Ghana

The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval West African Ghana Empire. The Empire became known in Europe and Arabia as the Ghana Empire by the title of its emperor, the Ghana. The Empire appears to have broken up following the 1076 conquest by the Almoravid General Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar.


A reduced kingdom continued to exist after Almoravid rule ended, and the Kingdom was later incorporated into subsequent Sahelian empires, such as the Mali Empire several centuries later. Geographically, the ancient Ghana Empire was approximately 500 miles (800 km) north and west of the modern state of Ghana, and controlled territories in the area of the Sénégal River and east towards the Niger rivers, in modern Senegal, Mauritania and Mali.


Ghana Revolution And Political History


Political highlights - Ghana



1957 - independence, Nkrumah of CPP is PM
1960 - declared republic, one party system, presidential system
1966 - military overthrow of 1st republic
1969 - 2nd republic, Busia of PP is PM
1972 - military overthrow of 2nd republic
1978 - palace coup to restructure military government
1979 - junior officer uprising and military housecleaning
1979 - ushered third republic, Limann of PNP is President
1981 - overthrow of the constitutional PNP gov't by the PNDC military junta
1983 - Attempted overthrow of the PNDC junta by other junior army men
1992 - Rawlings of NDC is Dem elected as President
1996 - Rawlings of NDC is re-elected
2001 - Kuffour (NPP) is President
2005 - Kufuor begins second-term in office
2009 - John Evans Atta Mills (NDC) is President
2012 - John Dramani Mahama (NDC) is sworn in as President following death of President Mills





Medieval Ghana (4th - 13th Century):



The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval Ghana Empire of West Africa. The actual name of the Empire was Wagadugu. Ghana was the title of the kings who ruled the kingdom. It was controlled by Sundiata in 1240 AD, and absorbed into the larger Mali Empire. (Mali Empire reached its peak of success under Mansa Musa around 1307.)
Geographically, the old Ghana is 500 miles north of the present Ghana, and occupied the area between Rivers Senegal and Niger.Some inhabitants of present Ghana had ancestors linked with the medieval Ghana. This can be traced down to the Mande and Voltaic peoeple of Northern Ghana--Mamprussi, Dagomba and the Gonja.
Anecdotal evidence connected the Akans to this great Empire. The evidence lies in names like Danso shared by the Akans of present Ghana and Mandikas of Senegal/Gambia who have strong links with the Empire. There is also the matrilineal connection.





Gold Coast & European Exploration:


Before March 1957 Ghana was called the Gold Coast. The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina - meaning Mine. The Gold Coast was later adopted to by the English colonisers. Similarily, the French, equally impressed by the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named The Ivory Coast, Cote d'Ivoire.
In 1482, the Portuguese built a castle in Elmina. Their aim was to trade in gold, ivory and slaves. In 1481 King John II of Portugal sent Diego d'Azambuja to build this castle.
In 1598 the Dutch joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsil. In 1637 they captured the castle from the Portuguese and that of Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid 18th century. These were the English, Danes and Swedes. The coastline were dotted by forts built by the Dutch, British and the Dane merchants. By the latter part of 19th century the Dutch and the British were the only traders left. And when the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony.
By 1901 the Ashanti and the North were made a protectorate...
Britain and the Gold Coast. The first Britons arrived in the early 19th century as traders in Ghana. But with their close relationship with the coastal people especially the Fantes, the Ashantis became their enemies.....




Political Movements and Nationalism in Ghana (1945 - 1957)

The educated Ghanaians had always been in the fore-front of constructive movements. Names that come into mind are --Dr Aggrey, George Ferguson, John Mensah Sarbah. Others like king Ghartey IV of Winneba, Otumfuo Osei Agyeman Prempeh I raised the political consciousness of their subjects. However, movements towards political freedom started soon after WWII.




This happened because suddenly people realised the colonisation was a form of oppression, similar to the oppression they have just fought against. The war veterans had become radical. The myth surrounding the whiteman has been broken. The rulers were considered economic cheats, their arogance had become very offensive. They had the ruling class attitude, and some of the young District Commissioner (DC) treated the old chiefs as if they were their subjects. Local pay was bad. No good rural health or education policy.


Up to
1950 the Govt Secondary schools in the country were 2, the rest were built by the missionaries.
There was also the rejection of African culture to some extent. Some external forces also contributed to this feeling. African- Americans such as Marcus Garvey and WE Du Bois raised strong Pan-African conscience.




