Decolonization through peaceful means refers to the process of independence without the use of armed struggle. In this method, the colonies used peaceful means such as negotiation, dialogues diplomacy while demanding for their freedom.


Decolonization through constitutional means was the process of fighting for independence from the colonialists by using peaceful means of using political parties. This method of struggle takes place through mass political organization. Some countries in Africa used this method to attain independence.

Most of the colonies, which attained their freedom through this means, were under the UNO Trusteeship council. The respective nationalistic leaders went almost annually to the UNO Trusteeship council to plead for the freedom of their countries.

Examples of the African countries which regained their freedom through constitutional means are/were Gold coast (Ghana) (1957), Tanganyika (1961), Nigeria, Malawi etc.


Ghana’s mass African nationalism began in 1940’s with the formation of political parties which demanded independence through peaceful or constitutional method.

The Africans in Gold Coast pressed the colonialists with mass political moves, and the British colonialists decided to form a constitution called the Burns Constitution, which stipulated that the majority of members in the legislative council would be the Africans.

The Africans, however, realized two major weaknesses of the Burns Constitution:

1. The legislative Council was only an advisory body which could not allow the Africans to make decisions.
2. The African representation was limited, contrary to the stipulation of the constitution, with most of the pro-colonial African chiefs representing the Africans.

In 1947 United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C.) was formed by J. B. Danquah, with Kwame Nkrumah being the General Secretary. The party was formed in opposition of the Burns Constitution. They started demanding for independence.

In 1948, the British government formed another constitution called the Coussey Constitution. A group of Africans opposed the constitution although it provided more chance for African representatives. Those who did not accept the constitution decided to break out from U.G.C.C. and formed Conventional People’s Party (C.P.P.) under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah.

Nkrumah became very popular, with support mainly from youths, especially primary school leavers; workers in different fields, peasants and cocoa farmers. CPP protested not only against colonialism but also against the structure of authority in which the Ashanti Chiefs had immense power.

Nkrumah advocated for positive action through the following methods:

1.    Legitimate political action.
2.    Newspaper and educational campaigns.
3.    Constitutional application of boycotts, strikes and non-cooperation based on the principle of absolute non-violence.

He also started a newspaper called Accra Evening News which he used to propagate CPP views and to foster mass mobilization.

Nkrumah’s moves threatened the colonial government. He was arrested, charged with incitement and imprisoned.

The struggles of parties led to holding elections for independence.

The elections took place in 1951 while Nkrumah was still in jail. CCP won 33 seats against 3 of UGCC. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was released from jail to form a government in 1952. He became the first Prime Minister in the Gold Coast.

In 1956 there were more elections. CPP won 71 seats and 33 were won by the opposition. On 6th March 1957 Gold Coast became independent, and the country took the name of the ancient empire – Ghana. In 1960 Ghana became a republic and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the president


Qn: Why Ghana was the first colony to get independence peaceful in Africa?

Strong unity and support of the mass at a national level to struggle for independence of Gold Coast. The CPP got great support from cocoa growers (farmers and peasants) who subscribed material support such as funds to engineer the struggle in Ghana.

CPP used nonviolent method in the struggle against colonial government. Nkrumah successfully organized political rallies, demonstration, strikes, Boycotts, sit-ins and nonwhite cooperation to weaken and unpopularize British colonial administration

Good, strong and charismatic leadership of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He was educated and very influential politician of the 20th century in Africa. He was able to form the nationalist political party CPP in 1948 which led Ghana to independence.

Good and clear policies and slogans of the CPP party which were well understood by all Ghanaians for example the most popular CPP slogan were “seek first the political kingdom and all things will be added into to it, self governance now and independence now”

Low Tribalism. Ghana did not suffer much from the problem of tribalism and ethnicity as opposed to other African colonies.

The presence of few settlers in Ghana. The presence of few settlers in Ghana made it possible for it to regain its independence earlier than any African colony.

The role played by the ex-soldiers in Ghana. The ex-soldiers were promised good jobs and other amenities once they returned from the wars. Unfortunately, due to high inflation, which was caused by the WW II, and I the colonial authorities failed to offer the ex-soldiers sufficient pensions and other benefits that they had promised them earlier. These unfulfilled promises led to riots, as a result, the ex-soldiers used the experience and exposure they had acquired during the war to organize and mobilize people to join the CPP towards the struggle for independence.

