Togoland Secessionists Are Old Political Party With Old Immaterial Agendum

Feature Article Togoland Secessionists Are Old Political Party With Old Immaterial Agendum
OCT 1, 2020 LISTEN

On 13 December 1956, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 1044 on "The future of Togoland under British administration". By that resolution, the UN acknowledged the outcome of the plebiscite held in the Territory which was a majority in favour of unity with Gold Coast.

The resolution recommended that the United Kingdom effect the union of Togoland (British) with Gold Coast upon the independence of Gold Coast. To achieve this, under the Ghana Independence Act 1957 the United Kingdom annexed British Togoland to form part of Her Majesty’s dominions comprising the dominion named Ghana.

The campaign to vote against the union of British Togoland with Gold Coast and Ghana in the plebiscite held in 1956 was spearheaded by a political party called Togoland Congress Party (TCP). TCP is not a new name and amateur in the political arena of Gold Coast and Ghana. It was formed in 1951. The leader was S.G Antor. The political party won three seats in the Gold Coast elections of April 1954 and two seats in the July 1956 elections, but did not survive for long afterwards.

The Togoland Congress Party’s secondary goal was to campaign for the unification of the Ewe people in British Togoland and French Togoland as a separate Ewe state; however the party yet again failed in the May 1956 UN plebiscite held in British Togoland, which had resulted in the unification of British Togoland and the Gold Coast.

TCP gained more votes in two main cities of present day Volta Region, Ho and Kpando, in the plebiscite decision. TCP was dissolved in 1957 after the independence of Ghana, but it merged with United Party (UP). UP was a merger of six political parties, namely, the National Liberation Movement, the Northern People’s Party, Anlo Youth Organisation, Muslim Association Party, Togoland Congress and Ga Shifimo Kpee.

The United Party, under the leadership of Kofi Abrefa Busia, was the main opposition party in the First Republic of Ghana. It was the only opposition party throughout its existence from 1957 until 1964 when Ghana became a one party state. The Togoland Congress Party (TCP) and the Anlo Youth Organisation (AYO) were part of the political parties that formed the United Party (UP), but the two parties had different agenda for Ghana.

TCP had sought the means to form a sovereign state among the Ewes, while the AYO had sought the union of Ewes with Ghana. The agendum of a sovereign state of Trans-Togoland by TCP has not been abandoned till today. The TCP leaders are mainly with the present day National Democratic Congress (NDC) and have always intensified the voice of their agendum for the sovereign state of the Ewes in Ghana whenever NDC is not in power. But they face strong opposition from the Anlos and many other Ewe groups.

The secession of Ghana Togoland from Ghana by TCP is not possible for three main reasons. First, the Togoland Territory comprises not only Ewes, there are several other tribes found in the northern and the western parts of Volta Region, the Oti Region and the Northern Region of Ghana who are pleased to be Ghanaians. Second, the recent formation of Oti Region is a huge impediment and third, not all the Ewes are in support of secession. The TCP agendum is therefore an uphill task that is impossible to accomplish.

The territory of the British Togoland comprised other tribes apart from the Ewes. Besides, not all the Ewes in the territory supported the secession agendum. The Ewes were divided between unification and secession of the Trustee, and this was a problem for the political solution of the territory. The United Nations General Assembly on its 409th plenary meeting held on 20 December, 1952, considered the problem.

The General Assembly, under the theme, The Ewe and Togoland unification problem, 20 December 1952, File No. A/RES/65, heard from the various stakeholders in the conflict, and subsequently resolved on a plebiscite that was held on 9 May 1956.