In 1945 a conference was held in Manchester to promote Pan African ideas. This was attended by Nkrumah of Ghana, Azikwe of Nigeria and Wallace Johnson of Sierra Leone. The India and Pakistani independence catalysed this desire.
Sir Alan Burns constitution of 1946 provided new legislative council that was made of the Governor as the President, 6 government officials, 6 nominated members and 18 elected members.
The executive council was not responsible to the legislative council. They were only in advisory capacity, and the governor did not have to take notice.
These forces made Dr J.B. Danquah to form the United Gold Coast Conversion (UGCC) in 1947. Nkrumah was invited to be the General Secretary to this party. Other officers were George Grant (Paa Grant), Akuffo Addo, William Ofori Atta, Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Agyei, and J Tsiboe. Their aim was Independence for Ghana. They rejected the Burns constitution.


March 6, 1957:

Ghana became the first country in Africa south of the Sahara to gain independence from colonial rule. Africa and the rest of the world follows the creation of the new state with high anticipations. The situation in Ghana inspire nationalist movements all over the continent. The economy seems to be good and promising as Ghana is rich with gemstones, forests and crops. Ghana is the leading cocoa exporter in the world and produces one tenth of the world’s gold. 25% of the population is literate (which is high compared to other colonies at the time) and many has an education.
Nkrumah is increasingly popular, but now faces the huge challenges of uniting a country of people that doesn’t have that much in common. On the contrary some groups still carry hostility towards each other from centuries of wars and the scars of slave trade. Political parties which are regional or tribal oriented are prohibited to enforce a feeling of national unity.




1958:
A new law makes it possible to arrest anyone who is suspected of working against the state. The suspects can be imprisoned up to five years without sentence. Ghana has already started a slow development towards a one-party state.
Industry is at rise in Ghana and work starts for the huge Akosombo Dam to supply energy. To finance the project Nkrumah is forced to accept hard terms from the American company Valco. Ghana’s economy and electricity supply is held back from this agreement even today.
1960: Nkrumah is appointed president of the republic.
Economy starts to turn bad and Ghana’s debt is rising at high speed. Nkrumah has started a great number of expensive and ambitious projects, but most of them gives no direct profit in return. The more basic agricultural sector is neglected. The end of the optimistic years results in a change in the political climate.
1962: Foreign investors and industry are forced by law to re-invest at least 60 percent of their profit within Ghana.
August 27th 1963: William Edward Burghardt Du Bois dies in Accra. The African-American W.E.B Du Bois was born as in Massachusetts (1868) and became one of the most important contributors to the Pan-African movement, which again influenced Kwame Nkrumah and the history of Ghana. Du Bois was invited by Nkrumah to settle in Ghana after independence.




1964:
Nkrumah suspends the democracy by suspending the constitution. Ghana officially becomes a one-party state and Nkrumah gains the power of a dictator. Criticised by the West, Nkrumah now turns to the Soviet Union and other communist countries.
The economy is out of control and the population is getting poorer. Nkrumah is no longer a popular leader as he hits hard on demonstrations and arrests anyone in opposition.
The first coup




February 24th, 1966:
A military coup (without blood-shed) ends the rule of Nkrumah and his government. The coup is made by British-trained officers and takes place while Nkrumah is paying an official visit to chairman Mao in Beijing. Nkrumah flights to asylum at his personal friend President Sékou Touré in Guinea. In the following days and weeks all Nkrumah statues in Accra are taken down by the crowds.
The new military government calls itself the National Liberation Council (NLC). It declares that the aim of the coup is to end corruption and change the constitution in order to get Ghana back on a democratic line. The members of the council has a conservative approach and keeps strict control with all left-wing politicians and ideologues. All connections to the Soviet Union are broken and technicians from USSR and China are expelled. The west sees this as a new direction in Ghanaian politics and economics.




May 1969:
NLC aims to be a provisional government until a new election. Political parties are once again legalised.
The Second republic
September 1969: Multi-party elections are held in Ghana and a new civilian government is formed by Dr. Kofi Busia and the Progress Party.
High prices on the cocoa market gives Busia a good start, but in 1971 the prices drop again and the economic situation in Ghana worsens. The government devaluates the Cedi leading to increased prices and general unrest in the population.