Ghana was considerably a small country geographically, besides it had good transport and communication system, which linked people together.

The role played by English language, which united Ghanaians together. Through this language, it was easy for the people to use this language to understand policy documents and slogans easily.

The role-played by newspapers for example the presence of the Accra Evening news. Nationalist leaders and writers wrote different articles in it to government through this, newspaper the CPP messages, policies and slogans reached the majority poor.


By its virtue of being the first colony south of Sahara to dismantle the chains of colonialism, the first President of the independent Ghana, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah uttered:

“The independence of Ghana would be meaningless if the rest of Africa remained in the shackles of colonialism.”

To affect this, Ghana championed the decolonization of other African colonies

Nkrumah embraced up the Pan-African movement and conferences. In April 1958, leaders and political activists from Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia and Ghana met in Accra-Ghana. This conference had agenda on how best the decolonization process could take place. It laid down methods and tactics to be employed in the liberation process.

Invitation of the countries. Ghana campaigned for the invitation of the countries, which were still under colonialism as they were given methods and plans as to how to paralyze (end) colonialism in their respective countries.

Formation of OAU. Nkrumah championed the formation of the Organization of African Unity, which both materially and morally supported the decolonization process in Africa. Ghana under Nkrumah pled other African countries, which were independent by 1960’s to form the OAU decolonization committee, which could work hand in hand with the UNO –Trusteeship council to end colonialism. The Nkrumah’s dream came into a good fruition on 25th May 1963 when the OAU was officially founded with its headquarters in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

Provision of Financial and moral support. Kwame Nkrumah and his independent Ghana provided financial and inspirited morally to continue with the decolonization process in countries like Nyasa land (Malawi) and Zaire

Establishment of ideological college. Ghana under Nkrumah, established an ideological college in Accra named after his name, which was responsible in teaching Ghanaians and other African teenagers the socialist Ideology and the struggle for independence. Many African leaders attended the training for example Robert Gabriel Mugabe attended the training where he harnessed a well of knowledge and skills on how best to struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe.

strengthened Pan – African movement. Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah strengthened Pan – African movement which opposed colonialism. In April 1958 all independent states like Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia were invited to meet in Accra. In 1960 there was another meeting in which the countries laid down plans which could be used to help other countries get their independence.

Ghana became a model to other African countries to emulate (cope). This made many African countries to go for vigorous campaign against colonialism and get sovereignty like that of Ghana.

It laid a foundation for other African conferences for stance in November 1959 the Cairo conference was led and proposed by Ghana.

Ghana became the headquarters of ant colonial groups of Africa following her independence all issues pertaining independence in Africa were discussed in Accra Ghana


Mass nationalism in Nigeria took shape against colonialism through the formation of political parties after WW2. Political parties replaced the social and welfare associations that sought to reform colonialism. The new form of nationalism aimed at political independence through peaceful methods (constitutionalism).

The political parties held discussions with the colonialists and pressed the British government to provide independence to the Nigerians. There were a number of political parties formed to foster the moves to independence.

In 1944 The National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) was formed by Dr. Namdi Azikiwe and Herbert Maculay. It was supported by workers mainly from Igbo in Eastern Nigeria because they had quarrels with the Yoruba

In 1951, another important party called the Northern People’s Party (NPC) was formed by the Hausa and the Fulani living in the North. Many of its supporters were Muslims who struggled for the independence of the north, fearing the domination of the well-developed Christians in the South. The leader of the party was Alhaj Sir Abubakar Tafawa Blewa.

Around the same year a party called the Action Group (AG), mainly supported by the Yoruba was formed. The party struggled for the independence of the westerners from colonial domination.

The pressure exerted by these parties to the colonial masters led to the making of constitutions which prepared Nigeria for independence. The constitutions mainly aimed at bringing unity among the parties.

The first constitution was the Richard’s Constitution made in 1946.

The constitution had the following main provisions:

1. Election of central legislature for the north and south which were ruled separately by the British.
2. Giving chances to majority of members who were not in the government to the legislature.
3. Making laws for the first time for the whole country which was divided into three regions, the north, South and the west and East.
4. The executive Council to remain under the British

NCNC protested against the constitution.
In 1951 another constitution called the Macpherson Constitution was formed by the new governor. It brought some changes to the former constitution.

