13. Ghana (1957-present)

Pre-Crisis Phase (March 6, 1957-August 1, 1962):  Ghana formally achieved its independence from Britain and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) on March 6, 1957.  Kwame Kkrumah of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) became the prime minister of Ghana on March 6, 1957.  Three individuals were killed during post-independence riots in Alavanyo in March 1957.  Dozens were injured during clashes between rival tribal groups in Accra on August 20, 1957.  The government deported two Muslim leaders, Adamu Moshie and Adamu Gao, from the country on September 5, 1957.  The United Party (UP) was established with the merger of the National Liberation Movement (NLM), Northern People’s Party (NPP), and other political parties, in October 1957.  The government declared a state-of-emergency in Kumasi on December 30, 1957.  Some 5,000 individuals were displaced from the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti region as a result of political violence following independence.  The British government provided military assistance (military training and equipment) to the government of Ghana from 1958 to 1971.  The government of the Soviet Union provided military assistance (military training and weapons), which included some 1,110 Soviet military personnel, to the government of Ghana from 1958 to 1966.  Municipal elections were held in Kumasi on February 12, 1958, and the CPP won 17 out of 24 seats on the municipal council.  The Preventive Detention Act (PDA) was approved by the National Assembly on July 18, 1958.  A plebiscite on the issue of Ghana becoming a republic was held on April 27, 1960, and some 88 percent of the voters supported a republic.  Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah of the CPP was elected president with 89 percent of the vote on April 27, 1960, and he was inaugurated as president on July 1, 1960.  Joseph Boakye (J. B.) Danquah of the United Party (UP) won 11 percent of the vote for president.  The Republic of Ghana was formally proclaimed on July 1, 1960.  Two bombs exploded in Accra on July 7, 1961.  Several thousand workers, including railway and port workers, went on strike from September 4 to September 22, 1961.  President Kwame Nkrumah asked six members of his government, including the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Health, to resign from their positions on September 28, 1961.  J. B. Danquah and 63 other opponents of President Nkrumah were arrested and detained under the PDA on October 3, 1961.  The Canadian government established the Canadian Armed Forces Training Team in Ghana (CAFTTG), which consisted of 30 military personnel, on January 8, 1962.  The British government established the Joint Services Training Team (JSTT), which consisted of 248 military personnel, in Accra in April 1962.  J. B. Danquah was released from detention on June 22, 1962.

Crisis Phase (August 2, 1962-May 1, 1969):  President Nkrumah survived a bomb attack near the village of Kulungungu on August 1, 1962, which resulted in the deaths or wounding of several school children.  One individual was killed in a bombing near the Flagstaff House in Accra on September 9, 1962.  Several individuals, including nine school children, were killed in a series of bombings in Accra on September 18-22, 1962.  President Khrumah declared a state-of-emergency in Accra and Tema on September 22, 1962.  More than 20 individuals were killed in a bombing at a CPP rally in Accra on January 11, 1963.  President Khrumah survived an attempted assassination in Accra on January 1, 1964, resulting in the death of a security guard.  Opposition leader, J. B. Danquah, was arrested and imprisoned in Nsawam Prison on January 8, 1964.  Some 99 percent of voters approved a one-party political system in a referendum held on January 31, 1964.  The Chinese government agreed to provide economic assistance (interest free loan of $22.4 million) to the government on July 15, 1964.  The Chinese government provided military assistance (weapons and 52 military advisers) to the government beginning in October 1964.  Opposition leader, J. B. Danquah, died from a heart attack in Nsawam Prison on February 4, 1965.  President Nkrumah dissolved the National Assembly on May 25, 1965.  Legislative elections were held on June 9, 1965, and the CPP won 198 out of 198 seats in the National Assembly.  President Nkrumah was re-elected without opposition by the National Assembly on June 10, 1965.  President Nkrumah was overthrown in a military rebellion led by General Joseph Ankrah on February 24, 1966, resulting in the deaths of some 27 individuals. The eight-member National Liberation Council (NLC) headed by General Ankrah took control of the government on February 25, 1966.  The Chinese government ended economic and military assistance to the government on February 25, 1966.  The governments of Guinea and Mali condemned the military rebellion on February 26, 1966. The NLC suspended the constitution on February 26, 1966.  The Nigerian government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the NLC on March 3, 1966. The governments of Britain and the U.S. provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the NLC on March 4, 1966. The government of the Soviet Union provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the NLC on March 16, 1966. The government suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Samuel Arthur and Lt. Moses Yeboah in Accra on April 17, 1967, resulting in the deaths of two government soldiers. Lt. Arthur and Lt. Yeboah were sentenced to death on May 5, 1967, and the officers were executed on May 9, 1967. The NLC established the Executive Council of Ministers on July 1, 1967.  The Canadian government reduced the number of military personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces Training Team in Ghana (CAFTTG) from 30 to one in 1969.  The Constituent Assembly convened in Accra on January 6, 1969.  General Ankrah resigned as head-of-state on April 2, 1969, and he was replaced by General Akwasi Afrifa. The government lifted the ban on political parties on May 1, 1969.