1972:

Kwame Nkrumah dies in Conakry, Guinea. In spite of his democratic failure he is still respected as the founder of Ghana. His body is later moved and buried in Accra.
Second Junta




January 13, 1972:
Forces within the military once again finds that it is time for a change of government and carries out a coup. The National Redemption Council puts in Colonel Ignatius Acheampong as head of the state. But Acheampong lacks experience and economic-political visions. The result is a growth of corruption in all levels of government and society.
1974: The population shows it’s dissatisfaction with the government through strikes – mostly arranged by students. The unions gets increasing support.
1975: Economy is close to collapse and it is no longer possible to come to agreement within the NRC-government. Acheampong decides to get rid of the government and forms the Supreme Military Council (SMC) with only seven hand-picked members. The opposition is far from happy with the situation, but the only answer from SMC is harassment and jailing of critics without sentence.
July 5, 1978: Acheampong is forced to resign as general William Akuffo takes control of the “Supreme Military Council II”. He promises to reinstate a civilian government. Political parties are once again allowed in Ghana and a date for election is set. No other major changes happens in the following year and the discontent continues.






The first coup - Ghana

February 24th, 1966:
A military coup (without blood-shed) ends the rule of Nkrumah and his government. The coup is made by British-trained officers and takes place while Nkrumah is paying an official visit to chairman Mao in Beijing. Nkrumah flights to asylum at his personal friend President Sékou Touré in Guinea. In the following days and weeks all Nkrumah statues in Accra are taken down by the crowds.
The new military government calls itself the National Liberation Council (NLC). It declares that the aim of the coup is to end corruption and change the constitution in order to get Ghana back on a democratic line. The members of the council has a conservative approach and keeps strict control with all left-wing politicians and ideologues. All connections to the Soviet Union are broken and technicians from USSR and China are expelled. The west sees this as a new direction in Ghanaian politics and economics.




May 1969:
NLC aims to be a provisional government until a new election. Political parties are once again legalised.
The Second republic




September 1969:

Multi-party elections are held in Ghana and a new civilian government is formed by Dr. Kofi Busia and the Progress Party.
High prices on the cocoa market gives Busia a good start, but in 1971 the prices drop again and the economic situation in Ghana worsens. The government devaluates the Cedi leading to increased prices and general unrest in the population.


1972:
Kwame Nkrumah dies in Conakry, Guinea. In spite of his democratic failure he is still respected as the founder of Ghana. His body is later moved and buried in Accra.
Second Junta


January 13, 1972:
Forces within the military once again finds that it is time for a change of government and carries out a coup. The National Redemption Council puts in Colonel Ignatius Acheampong as head of the state. But Acheampong lacks experience and economic-political visions. The result is a growth of corruption in all levels of government and society.


1974:
The population shows it’s dissatisfaction with the government through strikes – mostly arranged by students. The unions gets increasing support.


1975:
Economy is close to collapse and it is no longer possible to come to agreement within the NRC-government. Acheampong decides to get rid of the government and forms the Supreme Military Council (SMC) with only seven hand-picked members. The opposition is far from happy with the situation, but the only answer from SMC is harassment and jailing of critics without sentence.




July 5, 1978:
Acheampong is forced to resign as general William Akuffo takes control of the “Supreme Military Council II”. He promises to reinstate a civilian government. Political parties are once again allowed in Ghana and a date for election is set. No other major changes happens in the following year and the discontent continues



1960:
Nkrumah is appointed president of the republic.
Economy starts to turn bad and Ghana’s debt is rising at high speed. Nkrumah has started a great number of expensive and ambitious projects, but most of them gives no direct profit in return. The more basic agricultural sector is neglected. The end of the optimistic years results in a change in the political climate.


1962:
Foreign investors and industry are forced by law to re-invest at least 60 percent of their profit within Ghana.


August 27th 1963:

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois dies in Accra. The African-American W.E.B Du Bois was born as in Massachusetts (1868) and became one of the most important contributors to the Pan-African movement, which again influenced Kwame Nkrumah and the history of Ghana. Du Bois was invited by Nkrumah to settle in Ghana after independence.


1964:
Nkrumah suspends the democracy by suspending the constitution. Ghana officially becomes a one-party state and Nkrumah gains the power of a dictator. Criticised by the West, Nkrumah now turns to the Soviet Union and other communist countries.
The economy is out of control and the population is getting poorer. Nkrumah is no longer a popular leader as he hits hard on demonstrations and arrests anyone in opposition.




Rawlings
May 15, 1979
:

The young Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings heads an uprising within the army. The coup attempt is unsuccessful as Rawlings is arrested. Soon after he is freed again by soldiers supporting him.


