Akuffo Addo

Akuffo Addo has spoken about British Togoland

It was incredibly reassuring and encouraging to see that H.E. the President Akuffo Addo brazenly mentioned the British Togoland in his 6 March 2023 Independence Day Speech at Ho. He spoke briefly but profoundly. For some of us, it took a little pinching to trust what he said.

“Of course, I’m referring to the 1956 plebiscite, in which the citizens of what was then British Togoland decided to join the Gold Coast after the latter gained independence the following year on May 9 of that same year. Without that crucial historical event, Ghana as we know it now would not exist.

The President spoke the truth. However, this refresh­ing piece reference tells only part of the Togoland story. By UN Resolution 1044(XI) Brit­ain was, after the 1956 Pleb­iscite results were declared, invited to take such steps as necessary to bring about the union between British Togo­land and independent Gold Coast (Ghana)

But was there any political union effected between Inde­pendent Gold Coast (Ghana) and the UN Trust Territory of Togoland under Britain (British Togoland) on 6 March 1957 as claimed by the Notifi­cation Letter sent by Britain to the UN Secretary-General?

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The Notification Letter stated in part that,

“…Under the 1957 Ghana Independence Act the Union of the former Trust Territory of Togoland under Britain with the independent State of Ghana took place with effect from mid-night on 5/6 March, 1957.”

It is well known and widely acknowledged that creating a political union required democratic contracting between the parties involved, as well as due process, negotiation, and dialogue. Regrettably, Britain did not allow that in the cases of Ghana and British Togoland.

According to the notification letter, the union was established in accordance with the 1957 Ghana Independence Act. Yet Togoland was improperly subject to the 1957 Ghana Independence Act. The Ghana-Togoland Union could not have been effected or brought about by this inappropriate and incorrect Legislation. The Union wasn’t even mentioned in the Act once!

So did the 1957 Ghana Independence Act bring about the Ghana-British Togoland Union? Of course, it did not. But if Britain and her collab­orators in the UN claimed it did then they have to answer the following questions, (i) How and where was the Union negotiated and enacted and who were the contracting parties?

(ii) Where was the Union Document/Agreement/Deal that recognized, supported and gave the union legal ac­ceptance and backing?

(iii) Where was the Union government and how was it constituted?

(iv) Where and when was the Union celebrated or marked?

(v) Where and what were the Union’s coat of arms, flag and union anthem?

(vi) What type of union government was formed?

(vii) Did the so-called part­ner in the union, independent Gold Coast (Ghana), accept and approve of the Union?

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The Notification Letter was not only false, dishonest, and deceptive, but it was also a farce, and the UN ought to have handled it as such. The UN ought to have scrutinized it and performed meticulous due diligence. The forcible integration, like Morocco and Saharawi, was rather unfairly and unjustifiably imposed on British Togoland instead of a union, similar to that of England and Scotland, that was prescribed by UN resolution 944(X); voted for by the people of Togoland; approved by the Trusteeship Council resolution 1496; and equally approved by UN resolution 1044(XI). This was and still is incorrect, and it needs to be changed right away.

The 1957 Ghana Independence Act was not appropriate for or relevant to British Togoland, as was previously declared. The Gold Coast and its constituent portions, Gold Coast Colony, Ashanti, and the Northern Territories, were the intended beneficiaries of the Act. “An Act to make provision for, and in connection with, the attainment by the Gold Coast of fully responsible status within the British Commonwealth of Nations,” was the Act’s explicit title (7th February, 1957). Since Togoland was a trust territory and not a British colony, it was not subject to legislation passed for the Gold Coast unless it had UN approval.

Even more significant was the fact that the Gold Coast (Constitution) Order in Council, 1954 was superseded by the UN Charter and the Trusteeship Agreement on Togoland. According to the Trusteeship Agreement on British Togoland’s Article 5(a), British laws and regulations were inferior to those of Togo and were “subject to the requirements of the United Nations Charter and of this Agreement.” Before include British Togoland or any portion of it in the 1957 Ghana Independent Act, Britain should have requested and received approval from the UN.

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What happened on 6 March 1957 was not a union as prescribed by UN Resolu­tion 1044(XI) but a forcible integration of Togoland into Ghana. British Togoland, on the pretext of quelling a rebellion there, was invaded and occupied by Britain and the CPP Government around 4th March 1957. You may well recollect the brutal Alavanyo/Kpando crisis! After the occu­pation, British Togoland was subsequently forcibly inte­grated with independent Gold Coast (Ghana) on March 6 1957. Through this forcible integration British Togoland lost its national identity, dig­nity and inalienable rights. Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke, the last Governor of the Gold Coast, described this as the triumph of Gold Coast impe­rialism. “I am glad that Gold Coast imperialism has won.” Definitely, the imposition of Gold Coast imperialism on British Togoland was wrong and contrary to UN’s Charter and principles.

It should be noted that UN resolutions 944(X) and 1044(XI) called for a UNION, comparable to the England/Scotland model, rather than coercive merger like the Moroccan/Saharawi one. Keep in mind that the Togoland electorate chose unity over forced integration or occupation. It is obvious that what Britain imposed on March 6, 1957, was forced integration, which Sir Charles Arden-Clarke referred to as “Ghana imperialism,” rather than a Ghana-British Togoland Union. Governments in Ghana have to enact a number of objectionable laws, such as the Preventive Detention Act, Supreme Military Council Decree (20), Togoland (Assimilations of Law) Act, and the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, in order to implement and sustain this coercive integration or imperialism.

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