Post-Crisis Phase (May 2, 1969-January 12, 1972):   The Constituent Assembly enacted a new constitution, which went into effect on August 22, 1969.  Legislative elections were held on August 29, 1969, and the Progress Party (PP) won 105 out of 140 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Alliance of Liberals (NAL) won 29 seats in the National Assembly.  Kofi Abrefa Busia of the PP formed a civilian government on September 3, 1969.  Edward Askufo-Addo of the PP was elected president by the Electoral College on August 28, 1970.

Crisis Phase (January 13, 1972-September 24, 1979):  Prime Minister Kofi Busia was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong on January 13, 1972. Colonel Acheampong suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and banned political parties on January 13, 1972. The nine-member National Redemption Council (NRC) chaired by Colonel Acheampong took control of the government on January 14, 1972. The military government suppressed a rebellion on January 15, 1972. On November 14, 1972, eight individuals were sentenced to death for attempting to overthrow the NRC. The Supreme Military Council (SMC) headed by General Acheampong replaced the NRC in 1975. Some 60 percent of voters approved the union of civilian and military institutions in Ghana in a referendum held on March 30, 1978.  General Acheampong was forced to resign as head-of-state on July 5, 1978, and General Frederick Akuffo took control of the government on July 6, 1978. The SMC declared a state-of-emergency on November 6, 1978. The SMC lifted the state-of-emergency and ban on political party activity on January 1, 1979. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Jerry Rawlings on May 15, 1979.  General Akuffo was overthrown in a military rebellion on June 4, 1979, and the ten-member Armed Force Revolutionary Council (AFRC) headed by Lt. Jerry Rawlings took control of the government on June 5, 1979.  Legislative elections were held on June 18 and July 9, 1979, and the People’s National Party (PNP) won 71 out of 140 seats in the National Assembly.  The Popular Front Party (PFP) won 42 seats in the National Assembly.  Six military officers, including General Frederick Akuffo and Lt. General Akwasi Afrifa, were executed on June 26, 1979.  Hilla Limann of the PNP was elected president with some 62 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on July 9, 1979, and he was inaugurated as president on September 24, 1979.

Post-Crisis Phase (September 25, 1979-December 30, 1981):  More than 40 individuals were killed in tribal violence in northern Ghana on April 1, 1980.  The National House of Chiefs elected Yakubu Seidu as chief of the Wa tribe on April 10, 1981.