June 4, 1979:
A few days before the planned election a new military coup is carried out by Jerry Rawlings. The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) takes power, but still has the intention to make place for a democratic election later the same month. The aim of the coup is apparently to ensure free elections and put an end to the corruption and economic chaos. But it is also to prevent the SMC generals from retiring to a life in luxury after having run down the country. Politically and economically Rawlings is inspired by socialist ideas.
June 18, 1979: Dr. Hilla Limann and his People’s National Party wins the election, but it is a close call: PNP gets 71 of the 140 seats in parliament.
Rawlings supports the AFRC in its determination to end corruption and restore order and justice before returning Ghana to democracy. The former leaders from the SMC government are tried and executed together with the three former chief of states: Acheampong, Akuffo and Afrifa. Several hundred government officials and businessmen are sent to prison.




The third republic
September 1979: AFRC turns over power to Hilla Limann. Rawlings and his soldiers returns to the army.
The new government tries, but not hard enough. It is not able to solve the economic stagnation of Ghana. Necessary, but unpopular economic reforms are given up in fear of unrest and a new coup.


Rawlings again
1980: Jerry Rawlings is not forgotten. He gains more and more popularity as he continues to demand an end to corruption. But Limann seems to have forgot the lessons learned from his predecessors. The corruption returns to society and internal conflicts finally breaks up the ruling party.




December 31, 1981:
Jerry Rawlings once again takes power through a military coup. The Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) is established with Rawlings as chairman. The parliament is dissolved and all political parties forbidden, but Rawlings insists that the (long-term) goal is restoring democracy in Ghana.
In all parts of the country local committees are established to build up democracy at all levels, inspire to public participation and fight corruption. While the committee work gives many Ghanaians a better feeling of responsibility and influence, all political opposition is strictly forbidden.


1982 and 1983:
Several coup attempts are made by dissatisfied parts of the army (mainly from the northern regions). None of the coups are successful. Opposition groups operating from Togo almost succeeds in an overtake. Relations between neighbouring countries Togo and Ghana worsens.




1984: 
The Ghanaian economy is finally showing signs of improvement, and even though Rawlings has a tough grip on Ghana, he maintains his popularity (first of all among workers and rural population). Rawlings has strong connections to Libya, Cuba and Eastern Europe, but his efforts to improve economy are rewarded with new loans by the IMF. For the following years Ghana continues to have the highest growth rate in Africa. Rawlings speaks strongly against the economic globalisation allowing market prices on Cocoa to determine the future of a developing country like Ghana.


1985: The Preventive Custody Law allows the government to imprison opponents for the sake of “state security”. The prisons are crowded with political prisoners.
Major Courage Qarshigah and other officers makes an attempt at Rawlings life. They are sentenced and one is found hanged in his prison cell. Amnesty International and the Western donor countries begins to criticise lack of human rights in Ghana.


1990: Rawlings forms the National Commission for Democracy to work out plans for the political future of Ghana.
1992: A new democratic constitution is passed. Political prisoners are freed and parties are allowed. Free press and human rights organisations emerges in Ghana.




December 2000: Rawlings’ presidency ends as the constitution only allows two terms in office. Vice president John Atta Mills is new presidential candidate, but it is John Kufour
from NPP who wins elections and becomes the new president.


April 2001: Ghana accepts a IMF/World Bank plan for debt relief.
May 2001: Riots at a football stadium leads to overreaction from the police. 126 are killed as panic breaks out in the stadium.
June 2001: Accra is flooded and up to 100,000 are displaced.
May 2002: A reconciliation commission starts investigating human rights during the many years of military rule.
March 2007: Ghana celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain.
January 2009: Atta Mills sworn in as President of Ghana.
July 2009: US President Barack Obama visits Ghana.
July 2012: President John Evans Atta Mills dead at 68.
July 2012: John Dramani Mahama sworn in as President of Ghana (Interim).
December 2012: John Dramani Mahama elected President.


Political outlook
Under Jerry Rawlings' rule, Ghana became the most politically stable and prosperous nation in West Africa and provided a model of development for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. This may continue under President Kufuor if the new government and opposition remain mindful of the turbulence in neighbouring Cte d'Ivoire and try to quell some of the grassroots violence seen during the last general election and in Dagbon in 2002.
Political instability and the intervention of the military is unlikely, particularly given Kufuor's ability to turn the Ghanaian economy around since he came to power. Despite his outbursts, Rawlings' career as a serial coup maker appears to be over. Nevertheless, following his inauguration in January 2001, President Kufuor appeared to backtrack on many popular policies which brought him electoral success. Apparently more interested in appeasing Western donors and international financial institutions than bolstering his own popularity, Kufuor pledged a period of austerity measures. He claims he is fully aware of the dangers this could pose to Ghana's political stability. In his swearing-in ceremony he warned that the ailing economy would 'put severe strains on our people's beliefs and enthusiasm for the democratic process' unless donors step up their assistance.
Culled from the booklet "GHANA - a brief guide" a publication of the Ghana Information Services Department 1994.