The UN General Assembly report of 20 December 1052 stated that, Having heard the statements of Mr. Olympio (All-Ewe Conference), Mr. Antor and Mr. Odame (Joint Togoland Congress), and Mr. Kpodar (Parti togolais du progrès) (these were mainly from the Ewe tribe, without the active participation of the others tribes in the Trust Territory),

Having heard the observations of the representatives of the two Administering Authorities and taken note of the written observations of the United Kingdom Government on the special report of the Visiting Mission,

Noting the view set forth in paragraph 7 of the observations of the United Kingdom that "During this period of trust the Administering Authority must provide political institutions, systems of education and information, and freedom of speech and political activity; which will enable the various political parties to place their programmes before the people of the Trust Territory and, by democratic methods, to seek to enlist the support of a majority of that people",

Has concluded on 13 resolutions, Bearing in mind that the unification of the two Togolands, the British Togoland and the French Togoland, is the manifest aspiration of the majority of the population of both Trust Territories,

Desiring to promote the political advancement of the two Trust Territories and their freely expressed wishes in conformity with the basic objectives of the Trusteeship System as set forth in Article 76 of the Charter,

1. Continues to urge, as set out in its resolution 555 (VI), that the two Administering Authorities concerned and the peoples involved exert every effort to achieve a prompt, constructive and equitable settlement of the problem, taking fully into account the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned;

2. Regrets that the consultations undertaken by the Administering Authorities did not achieve the purpose of paragraph 5 of resolution 555 (VI) inasmuch as the election procedures devised did not result in the participation of all the major groups in the two Trust Territories;

3. Recommends that the two Administering Authorities concerned carry on full and extensive consultations with the principal political parties in the two Territories and make every effort to bring about the re-establishment of the Joint Council for Togoland Affairs, or a similar body, on a basis which will enlist the co-operation of all major segments of the population so that it may be an effective and representative organ for the consideration of the common problems of the two Territories;

4. Urges all the principal parties in the Two Territories to make every effort to assist constructively in these consultations;

5. Recommends further that the terms of reference of the Joint Council or similar body should be such as to enable it to consider and make recommendations upon all political, economic, social and educational matters affecting the two Trust Territories, including the question of the unification of the two Territories, and that, as a first stage, the Joint Council should be reconstituted, and re-established as soon as possible, by means of direct elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage exercised by secret ballot;

6. Invites the two Administering Authorities to give increasing attention to the possibilities of promoting and expediting the general development of Togoland under British administration and Togoland under French administration provided by the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance for the economic development of under-developed countries adopted by the United Nations;

7. Urges the two Administering Authorities to intensity their efforts to bring about the more rapid evolution of the northern parts of both Territories so that the peoples of these sections will be better qualified to play their role and express their views in the political development of the Territories;

8. Recommends that the two Administering Authorities concerned examine further all the frontier difficulties complained of in the various petitions and communications on this matter sent to the Trusteeship Council and to the Visiting Mission and that they take all possible steps to reduce or eliminate them;

9. Expresses its conviction that the implementation of the declared policies of the Administering Authorities will provide conditions in which the inhabitants of the Trust Territories can determine their own political destiny, and considers that this freedom of choice should be exercised through accepted democratic processes;

10. Recommends that the two Administering Authorities, through the joint Council or otherwise, take steps to promote common policies on political, economic, and social matters of mutual concern to the two Trust Territories;

11. Notes that resolution 643 (XI) of the Trusteeship Council requests the Administering Authorities to report fully to the Council in advance of the eighth session of the General Assembly on all steps taken by them pursuant to the special report of the 1952 Visiting Mission;

12. Requests the Administering Authorities to include in such reports accounts of steps taken by them pursuant to the present resolution, as well as a full account of all factors affecting the unification question;

13. Requests the Trusteeship Council to submit to the General Assembly at its next regular session a special report on the implementation by the Administering Authorities concerned of the present resolution and the action taken by the Council thereon.

409th plenary meeting,
20 December 1952.
A referendum on the status of the Trust Territory was consequently conducted on 9 May 1956, to determine the final status of the Territory, which had been a League of Nations mandate since World War I, then a United Nations Trust Territory under British control. The referendum offered residents the choice of remaining a Trust Territory until neighbouring French Togoland had decided upon its future, or becoming part of soon-to-be Ghana.

The Togoland native and dominant ethnic group, the Togolese Ewe people, Togolese Ewe-based Togoland Congress campaigned against and preferred amalgamation with French Togoland. The eventual result was reported to be 58% in favour of integration, although in the southern part of the territory 55% of voters, which comprised mainly the Ewes in the Territory, had voted for separation from Gold Coast and continue UN Trusteeship and later join the French Togoland, now the Republic of Togo.


