor Kofi Busia to present himself as a candidate for Prime Minister if Nkrumah is defeated.
A closely divided House might spell trouble. The British have promised to set a date for independence – if the new House can agree on an independence resolution by a “reasonable” (the term is undefined) majority.
Privately, Gold Coast sources expect independence to come around March of 1957. This will strip the Governor (now Sir Charles Arden-Clarke) of his veto powers (so far unused) and will in fact replace him, as long as the Gold Coast remains in the Commonwealth, with a Governor-General, ceremonial symbol of the Commonwealth tie.
Independence will also give the Gold Coast control over its defenses, an opportunity to change its name to Ghana, and foreign representation. Its first ambassadors are expected to go to London and Washington. In Washington this week, it was reported, Gold Coast representatives are quietly looking for a place to house their embassy.