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Convention People’s Party

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) is a socialist political party in Ghana, based on the ideas of former President Kwame Nkrumah.

The CPP was formed in 1949 by Kwame Nkrumah to campaign for the independence of the Gold Coast. It ruled Ghana from 1957 to 1966. During the latter part of the CPP rule, the constitution was changed to make it the only legal party in Ghana, making the nation a one-party state. The party was banned after the February 24, 1966 coup d’état by the National Liberation Council. Parties following in its tradition have used various names. The party was reformed from some of the Nkrumah factions in 1996.

Creation

The United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) had been formed in 1947 with the goal of bringing about independence for Ghana. Kwame Nkrumah thought the UGCC’s opposition to the colonial rulers lacked the necessary vehemence and urgency; he wanted immediate independence. Breaking from the UGCC on these grounds, he founded the CPP with the motto “self-government now”. On 9 January 1950 the CPP called for countrywide boycotts and strikes. In the course of these, two policemen were shot dead, and the CPP leadership was arrested and imprisoned. This only increased Nkrumah’s popularity. When general elections were held in 1951, the CPP won decisively despite the imprisonment of Dr Nkrumah and other party leaders. Nkrumah was subsequently released to form the colony’s first African government.

CPP Achieves Independence

With all this background, Nkrumah formed his first African cabinet in the British Empire in 1951. This was not independence yet. He still rejected the idea that local rulers who favored the British should be given a role in governing, since he viewed them as undemocratic. Ironically, he would eventually become head of a one-party state.

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In 1956 further elections were held, with the British promising that if the majority of the people called for it, a date for independence would be set. The CPP won 71 out 104 seats, paving the way for Ghana to gain its independence on 6 March 1957. In 1958, two pieces of legislation approved by the CPP would help hasten Nkrumah’s downfall. One was the Trade Union Act, which made strikes illegal, and the Preventive Detention Act, which allowed the government to detain political opponents without trial. The final step was heavily rigged referendum in 1964 which made the CPP the only legal party, with Nkrumah as president for life of both nation and party.

The stage was set for the overthrow of the CPP in 1966 in a coup d’état by the National Liberation Council.

After the coup, the CPP was banned.

CPP rebirth

The CPP remained dissolved till January 29, 1996, when the National Convention Party and the People’s Convention Party merged to form a new Convention People’s Party. The CPP has contested each election since 1996.

At the elections, 7 December 2004, the party won 3 out of 230 seats. Its candidate in the presidential elections, George Aggudey, won only 1.0% of the vote.

In the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana, the party won one parliamentary seat; that of Samia Nkrumah in the Jomoro constituency. The presidential candidate, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom performed below expectation managing to get 1.4% of total valid votes.

Election results

Parliamentary elections
Election     Number of CPP votes     Share of votes     Seats     Outcome of election
2008     252,266     3.0%     1     Only one seat
2004     257,466     3.0%     3     With others in opposition
2000     85,643     1.3%     1     One seat in opposition
1965         100%     198     One party state. Elected unopposed.
1956             71     Parliament at independence in March 1957.
1954             71     Majority in Legislative Assembly with CPP government.
1951         Not available     Not available     First CPP government under colonial rule.
[edit] Presidential elections
Election     Candidate     Number of votes     Share of votes     Outcome of election
2008     Paa Kwesi Nduom     113,494     1.3%     Placed 3rd
2004     George Aggudey     85,968     1.0%     4th of 4
2000     George Hagan     115,641     1.8%     4th of 7
1965     Kwame Nkrumah             Elected unopposed.
1960     Kwame Nkrumah     1,016,076     89.07%     First Ghanaian president

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