Choice Votes %
Integration with Ghana 93,095 58.0
Remain UN Trusteeship and Join French Togoland Later 67,492 42.0
Invalid/blank votes
Total 160,587 100
Registered voters/turnout 194,230 82.7
Source: United Nation

The Anlo formed an organisation to fight against secession from Ghana. The Anlo Youth Organisation was formed by Mr Modesto Apaloo. The party mainly functioned in south-eastern Gold Coast, where the Anlos are located. The Anlos are a sub group of the Ewes found in Ghana and Togo. They were part of Togoland, the home of the Ewes and former German protectorate before World War I.

When in 1952, the British merged the south-eastern part of the Gold Coast, which was part of the Eastern Province, with the southern part of Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT), which left the Ewes divided with one half under British rule and the other half under French rule, part of the Anlos became part of the British Togoland.

The Anlo Youth Organisation campaigned to keep the British Togoland as part of Gold Coast at independence to form Ghana while the Togoland Congress preferred the UN Trust Territory to be rejoined with French Togoland. The Anlo Party performed well in the Plebiscite of 1956 that helped maintained British Togoland as part of Ghana. In the election held on 15 June 1954, the Anlo Party won one of the 104 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Mr Modesto Apaloo was the sole elected MP from this party.

After Ghana obtained independence on 6 March 1957, the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, 1957 (C.A. 38), was passed. Its purpose was to prohibit the existence of political parties that were based on predominantly " ethnic, religious, or other sectional interests, with effect from 31 December 1957".

The Avoidance of Discrimination Acts, 1957 (C.A. 38) was an Act to prohibit organizations using or engaging in tribal, regional, racial and religious propaganda to the detriment of any community, or securing the election of persons on account of their tribal, regional or religious affiliations and for other purpose connected therewith.

This meant that the name Anlo which refers to a section of the Ewe people made it illegal for the party to continue to exist under that law. All the opposition parties, including the National Liberation Movement, Moslem Association Party, Northern People's Party, Ga Shifimo Kpee, Togoland Congress and the Anlo Youth Organisation merged to form the United Party, under the leadership of Kofi Abrefa Busia, and won the 1967 General Election.

Over the years, the Ewes from the French Togoland, now the Republic of Togo, which were members of TCP, have maneuvered to increase their number in the southern part of the Volta Region to amplify their voice. They have not ceased to mingle with Ghanaian politics since they lost the plebiscite in 1956. In the recent new Ghana Card and new voter register, they were very active and had support from some Ghanaians to participate in their greater numbers. But these Ghanaians, who supported these maneuvers, either do not know the history of the territory or the agendum of TCP or they are part of the secession agendum.

Togoland was a former German Protectorate, but was split into two territories, the French Togoland and the British Togoland in 1916 after the First World War, which saw the defeat of the Germans. The British Togoland, officially the Mandate Territory of Togoland and later officially the Trust Territory of Togoland, came under the administration of the United Kingdom, and subsequently entered into union with Ghana, part becoming its Volta Region.

The British Togoland was not only the present day Volta Region, it comprised the eastern part of the present day Eastern, Oti, eastern parts of Northern and the eastern parts of North-East Regions of Ghana. It was effectively formed in 1916 by the splitting of the German protectorate of Togoland into two territories, French Togoland and British Togoland, during the First World War.

The British Togoland became a United Nations trust territory administered by the United Kingdom after World War II. Prior to the mandate and trusteeship periods, British Togoland was administered as part of the adjoining territory of the Gold Coast, under the name of Trans-Volta Togo (TVT).

On May 11, 1957, the British Colonial Secretary announced to the British Parliament that Gold Coast was to become the first black African nation to be granted independence from Britain.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Colonial Secretary Alan Lennox-Boyd said the Gold Coast will be allowed to govern itself within the Commonwealth provided a general election is held in the country.

The new West African state will incorporate the Gold Coast, Ashanti, the Northern Territories and Togoland, which recently voted to integrate with the Gold Coast.