Ethnic conflicts led to the formation of yet another constitution in 1954. This was called the Lyttelton Constitution. It was made at a conference held in London, and it was a federal constitution that gave more power to regional governments and their legislatures. After the constitution there were elections in Nigeria.

The first Federal general Election took place in 1954. NPC and CNCN made a coalition government. Alhaj Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of NPC became the prime minister of the Federal Government of Nigeria. In 1951 he provided a chance to the Action Group in order to get the government of national unity.

The second election took place in 1959. Due to ethnic divisions in, NPC won in the north, AG in the west and NCNC in the east.

The British provided full independence to Nigeria on 1st October, 1960, amidst the ethnic divisions, with Dr. Namdi Azikiwe being the first president and Tafawa Balewa the first prime minister.


The nationalist political movement in Malawi was the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC), formed in 1944. This also used constitutional means to fight for independence. It called for African majority representation in the legislative councils, township managements, and land boards.

The nationalist pressure made the Rhodesian whites to campaign for the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which started in 1949.

Groups of people in Nyasaland opposed the federation for different reasons:

1. NAC feared blockage of political advancement in Nyasaland.
2. Many chiefs feared that the federation would undermine their power.
3. Those who worked in Rhodesia experienced racial discrimination, thus they feared the federation would extend its discrimination in Nyasaland.

In 1955, NAC was strengthened by two young radicals, H. Masauko Chipembere and Kanyama Chiume, to advance its political moves using constitutional means.

In order to win the support of elders and chiefs, the young leaders invited the elderly and educated Hastings Kamuzu Banda to lead the party.

In March 1959, NAC was banned and Banda, its president general, was imprisoned.

In the place of NAC, another party, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), was formed. The party was well organized. It increased political mobilization in the rural areas and opened more branches.

Consequently the MCP won independence for Malawi on 6th July, 1964, with Hastings Kamuzu Banda as president.


A more systematic political movement started with Tanganyika African Association (TAA). On 7th July, 1954, seventeen leading TAA members assembled for a conference in Dar-es-Salaam. Their purpose was to change the aims and objectives of TAA which had been semi-political.

TAA was transformed to a full-fledged political party called Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). The new party adopted one major aim: the attainment of national independence. Julius Kambarage Nyerere was elected its first president.

After its formation, TANU started embarking on a number of organizational tasks:

1.  To mobilize the people to fight for national independence.
2.  To educate the people on unity and against divisive obstacles such as tribalism, racialism and religious differences.
3. To consolidate and provide political direction to the trade unions.

TANU had its Youth League, which became very useful in organizing meetings and propagating the message of Uhuru in both urban and rural areas.

At the international level, TANU capitalized on Tanganyika trusteeship. It appealed to UNO for sympathy and support.

The colonial administration tried to frustrate the moves of TANU. TANU was called a riotous movement. The colonial government prevented civil servants from joining it. Then the colonialists sponsored the formation of reactionary organizations, e.g., the formation of United Tanganyika Party (UTP), formed by chiefs in 1956.

TANU faced all the challenges boldly. It called for a democratically elected legislative council (LEGCO). Finally the colonial government agreed to have elections of members to LEGCO which would be based on racial parity. In its conference at Tabora in 1958, TANU agreed to take part in the elections.

In the 1958 general election, TANU won massively. All the TANU-sponsored candidates won election irrespective of their racial origins. All the UTP candidates were defeated, and the party died altogether.

The strength of TANU made the colonialists deal with it more liberally. Some members, however, accused the party of moderate policies. They wanted a more militant African stand. The group with this view broke away from TANU and formed the African National Congress (ANC) in 1958.

Even after the split, TANU remained strong. Meanwhile, Britain went ahead laying the ground for extended relations with post-independence Tanganyika.

In the polls of August 1960, TANU won massively again. It formed a government that worked together with the colonial government for a smooth transfer of power.

On 9th December, 1961, ANC ceased to exist following its total defeat in the presidential elections. Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the president of TANU, became the first Prime Minister of Tanganyika.