Crisis Phase (December 31, 1981-January 7, 1997):  President Limann was deposed in a military coup led by Lt. Jerry Rawlings on December 31, 1981.  Several hundred individuals were killed following the military coup.  The Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) headed by Lt. Rawlings took control of the government on January 1, 1982. The PNDC suspended the constitution and banned political parties. The Canadian government disbanded the Canadian Armed Forces Training Team in Ghana (CAFTTG) in 1982.  Four individuals, including three High Court judges – Fred Poku Sarkodie, Cecilia Koranteng, and Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong – and a retired military officer – Major Sam Acquah – were killed in political violence on June 30, 1982.  The government suppressed a military rebellion on November 23, 1982.  Government troops suppressed military rebellions on March 2 and June 19, 1983, resulting in the deaths of 26 individuals.  On August 4, 1983, sixteen military personnel were convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the June 1983 military rebellion.  On August 15, 1983, Joachim Amartey Quaye, one of the seven original members of the PNDC, and two other individuals were convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the murders of three High Court judges and a retired military officer in June 1982.  All three were executed later in the month.  The government suppressed a military rebellion on March 23, 1984, and 14 individuals were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion on March 23-26, 1984. On April 5, 1984, eight military personnel were convicted and sentenced to death. In April 1984, the Ghanaian Democracy Movement (GDM) was established by John Ashibe Mensah in London in opposition to the government of Lt. Rawlings. The government suppressed a military rebellion on February 2, 1985, and six individuals were convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the military rebellion on April 1, 1985. On May 15, 1986, nine individuals were convicted and sentenced to death for plotting to overthrow the government (seven of these individuals were executed on June 22, 1986). The Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ) headed by Adu Boahan was established in 1990. On May 10, 1991, Lt. Rawlings announced that Ghana would return to constitutional rule in 1992. A new constitution was approved by some 93 percent of voters in a referendum held on April 28, 1992, and Lt. Rawlings lifted the ban on political parties on May 17, 1992.  The PNDC was disbanded, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was established as a political party on June 10, 1992. Lt. Rawlings resigned from the air force on September 14, 1992, and he announced his candidacy for the presidency on September 30, 1992.  Jerry Rawlings of the NDC was elected president with 58 percent of the vote on November 3, 1992, and he was inaugurated as president on January 4, 1993.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent 23 observers from 14 countries to monitor the presidential election from October 31 to November 6, 1992. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) and European Community (EC) sent observers to monitor the presidential election. The Carter Center (CC) sent 18 observers headed by Richard Joseph to monitor the presidential election.  Opposition groups claimed that the presidential election results were fraudulent, and announced a boycott of upcoming legislative elections on November 13, 1992. Opponents of the government of President Rawlings demonstrated and rioted in Tamale, Sunyani, and Kumasi.  Legislative elections were held on December 29, 1992, and the NDC won 189 out of 200 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Convention party (NCP) won eight seats in the National Assembly.  A conflict, known as the “Guinea Fowl War,” broke out among members of the Konkomba (animists), Nanumba (mostly Muslim), Dagomba (Muslim), and Gonja (animist and Muslim) ethnic groups in northern Ghana beginning on February 2, 1994.  The government declared a state-of-emergency for several districts and towns in northern Ghana on February 10, 1994.  Three individuals were injured in a bombing at a Konkomba market in Accra on March 4, 1994.  The government appointed the Permanent Peace Negotiation Team (PPNT) on May 30, 1994.  Representatives of the ethnic groups signed a government-mediated peace agreement on June 9, 1994. The government lifted the state-of-emergency in northern Ghana on August 8, 1994.  More than 1,000 individuals were killed, and more than 150,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.  Some 150 individuals were killed and 21,000 individuals displaced as a result of ethnic violence between members of the Konkomba and Nanumba ethnic groups in northern Ghana in March 1995.  Anti-government demonstrations led by the Alliance for Change (AFC) took place in Accra on May 12, 1995, resulting in the deaths of five individuals.  Representatives of ethnic groups in northern Ghana signed the Kumasi Accord on Peace and Reconciliation Between Ethnic Groups in the Northern Region of Ghana  on March 30, 1996.  Legislative elections were held on December 7, 1996, and the NDC won 133 out of 200 seats in the National Assembly.  The New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 60 seats in the National Assembly.  President Rawlings of the NDC was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote on December 7, 1996, and he was inaugurated as president on January 7, 1997.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent 23 observers from 14 countries headed by Paul Reeves of New Zealand to monitor the legislative elections from November 26 to December 15, 1996.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent 33 observers to monitor the elections from December 3 to December 10, 1996.