He set the target date for independence at 6 March, 1957. The Gold Coast has been a British colony since 1901. After World War I part of the German colony of Togoland was mandated to the British, who linked it administratively with the Gold Coast colony.

The fledgling state will be named Ghana after an ancient West African kingdom which flourished from 300AD to 1100AD.

Ghana will be the first black African nation to become independent from Britain, but there are fears of internal fighting between various tribes in the region over a new constitution. For this reason, the minister is insisting on elections for a new legislature that will then be asked to approve self-governance.

The finance minister of the Gold Coast, Mr Gbedemah, welcomed Mr Lennox-Boyd's announcement today and in an interview with the BBC made assurances that elections would be held soon.

In the Gold Coast, nationalist activity intensified after World War II. Kwame Nkrumah of the Convention People's Party (CPP) emerged as the leading nationalist figure.

In 1951, Britain granted a new constitution, which had been drawn up by Africans, and general elections were held. The CPP won and Mr Nkrumah became prime minister.

The independent Ghana constituted four main territories; these were the Southern Territories, the Ashanti, the Northern Territories and the Togoland. All the territories became part of Gold Coast, and later Ghana, on treaties signed at various occasions with the Colonial British administration. Togoland was the last to come under British Colonial Rule.

The British Togoland, officially the Mandate Territory of Togoland and later officially the Trust Territory of Togoland, was a territory in West Africa, under the administration of the United Kingdom, which subsequently entered into union with Ghana, part becoming its Volta Region. The Trust Territory was effectively formed in 1916 by the splitting of the German protectorate of Togoland into two territories, French Togoland and British Togoland, during the First World War.

Initially, it was a League of Nations Class B mandate. In 1922, British Togoland was formally placed under British rule while French Togoland, now Togo, was placed under French rule. Following the Second World War, the political status of British Togoland changed – it became a United Nations Trust Territory, although still administered by the United Kingdom.

During the decolonization of Africa, the plebiscite was organised in British Togoland in May 1956 to decide the future of the territory. A majority of voters taking part voted to merge the territory with the neighbouring Gold Coast, a British Crown colony.

In a letter dated 6 March 1957 the United Kingdom Government informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations that with effect from midnight 6 March 1957, under the terms of the Ghana Independence Act 1957, the territories previously comprised in the Gold Coast, namely the Southern Territories, Ashanti, the Northern Territories and the Trust Territory of Togoland, became the independent State of Ghana.

The union of the former Trust Territory of Togoland, which was under the British administration, took place with the independent State of Ghana from the same time and date under the same Act that established the Independent State of Ghana. British Togoland's capital was Ho, which presently serves as the capital of Volta Region. The region includes much of the former mandate's territory.

The British government informed the UN in 1954 that it would be unable to administer the Trust Territory after 1957. In response, in December 1955, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution advising the British government to hold the plebiscite on the future of British Togoland, which was held on 9 May 1956. It was held under UN supervision with the choice between formal integration with the future independent Gold Coast or continuation as a Trust Territory.

The 1956 United Nations’ supervised plebiscite did not state a future date for reconsideration on the matter. The outcome of the plebiscite settled once and for all the issue with the British Togoland based on the majority of the people who had the Trust Territory as their home.

The Togoland Congress Party campaigned against integration. They raised a great vocal opposition to the incorporation of Trust Territory into Gold Coast and Ghana, but they lost and it was final. TCP later participated in Ghana elections and became part of the governing power in Ghana.

TCP formed part of the government of Ghana under the ticket of UP with Kofi Abrefa Busia as the leader and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ghana. The constituent tribe of the defunct Togoland Congress Party was Ewes, who have strong affiliation with the Ewes from Togo, the former French Togoland. Many of them are not Ghanaians, but have acquired the Ghanaian status in one way or the other.

These Ewes in Volta Region, who are presently campaigning for secession, were of Togoland Congress Party, who campaigned for a sovereign state of the British Togoland. They continue to recruit more Ewes from Togo and bring them into Ghana and maneuver to obtain Ghanaian identity for them, so they could use them later to push for secession. They are also recruiting many Ghanaian Ewes for similar agendum.