In the middle of 1950, a lot of Parties were formed based on tribal lines. Some of these parties included, the Northern People’s Party(NPP) led by Simon Diedong Dombo, a traditional chief from (Duori) in the Upper West Region of Ghana; Anlo Youth Organization, Muslim Association Party, Togoland Congress and many more.
After Ghana attained independence on 6th March, 1957, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, 1957 (C.A. 38), which banned all parties formed on religious or tribal lines.
This took effect on 31st December, 1957. Since the CPP was the only national party at the time, it is believed that the government was trying to get rid of all the other parties. But, these partied came together to form a national party.
The Northern Peoples Party (led by Dombo), the National Liberation Movement(an amalgam of Ghana Congress Party and UGCC led by Busia and Danquah respectively ) , Anlo Youth Organization, Muslim Association Party, Togoland congress and Ga Shifimokpee merged and became United Party(UP) and they chose Busia as their leader.
The UP tradition became Progress Party (PP), and won the 1969 elections and ruled from 1969-72 after which Busia’s government was toppled. From 1966 to 1981, there were a lot of military uprising and unrest until the 4th republic in 1992 when Ghana adopted Democracy as a new political order which paved the way for multi-party system and rule of law.
The NPP, which has been a tradition of Danquah-Busia-Dombo, was formed in 28th July, 1992.
Mr B J da Rocha and a few others found it wise to revive the Progress Party, and immediately convened meetings at the residence of the late Mr Steven Krakue, with the blessing of the late Mr Victor Owusu, the leader and presidential candidate of the PFP in 1979 and this party would later become NPP in 1992.
The NPP elected It’s first flag bearer Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, who led the party in 1992, contested against the leader of the NDC, Ft. Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and lost.
The NPP gained its first political victory in 2000 under the leadership of John Agyakum Kufuor, who came against a tougher opponent of the NDC, the Late Prof. John Evans Attah Mills.
The NPP as a party has travelled a long way. The likes of Danquah, Dombo, Paa Grant, Edward Akufo Addo, Busia all of blessed memories can be referred to as the founding fathers of the party .
So Who was Simon Diedong Dombo?
As earlier stated, he was a traditional chief from (Duori) in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
He was enskinned as Chief of Duori (Duori Naa) on April 17, 1949.
Chief S. D. Dombo played a pioneering role in the Gold Coast Legislative Council and the fight for Ghana’s independence.
Chief Dombo represented the Northern Territories through the vehicle of the Northern Peoples Party (NPP), a party of which he was the Leader and Co-founder.
Chief S. D. Dombo became Ghana’s first official Opposition Leader in his capacity as Leader of the NPP.
Upon the merger of the NPP with the other opposition parties, including the National Liberation Movement (NLM), to form the United Party (UP), Chief Dombo was elected Deputy Leader of the UP with Dr. Busia as the Leader.
It was a question for students of A’ Level Government why it was that Chief Dombo, with the majority number of seats among the merged parties, did not become the Leader of the UP instead of Busia.
When asked this question, Chief Dombo typically answered in the fashion that exemplified his humility, selflessness and appreciation of Party good over individual ego.
He said he went to the Conference with no preconditions, and was contented to be elected Deputy to Dr Busia by the delegates.
Chief Dombo’s tireless dynamism and canvassing abilities made the opposition to President Nkrumah and the CPP become synonymous with the name Dombo.
The name Dombo was bastardized, and the Opposition was called “Domo People”.
This was the period when Dr Busia was away in exile, and Dombo again became the de facto Leader of the Opposition and formed the vanguard against President Nkrumah’s One Party State bid.
Three discernible characteristics of Chief Dombo were exemplified during this phase, notably:
1] SELFLESSNESS: Seeing the greater good of a united opposition to defeat President Nkrumah and the CPP rather than seeking personal aggrandizement.
Chief Dombo did not demand by right to lead the merged parties that formed the UP even though he brought more to the table than any one of the other parties.
2] COURAGE & BRAVERY: At a time when the threats posed by the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) caused several politicians to either go into exile, or to cross carpet to the CPP, Dombo stood firm at very dire personal cost to his freedom and quality of life. Despite threats to his life, Dombo led the opposition to President Nkrumah.
3] INCORRIGIBILITY: All President Nkrumah needed for an even smoother and faster sailing into turning Ghana into a one Party State, was for the Leader of the Opposition – Chief Dombo – to cross over.
