Augustus William Kojo Thompson The Anti-Colonialist…


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Augustus William Kojo Thompson (1880 – 1950):

ONE OF THE FIRST GOLD COAST RADICAL NATIONALIST, ANTI-COLONIALIST, LEGAL PRACTITIONER and POLITICIAN AND ACCRA’s MEMBER OF THE GOLD COAST LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

By Kweku Darko Ankrah

He was the first Gold Coaster to found a political pressure group with the name Party attached to it- Ga Manbii Party.

Kojo Thompsons political radicalism with his Ga Manbii Party served as a precursor to Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumahs Convention Peoples Party (CPP).

He was responsible for the construction of Adabraka Market in 1926-27.

He was the father of late Tommy Thompson, the publisher and owner of the Free Press newspaper;

Kojo Thompson Road in Accra is named after him.

Kojo Thompson was arguably one of the enigmatic, skilful and controversial nationalist figures Ghana has ever produced.

He was prominent in the forefront of political activities in Gold Coast and Accra.

His eventful public political career spanning from 1924 to 1944, aroused extreme emotions and judgements in both foes and admirers alike.

S. S. Quarcoopome argues that the estimation of Kojo Thompson`s capabilities by his admirers more often than not had been rapturous.

For instance, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (then the editor of African Morning Post) described him as a man of destiny.

Accra`s Spectator Daily of 25 April 1941 also described him as “the most talked of politician in the Gold Coast who was fearless, independent, outspoken, conscientious and self-sacrificing patriot and leader;

hero of the people, and a terror at the Legislature;

who aimed at purity and the highest probity in thought and action.”

For his own Gamɛi (Ga people), Thompson was a saviour of Accra, a hero of Accra politics and Patriot number one.

For his critics, Thompson was more extravagant than constructive;

an opportunistic self-seeker without any clear cut political conviction and programme.

Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, the paramount Chief of Akyem Abuakwa State and the bitterest political opponent of Thompson contended that Thompson was nothing, but an agitator, hostile and condemning native authorities all the time.

E. Padu Nelson wrote in his article in the African Morning Post of 8 April 1936 that Kojo Thompson “had no respect for the Europeans who opened our eyes”, whilst Akilagpa Sawyerr, Gold Coast nationalist and the member of Accra Ratepayers Association (ARA) also contended that his appeal as a politician was only to the rabble.

A W. Kojo Thompson was born in 1880 at Winneba.

His father was J.S. Thompson, the F & A Swanzy trader who traces his ancestry to the Caribbean and his mother was Ellen Mills, a scion of the famous Accra Trading family, The Mills.

Young Kojo Thompson had his elementary education at Winneba, and later at Cape Coast.

He was moved to the Wesleyan Schools in Accra, from where he proceeded to the Wesleyan Boys High School at Lagos, Nigeria.

After completion, his uncle Mills (aka AniKweku) sponsored him to travel to England for his tertiary education.

He studied law and was called the bar at the Lincoln`s Inn in 1914.

Upon his return to Gold Coast, he concentrated his effort in his private legal practice until 1924.

From 1924, Kojo Thompson flirted with politics.

Ab initio, the trajectory of his nationalist politics clearly reveal that he was a sympathiser of the original Aborigines Right Protection Society (ARPS) ideals championed by the uncompromising and radical Gold Coast nationalist Kobina Sekyi.

Kojo Thompson was anti-colonialist cum imperialist, and his aversion for the British in the Gold Coast made him attack every indigenous structure and educated elites who worked or collaborated with the British.

Thus, even before he made his foray into the Gold Coast political landscape, in 1921 he had close cooperation and collaboration with Kobina Sekyi which lasted throughout his political career.

In the famous Asamankese case which commenced in 1921, Thompson and Sekyi worked together as counsels for the chiefs of Asamankese and Akwatia in their bid for independence from the Paramountcy….


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