Post-Crisis Phase (January 8, 1997-present):  Legislative elections were held on December 7, 2000, and the NPP won 99 out of 200 seats in the National Assembly.  The NDC won 92 seats in the National Assembly.  The Organization of African Unity (OAU) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections. Thirty individuals were killed in election-related violence in Bawku.  John Kufuor of the NPP was elected president with 57 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on December 28, 2000, and he was inaugurated as president on January 7, 2001.  Some 50 individuals were killed in ethnic violence in Bawku in northern Ghana on December 1-2, 2001.  King Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II (“Lion of Dagbon”) and more than 40 other individuals were killed in inter-tribal (Dagomba tribe) violence in the town of Yendi in northern Ghana on March 25-27, 2002.  President Kufor declared a state of emergency, and ordered the deployment of troops to the Dagbon region on March 28, 2002.  The government lifted the state of emergency in the town of Yendi in northern Ghana on August 18, 2004.  Legislative elections were held on December 7, 2004, and the NPP won 128 out of 230 seats in the National Assembly.  The NDC won 94 seats in the National Assembly.  President Kufor was re-elected with 52 percent of the vote on December 7, 2004.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent observers to monitor the legislative and presidential elections.  With financial support from the Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA), the government of Uganda sent 10 observers to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from November 24 to December 8, 2004.  Representatives of rival factions in the Dagomba tribe in northern Ghana signed a peace agreement on November 18, 2007.  Kusasi and Mamprusi tribesmen clashed in the town of Bawku in northern Ghana on May 4-6, 2008 and June 21-22, 2008, resulting in the deaths of more than one dozen individuals.  The Carter Center (CC) sent nine observers to monitor the voter registration process for the upcoming elections from July 17 to August 13, 2008.  Legislative elections were held on December 7, 2008, and the NDC won 116 out of 230 seats in the National Assembly.  John Atta Mills of the NDC was elected with 50.23 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on December 28, 2008 and January 2, 2009 (Tain District).  ECOWAS sent some 200 observers headed by Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria to monitor the elections.  Between November 1, 2008 and January 24, 2009, the European Union (EU) sent 70 observers headed by Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria to monitor the first round of elections held on December 7, 2008 and 56 observers to monitor the second round of elections held on December 28, 2008 and January 2, 2009 (Tain District).  On September 18, 2008, the Carter Center (CC) sent the first of 57 observers (nine long-term observers and 48 short-term observers) headed by Ketumile Masire of Botswana to monitor the first round of elections held on December 7, 2008, 58 observers from 17 countries to monitor the second round of elections held on December 28, 2008, and ten observers to monitor the second round of elections held in Tain District on January 2, 2009.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent seven observers and five staff members headed by Baroness Valerie Amos of the United Kingdom to monitor the elections from December 1, 2008 to January 4, 2009.  John Atta Mills was inaugurated as president on January 7, 2009.  Youth activists from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) clashed in Tamala in northern Ghana on February 17, 2009, resulting in the death of one NDC youth activist.  Some 3,500 individuals fled as refugees to northern Togo as a result of ethnic violence in northern Ghana in May 2010.  President John Atta Mills died from natural causes in Accra, and Vice-President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as acting-president on July 24, 2012.  Legislative elections were held on December 7-8, 2012, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won 148 out of 275 seats in the National Assembly.  The New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 123 seats in the National Assembly.  President John Mahama of the NDC was re-elected with 51 percent of the vote on December 7-8, 2012.  The African Union (AU) sent 40 short-term observers headed by Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria to monitor the elections from November 30 to December 9, 2012.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent 250 short-term observers, also headed by Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, to monitor the elections from November 28 to December 10, 2012.  The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) sent 25 short-term observers headed by Ahmed Issack of Kenya to monitor the elections on December 4-9, 2012.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent 13 short-term observers headed by Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho to monitor the elections from November 30 to December 9, 2012.  The European Union (EU) sent 24 observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  On December 28, 2012, the NPP filed a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the results of the presidential election.  John Mahama was sworn in as president on January 7, 2013.  On August 21, 2013, five NPP youth activists were convicted and sentenced for murdering one NDC youth activist in Tamale in 2009.  On August 29, 2013, the Supreme Court rejected the NPP petition challenging the results of the 2012 presidential election.  In July 2014, thousands of individuals protested in Accra and other locations against the high cost of living, in support of restoring the petroleum subsidy, and against the freeze in public-sector wages implemented by the government to control the national debt.  Twelve public-sector labor unions representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, and other civil servants waged a strike against the government from October 22 to November 4, 2014.  On February 26, 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to provide a $920 million loan to the Ghanian government.  On August 1, 2015, some 2,800 public-sector doctors went on strike in support of better pay and conditions.  On August 19, 2015, the government announced plans to bring in more than 170 doctors from Cuba in response to the ongoing strike by members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).  The GMA agreed to suspend the public-sector doctors strike on August 22, 2015.  On September 17, 2015, members of the opposition NPP protested at the headquarters of the Electoral Commission (EC) in Accra.  As a result of frequent power blackouts, Minister of Power Kwabena Donkor resigned on December 31, 2015.  On January 13, 2016, the IMF approved the third disbursement of its $920 million loan to the Ghanian government.   Presidential and legislative elections were held on December 7, 2016.  Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP was elected president with 54 percent of the vote.  The NPP won 171 out of 275 seats, and the NDC won 104 out of 275 seats in the National Assembly.  The European Union (EU) sent 24 long-term observers and 32 short-term observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from November 2 to December 17, 2016.  The African Union (AU) sent 10 long-term observers and 40 short-term observers from 26 countries headed by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from October 26 to December 13, 2016.  The ECOWAS sent 14 long-term observers and 80 short-term observer to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from November 27 to December 13, 2016.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent 17 observers headed by former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from November 29 to December 13, 2016.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent 30 observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from December 4 to December 9, 2016.  The National Assembly approved a military cooperation agreement with the U.S. on March 23, 2018.