However, despite lucrative inducements, including promises of high ministerial appointment, Chief Dombo refused to be intimidated or bought. Chief Dombo thereby ensured that Multi-party Democracy in the country under Nkrumah lasted a while longer than will otherwise have been the case.
Chief Dombo played his part in ensuring that the ideals of multi-party democracy remained engrained and cherished in the consciousness of many a Ghanaian.
Family, friends, colleagues and admirers have used these words to describe Chief Dombo: foresight, intellect, immense presence and exemplary selflessness.
Like Dr. J.B. Danquah and other victims of the PDA, under which opponents of the Nkrumah Administration were incarcerated without trial, Chief Dombo was twice imprisoned, the last of which he served in the popularly called “condemned cells” at Nsawam Medium Security Prison.
Chief Dombo gained his freedom in the wake of the 24th February 1966 coup d’état that overthrew the government of President Nkrumah, and with it the dreaded PDA.
During the 2nd Republic, Chief Dombo was Member of Parliament (MP) for the then Lambusie-Jirapa constituency in the UW/R, having won the seat on the ticket of the Progress Party (PP), led by Dr. K.A. Busia.
The Honourable Chief SD. Dombo was appointed Minister of the Interior and later Minister of Health by Prime Minister K. A. Busia.
As Minister of the Interior, Hon. Chief Dombo:
 He implemented the Aliens Compliance Order that saw the unprecedented mass deportation from Ghana of illegal nationals from other countries, including Nigeria.  Oversaw the modernization of the uniform worn by the Ghana Police Force from the old Gold Coast-style tasseled red hats, khaki shorts and woolen tops to the modern style of the 1970s.
Chief Dombo retired from active politics after his release from custody following the coup d’état of 13th January 1972 led by then Colonel I. K. Acheampong that overthrew the PP government.
It was just as well as he, along with other like Alhaji Imoru Egala, was targeted and banned from holding elected office by the Supreme Military Council prior to the 1979 elections.
Chief Dombo became an elder Statesman and a mentor to the younger generation among whom was John Agyekum Kufuor, and the late Alhaji Roland Issifu Alhassan.
He helped form succeeding parties to the PP namely the Popular Front Party (PFP) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
A proud traditionalist, Chief Dombo was easily identifiable in his customary three¬-piece batakari smock in parliament, on campaign platforms, and even on trips abroad.
Chief Dombo spent his last few years in London with his children where he passed away on March 18th, 1998.
In 2009, the second highest body of the NPP, the National Council, deliberated and passed a resolution that formally recognized the relative contribution of various past leaders to the tradition of the United Party and its offshoot parties like the NPP.
The National Council of the NPP decided that in order of impact on the UP tradition, the fixed order of recognition should be DANQUAH-DOMBO-BUSIA.
Chief Dombo is gone but his name lives on in several ways and places not least of them being the name of the political tradition he helped found: the Danquah-DOMBO-Busia tradition.
At the launch of the SD Dombo Foundation for Development and Leadership Studies in Accra in 2018 President Akufo-Addo, described Mr Dombo as the unsung hero of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) political tradition and that many of the young people of the country and the NPP tradition were not aware of the sterling contributions and sacrifices he made to the tradition and democracy in the country.
President Akufo-Addo said Mr Dombo attended the Tamale Teacher Training College, and that he and others had to trek on foot for weeks before they could reach school from the Upper Region, adding that, “if that is not a life of struggle then I do not know what it is”.
He said at the time, the training college in Tamale was the highest institution of learning in the northern part of the country and was the breeding ground for the political activities among the new intelligensia of which Mr Dombo, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, the father of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the current Vice President, Mr Jato Kaleo, Mr J. A. Braimah and Alhaji Yakubu Tali were the leading lights.
Former President J.A. Kufuor, at the same function, described Chief Dombo as a hardworking and dedicated person.
He said Dr Busia was a lone ranger in Parliament but Mr Dombo supported him with his 14 seats and described the Dankwa-Busia-Dombo tradition as the best tradition in Ghana.
Source: HENRY KWADWO AMOAKO & Yaw Obeng-Manu
Henry Kwadwo Amoako is a Ghanaian Social Scientist, Medical Social Officer and Acclaimed Historian for over two decades. An Alumnus of the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, a Journalist, author and a Philanthropist.
Yaw Obeng-Manu is the Editor of the Ghanaian Publisher and Media Consultant