Tanganyika was once a German colony and a British colony at different times. It regained its independence on Sunday at 12:00 am on 9th December in 1961 under the abled leadership of its first Prime Minister the late Mwl. Julius Kambarage Nyerere with his party (TANU – Tanganyika African National Union)

He supported socialist policies to address the country’s economic problems. Believing in the importance of preserving native African culture, he encouraged the use of the Kiswahili language and emphasized Ujamaa (“family hood”), a unique form of rural socialism. Nyerere retired as president in 1985

Independence is the state of a society to be free and be able to make its own decisions in its affairs without being interfered by any external pressure.

An independent nation is also said to be a sovereign state. Tanganyika attained her full political independence in 1961, December 9th with the last British governor sir Richard Tumbull and the late Mwl. Julius Nyerere who was the prime minister and became the first president of Tanganyika.

However, in 1964 it united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. Independence in Tanganyika was successful achieved under TANU (Tanganyika National Unity) was a political party under Mwl. Nyerere.


It was founded on seventh of July in 1954 replacing the T.A.A (Tanganyika African Association).

It had the following objectives:

To prepare the people of Tanganyika for self-governance and independence.

To dismantle tribalism and ethnicity which were great enemies to unity and the struggle for freedom as a nation.

To struggle for a democratic government and to have representatives in local district and the central government.

To encourage and sensitize workers to join trade and cooperative unions which could be the right forum for them to air out their grievances such as land alienation, taxation, poor working conditions together with low wages against colonialism.

To cooperate with other nationalistic political parties in other African countries towards the struggle for independence. For example, The T.A.N.U under the leadership of the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage. Nyerere cooperated fully with the A.N.C (the African National congress) in South Africa to end apartheid policy in 1994.


Qn: Why did Tanganyika regain her independence earlier than Uganda and Kenya?

Qn: Assess the social, economic and political developments in Tanganyika, which made it the first East African colony to regain independence

Good and charismatic leadership of the Late Mwl. Julius Kambarage Nyerere, he was able to organize and structure the T.A.N.U from a mere welfare oriented to as a strong nationalistic party which led Tanganyika to independence, he used to travel almost annually to the UNO trusteeship council to plead for the independence of Tanganyika.

Good, clear and understandable policies of the T.A.N.U, which were easily, understood by both literate and illiterate Tanganyikans both in rural and urban areas. Examples of the T.A.N.U slogans and policies are/were: UHURU NA KAZI, TANU YAJENGA NCHI and UHURU NA UMOJA.

The role-played by Kiswahili language as a lingua franca, it acted as a unifying factor; it was spoken throughout the country. It became the corner stone which spread the T.A.N. U’s policies and slogans.

The absence of strong tribalism and ethnicity unlike Uganda and Kenya where ethnicity acted as a great barrier towards the struggle.

Tanganyika had no many settlers as opposed say to Kenya which was dominated by many settlers, thus in Tanganyika, there were like European antagonism against Africans.

Tanganyika was a mandate territory, which was administered by the British as a trusteeship on behalf of the League of Nations, and later the U.N.O, Thus Tanganyika was the trusteeship territory being prepared ready for independence. Such status hurried the nationalists’ campaigns for the independence of Tanganyika through the U.N.O forum; as a result, the British did not intensify their control because it was under protectorate. For example, Nyerere stated in his independence address to the United Nations General Assembly on 14th December in 1961, that “Because Tanganyika was a Trust Territory under British administration, this was a great help in my work to achieve independence for the country, namely peacefully and through nonviolent methods”.

The role played by newspapers such as SAUTI YA TANU. The educated people spread the TANU’s policies and slogans through these newspapers, they wrote several articles on the newspapers emphasizing the need for the Tanganyika to govern them; such messages awakened Tanganyika’s towards the struggle for the freedom.

Support from the last British Governor to Tanganyika. Sir Richard Turnbull became the best friend to Mwalimu Nyerere; he from time-to-time supported Mwalimu in his struggle for freedom that is why historians argue that the appointment of Sir Richard Turnbull in 1958 to be the Governor in Tanganyika facilitated the movement towards the struggle.

The role-played by the T.A.N.U. youth league which was composed of young energetic people who spread the TANU’s policies and slogans to its supporters throughout the country. E.g., Christopher Mtikila and Willibrod Slaa.