[Sources: Africa Diary, August 13-19, 1979, August 27-September 2, 1979; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), January 1-31, 1972, July 1-31, 1978, December 1-31, 1978, January 1, 1979, June 1-30, 1979, July 1-31, 1979, September 1-30, 1979, January 1-31, 1982, May 15, 1985, June 15, 1986, July 15, 1986; African Union (AU) statement, December 3, 2012, December 8, 2012; Al Jazeera, August 19, 2015; Banks and Muller, 1998, 356-361; Beigbeder, 1994, 246; British Broadcasting Corporation (BCC), December 4, 2001, March 28, 2002, March 30, 2002, April 5, 2002, December 7, 2004, December 9, 2004, December 10, 2004, May 6, 2008, June 25, 2008, December 8, 2008, December 9, 2008, January 2, 2009, January 3, 2009, January 7, 2009, May 25, 2010, July 24, 2012, July 25, 2012, December 9, 2012, December 10, 2012, December 28, 2012, January 7, 2013, August 21, 2013, August 29, 2013, July 24, 2014, February 26, 2015, August 21, 2015; Carter Center (CC) press release, July 25, 2008, August 26, 2008, October 27, 2008, October 31, 2008, December 1, 2008, December 9, 2008, December 30, 2008, December 31, 2008, January 3, 2009; Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) press release, November 26, 1996; Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) statement, December 1, 2008, December 8, 2008, December 28, 2008, January 4, 2009; Degenhardt, 1988, 134-136; Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) press release, November 16, 2012, November 29, 2012, December 6, 2012, December 9, 2012, December 10, 2012; Facts-on-File, September 20-26, 1962, January 1-8, 1964, February 24-March 2, 1966, March 3-9, 1966, March 31-April 6, 1966, May 18-24, 1967, May 8-14, 1969, January 16-22, 1972, December 10-16, 1972, July 7, 1978, January 12, 1979, June 8, 1979, June 29, 1979; January 11, 2001; Jessup, 1998, 234-235, 613, 767-771; Keesing’s Record of World Events, March 9-16, 1957, September 14-21, 1957, April 26-May 3, 1958, July 3-10, 1965, March 12-19, 1966, April 29-May 6, 1967, September 6-13, 1969, September 26-October 3, 1970, February 19-26, 1972, May 14, 1982, November 1992, December 1992, December 1996; Langer, 1972, 1266; National Democratic Institute (NDI) statement, December 10, 1996: New York Times (NYT), January 17, 1982, January 3, 1989; Oquaye, 1995, 259-275; Panafrican News Agency (PANA), December 10, 2000, December 14, 2000, December 29, 2000, December 30, 2000, December 9, 2016; Reuters, December 13, 2000, December 30, 2000, January 7, 2013, May 29, 2013, August 29, 2013, August 14, 2015, August 30, 2015, September 17, 2015, December 31, 2015, January 13, 2016, March 23, 2018; Voice of America (VOA), August 1, 2014, October 26, 2014, August 8, 2015, August 22, 2015.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Assefa, Hizkias. 2001. “Coexistence and Reconciliation in the Northern Region of Ghana,” In Reconciliation, Justice, and Coexistence: Theory and Practice, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, editor. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, pp. 165-186.

Bourret, F. M. 1960. Ghana: The Road to Independence, 1919-1957. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Harriet, Takyi. 2013. “Perceptions and Attitudes of the Local Community Towards the Dagbon Conflict Management in Northern Ghana,” International Journal of Business and Social Research, vol. 3 (6), pp. 56-64.

Hettne, Bjorn. 1980. “Soldiers and Politics: The Case of Ghana.” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 17 (2), pp. 173-193.

Jeffries, Richard and Clare Thomas. 1993. “The Ghanian Elections of 1992.” African Affairs, vol. 92, pp. 331-366.

Mohammed, Tinab. 2014. “Ethnic Identity, Globalization, and Ethnic Conflict in the Northern Region of Ghana: The Case of East Gonja and Kpandai Districts,” The International Journal of Humanities & Social Studies, vol. 2 (no. 7), pp. 333-341.

Pul, Hippolyt A. S. 2003. “Exclusions, Associations and Violence: Trends and Triggers in Northern Ghana’s Konkomba-Dagomba Wars,” The African Anthropologist, vol. 10 (1), pp. 39-82.

Sulemana, Mohammed. 2009. “Understanding the Causes and Impacts of Conflicts in the Northern Region of Ghana,” The Ghana Policy Journal, vol. 3, pp. 110-139.