On Sunday 07 January 2018 the President of Ghana, Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presided over a thanksgiving ceremony marking 25 years of democratic rule in Ghana. Ghana gained independence on 06 March 1957 under the leadership of Nkwame Nkrumah. However, from 1957 to 1981 Ghana had three republics each initiated and characterized by violent and/or forcible unconstitutional take-over of power as well as by one-party rule or dominance. This situation was enabled by Cold War politics that prevailed at the time.
With the wind of (re)democratization that blew across Africa as from 1990 due to the end of the Cold War, Ghana adopted a new democratic Constitution in 1992 that came into effect on 07 January 1993. This Constitution heralded the coming of the fourth republic. According to the United States Library of Congress:
The 1992 Constitution was “drawn up with the intent of preventing future coups, dictatorial government, and one-party states. [It was] designed to foster tolerance and the concept of power-sharing. The document reflects the lessons drawn from the abrogated constitutions of 1957, 1960, 1969, and 1979, and it incorporates provisions and institutions drawn from British and United States constitutional models”.
Since 1993 there have been five peaceful alternations in power and has become a stable country. The Ghanaian experience is in deep contrast to what has happened elsewhere in Africa since (re)democratization in the early 1990s. In effect, in most countries in Africa, the adoption or return of democracy as the Cold War ended has instead turned out to be a disguise of practices attributed to the Cold War era politics. Internal conflict for power has therefore been the order of the day in these countries.
Ghana is currently Africa’s most democratic country according to several indicators and therefore stands out as the ideal example that democracy is possible in Africa. The huge development strides made by Ghana since the entry into force of the fourth republic equally showcase the strong link between good governance practices that should characterize democratic rule and development.
- US Library of Congress. (n.d.). Ghana: The Fourth Republic. Consulted on January 09, 2018, on Country Studies
Also see Democracy Chronicles news on Ghanese Democracy.