The Constitution
CHAPTER THREE
CITIZENSHIP


6.
(1) Every person who, on the coming into force of this Constitution, is a citizen of Ghana by law shall continue to be a citizen of Ghana.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person born in or outside Ghana after the coming into force of this Constitution, shall become a citizen of Ghana at the date of his birth if either of his parents or grandparents is or was a citizen of Ghana.
(3) A child of not more than seven years of age found in Ghana whose parents are not know shall be presumed to be a citizen of Ghana by birth.
(4) A child of not more than sixteen years of age neither of whose parents is a citizen of Ghana who is adopted by a citizen of Ghana shall, be virtue of the adoption, be a citizen of Ghana.


7.
(1) A woman married to a man who is a citizen of Ghana or a man married to a woman who is a citizen of Ghana may, upon making an application in the manner prescribed by Parliament, be registered as a citizen of Ghana.
(2) Clause (1) of this article applies also to a person who was married to a person who, but for his or her death, would have continued to be a citizen of Ghana under clause (1) of article 6 of this Constitution.
(3) Where the marriage of a woman is annulled after she has been registered as a citizen of Ghana under clause (1) of this article, she shall, unless she renounces that citizenship, continue to be a citizen of Ghana.
(4) Any child of a marriage of a woman registered as a citizen of Ghana under clause (1) of this article to which clause (3) of this article applies, shall continue to be a citizen of Ghana unless he renounces that citizenship.
(5) Where upon an application by a man for registration under clause (1) of this article, it appears to the authority responsible for the registration that a marriage has been entered into primarily with a view to obtaining the registration, the authority may request the applicant to satisfy him that the marriage was entered into in good faith; and the authority may only effect the registration upon being so satisfied.
(6) In the case of a man seeking registration, clause (1) of this article applies only if the applicant permanently resides in Ghana.






8.
(1) Subject to this article, a citizen of Ghana Shall cease forthwith to be a citizen of Ghana if, on attaining the age of twenty-one years, he, by a voluntary act, other than marriage, acquired or retains the citizenship of a country other than Ghana.
(2) A person who becomes a citizen of Ghana by registration and immediately after the day on which he becomes a citizen of Ghana is also a citizen of some other country, shall cease to be a citizen of Ghana unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance specified in the Second Schedule to this Constitution and made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by law, or unless he has obtained an extension of time for taking those steps and the extended period has not expired.
(3) A Ghanaian citizen who loses his Ghanaian citizenship as a result of the acquisition or possession of the citizenship of a country other than Ghana shall, on the renunciation of his citizenship of that other country, become a citizen of Ghana.
(4) Where the law of a country, other than Ghana, requires a person who marries a citizen of that country to renounce the citizenship of his own country by virtue of that marriage, a citizen of Ghana who is deprived of his citizenship of Ghana by virtue of that marriage shall, on the dissolution of that marriage, if he thereby loses his citizenship acquired by that marriage, become a citizen of Ghana.






9.
(1) Parliamentary may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Ghana by persons who are not eligible to become citizens of Ghana under the provision of this Constitution.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in article 7 of this Constitution, a person shall not be registered as a citizen of Ghana unless at the time of his application for registration he is able to speak and understand an indigenous language of Ghana.
(3) The High Court may, on an application made for the purpose by the Attorney-General, deprive a person who is a citizen of Ghana, otherwise than by birth, of that citizenship on the ground.
(a) that the activities of that person are inimical of the security of the State or prejudicial to public morality or the public interest; or
(b) that the citizenship was acquired by fraud, misrepresentation or any other improper or irregular practice.
(4) There shall be published in the Gazette by the appropriate authority and within three months after the application or the registration, as the case may be, the name,. particulars and other details of a person who, under this article applies to be registered as a citizen of Ghana or has been registered as a citizen of Ghana.






(5) Parliament may make provision for the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Ghana.
10.
(1) A reference in this Chapter to the citizenship of the parent of a person at the time of the birth of that person shall, in relation to a person born after the death of the parent, be construed as a reference to the citizenship of the parent at the time of the parent's death.
(2) For the purposes of clause (1) of this article, where the death occurred before the coming into force of this Constitution, the citizenship that the parent would have had if he or she had died on the coming into force of this Constitution shall be deemed to be his or her citizenship at the time of his or her death.