In this tutorial, we shall take an in-depth look at the factors responsible for the emergence of the National Liberation Movement in Ghanaian politics just before the country gained independence from colonial rule in 1957.
The National Liberation Movement (NLM) was launched in Kumasi at the Prince of Wales Park on Sunday 19th September 1954.
The event took place amidst the beating of drums, firing of musketry and the singing of Asante war songs. The move towards the formation of the National Liberation movement was spearheaded by Baffour Osei Yaw Akoto, the senior linguist of the Asantehene.
The National Liberation Movement was essentially an Asante regional party. The membership of the NLM was largely made up of aggrieved cocoa farmers, dissatisfied traditional rulers and disgruntled rebels from its arch-rival, the Convention People’s Party (CPP).
Notable among the aggrieved members of the CPP who broke ranks with their mother party to join the NLM were Antwi Kusi Anane, E.Y. Baffo, Osei Asibe Mensah, Yaw Kankam, Kusi Ampofo, and B.K. Owusu.
Top reasons for the emergence of the National Liberation Movement
1. The Convention People’s Party administration failed to keep its promise to cocoa farmers during the electioneering campaign in 1954 to increase the producer price of cocoa to 5 pounds.
The farmers’ grievance stemmed from the fact that Asante was the biggest cocoa growing area but to their annoyance, the price was pegged at only 3 pounds, 12 shillings.
2. The authority and influence of the chiefs were waning with the passing of the new Local Government Law which sought to deprive them of their powers and source of wealth.
3. The Asantes were also aggrieved over the allocation of parliamentary seats by the Van Lare Commission which allocated 21 seats to Asante as against 44 to the South. They had wanted 30 seats.
This heightened the fear that post-independence Ghana would be dominated by southerners
4. Many Asantes were also unhappy about the fact that most of the development projects were concentrated in the South even though their region produced much of the country’s wealth – cocoa and gold, for example.
5. Some C.P.P rebels who were expelled from the party also joined the N.L.M. to avenge their dismissal. They accused Kwame Nkrumah and the C.P.P of becoming too powerful and dictatorial.