Decades ago, during the era of British colonial control in Ghana, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) arose as an important nationalist group seeking self-government for the Gold Coast under British sovereignty. . Co-founded by lawyer Joseph Boakye Danquah in 1947, the UGCC primarily consisted of the elite in the society at that time.
Among the influential figures within the UGCC was Dingle Foot, a British lawyer who played a crucial role in the party since its inception. Born on August 26, 1905, in Plymouth, Foot’s political skills and contributions quickly gained recognition in England. He attended Bembridge School, Isle of Wight, and later studied modern history at Balliol College, Oxford. Eventually, he became a lawyer after being called to the Bar at Grays Inn in 1930.
Dingle Foot’s political career flourished as he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare in Winston Churchill’s government in 1940. His role in advancing the blockade of Germany and the Axis powers during World War II was vital.
As a lawyer, Dingle Foot also provided legal counsel in various African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. Notably, he defended human rights activists like Jomo Kenyatta and Hastings Banda, among others.
The photograph of UGCC leaders and their lawyer, Dingle Foot, taken in 1948, showcases the founding members of the party, including Kwame Nkrumah and J.B Danquah. These leaders played pivotal roles in the eventual creation of the famous ‘Big Six,’ with Nkrumah eventually leading Ghana to independence in 1957.
Edward Akufo-Addo, seen in the top row, first on the left, was also part of the UGCC and later served as the president of Ghana. He is the father of the current Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The legacy of these individuals continues to be recognized as foundational to Ghana’s history and independence.
The UGCC spilt
As per britannica.com, J.B. Danquah, the founder of the UGCC, invited Kwame Nkrumah to join their efforts against British reforms leading to independence. However, details of what caused the rift between them remain unclear. Nkrumah was initially asked to be the Secretary-General of the UGCC, but tensions arose due to his increasingly radical nationalist approach.
The discord ultimately led to the split of the UGCC, with Nkrumah forming the more revolutionary and mass-oriented Convention People’s Party (CPP) in 1949. Meanwhile, Danquah and other UGCC members joined an official commission on constitutional reform sponsored by the British colonial government.
This division and the subsequent association of UGCC leaders with the colonial commission contributed to a lack of mass support for the UGCC. The party aimed to achieve constitutional reforms for self-governance under British rule, but with the emergence of the CPP under Nkrumah’s leadership, the dynamics of the independence movement changed significantly.
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