The role played by women in the T.A.N.U’s politics made it popular thus gained much support from the public. They played an important role in mobilizing the masses to support the TANU. They gave vigor and color to the TANU’s public rallies and demonstrations. A notable example of these women was Bibi Titi Mohamed, Vicky Nsilo Swai, and Lucy Lameck just to mention a few.


Qn: Explain six problems faced nationalistic struggle in Tanzania

There is no easy walk to freedom; it faced various challenges such as discussed below.

Lack of adequate funds to organize and run the activities. During the 1960s still many people under the colonial rule was extremely poor and depended on wages from colonial economy, so was the party even its leader Nyerere was a mere teacher thus the lack of funds made them to lack their accessibility to run the party activities and visit many places and hence slaved the walk to freedom. They also lacked transport fees and wages to activists.

Strong opposition from colonial government as they were not allowed to speak in clouds or meet to discuss issues concerning with independence. Some of the independence activists were assassinated, jailed while some were exiled. This was purposely to safeguard the colonial interest particularly trade.

Lack of unity among the people, some people saw the freedom fighters as troublemakers thus; they discouraged and weakened the freedom fighters by high criticism. Most of these people were those enjoyed the fruits of colonial era particularly Arab Swahilis also some people joined other parties and thus many political parties divided many people to different ideologies.

Vastness of the country, this was one of challenges that hindered early achieving the independence of Tanganyika. It has about hundreds of kilometers squares of land. Travelling to all places to meet the people and organize them to struggle for independence was a very tough challenge. Some places were very remote and others surrounded by physical barriers such as lakes and mountains just to mention few.

Poor transport facilities were primarily caused by poor advancement of technology in the sectors of infrastructure. There were impossible roads, seasonal roads and defective trains as major means for transport. In some areas, there were very dense wild animated forest and high dangerous mounts that passed as a barrier to transport vehicle like cars. This in turn slaved (limited) down the nationalists’ activists to excel well.

Strong opposition from other opposition political parties such as AMNUT (All Muslim National Union of Tanganyika) and ANC (African National Congress) posed a very strong opposition to freedom fighters during their struggle to attain independence thus they supported the colonial government. Good example is cited in 1958 where Zuberi Mtemvu formed ANC (African Nationalist Congress) which went against TANU’s policies. In this scenario, the move to attain independence was indeed minimized.


There were several conditions that facilitated the struggle for independence by constitutional means.

The nature of colonial government: This means the colonial government accepted gradually the representation of the Africans in the legislatures, thus Africans could not easily opt for other means.

The status of the colonies. The colonialists had already been given the task of preparing the colonies for their independence, for example, Tanganyika was under the trusteeship of the UNO. The leaders thus used the status to fight constitutionally for the independence.

The existence of strong African leaders, from the few elites, like Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Namdi Azikiwe, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, and Julius Kambarage Nyerere, helped in the formation of strong, well-organized political parties that was supported by the African majorities.

Weak opposition from the colonial side, due to the absence of many settlers in the countries, also contributed to the use of constitutional means.

Weak inter-party opposition. The strong nationalist parties did not get strong opposition from other parties, even those which were sponsored by the colonialists. Elections were thus smooth and did not bring misunderstanding among Africans.

The African awareness of the need for national independence made them unmindful of their ethnic or religious identities. They formed a strong unity and unilaterally supported their political leaders in the movements.


There were some problems that faced the struggle for independence using constitutional means. Following are some:

1.    Harassment and imprisonment of nationalist leaders.
2.    Formation of reactionary movements and opposition parties.
3.    African colonial collaborators, e.g., chiefs.
4.    Illiteracy among the majority Africans.
5.    Lack of funds, due to the fact that the parties depended on the majority Africans, who were poor.
6.    Land vastness. Coordination was difficult due to land vastness, e.g. Nigeria, which was divided into three political regions.
7.    Colonial delaying tactics. They were required to prepare some territories for independence but they deliberately delayed the moves to extend exploitation.

Generally, it may be concluded that despite tireless attempts posed by the people in Tanganyika, in the course of time they achieved for their independence in 1961, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere spearheading the nation and immediately after the attainment of their political independence it united with Zanzibar to form the current Tanzania.





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