List of heads of state of Ghana

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This is a list of the heads of state of Ghana, from the independence of Ghana in 1957 to the present day.

Ghana Republic in West Africa

Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.

Contents

From 1957 to 1960 the head of state under the Constitution of 1957 was the Queen of Ghana, Elizabeth II, who was also the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen was represented in Ghana by a Governor-General. Ghana became a republic under the Constitution of 1960 and the Monarch and Governor-General were replaced by an executive President.

Queen of Ghana

From 1957 to 1960, Ghana was an independent constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II as its queen. She was also the Queen of the other Commonwealth realms, including the United Kingdom, and her constitutional roles in Ghana were delegated to a Governor-General.

Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

Monarchy of the United Kingdom Function and history of the British monarchy

The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952.

Monarch (1957–1960)

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

Succession to the British throne Law governing who can become British monarch

Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex, legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible.

Monarch
(Birth–Death)
PortraitReignRoyal House Prime Minister
Reign startReign end
1Queen Elizabeth II
(1926–)
Queen Elizabeth II in March 2015.jpg 6 March 19571 July 1960 Windsor Nkrumah

Governor-General

The Governor-General was the representative of the Monarch in Ghana and exercised most of the powers of the Monarch. The Governor-General was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the monarch. Since Ghana was granted independence by the Ghana Independence Act 1957, rather than being first established as a semi-autonomous Dominion and later promoted to independence by the Statute of Westminster 1931, the Governor-General was to be always appointed solely on the advice of the Cabinet of Ghana without the involvement of the British government, with the sole exception of Charles Arden-Clarke, the former colonial governor, who served as Governor-General temporarily until he was replaced by William Hare. In the event of a vacancy the Chief Justice served as Officer Administering the Government.

A Dominion was the "title" given to the semi-independent polities under the British Crown, constituting the British Empire, beginning with Canadian Confederation in 1867. "Dominion status" was a constitutional term of art used to signify an independent Commonwealth realm; they included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and the Irish Free State, and then from the late 1940s also India, Pakistan, and Ceylon. The Balfour Declaration of 1926 recognised the Dominions as "autonomous Communities within the British Empire", and the 1931 Statute of Westminster confirmed their full legislative independence.

Statute of Westminster 1931

The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom whose modified versions are now domestic law within Australia and Canada; it has been repealed in New Zealand and implicitly in former Dominions that are no longer Commonwealth realms. Passed on 11 December 1931, the act, either immediately or upon ratification, effectively both established the legislative independence of the self-governing Dominions of the British Empire from the United Kingdom and bound them all to seek each other's approval for changes to monarchical titles and the common line of succession. It thus became a statutory embodiment of the principles of equality and common allegiance to the Crown set out in the Balfour Declaration of 1926. As the statute removed nearly all of the British parliament's authority to legislate for the Dominions, it had the effect of making the Dominions largely sovereign nations in their own right. It was a crucial step in the development of the Dominions as separate states.

Cabinet of Ghana

The Cabinet of Ghana is the Executive Branch of the Government of Ghana. The Cabinet members are appointed by the President and report to the President. The Cabinet is constituted in conformity with Article 76 (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The Constitution enjoins the President to have a Cabinet of not less than 10 and not more than 19 ministers.

Status
  Denotes Chief Justice acting as Officer Administering the Government
Governor-General
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureMonarch Prime Minister
Took officeLeft office
1 Sir Charles Arden-Clarke
(1898–1962)
The National Archives UK - CO 1069-43-9 - crop.jpg 6 March 195714 May 1957Elizabeth II Nkrumah
Sir Kobina Arku Korsah
(1894–1967)
No image.png 14 May 195713 November 1957Elizabeth IINkrumah
2 The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Listowel
(1906–1997)
No image.png 13 November 19571 July 1960Elizabeth IINkrumah

First Republic (1960–1966)

Under the 1960 Constitution, the first constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the President replaced the Monarch as executive head of state. The President was elected by Parliament for a 5-year term. In the event of a vacancy three Members of the Cabinet served jointly as Acting President.

Parliament of Ghana

The Parliament of Ghana is the legislative body of the Government of Ghana.

In law, when someone is said to be acting in a position it can mean that, the position has not yet been formally created, the person is only occupying the position temporarily to ensure continuity, or the person does not have a mandate.

Status
  Denotes three Members of the Cabinet acting jointly as President
President
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureElectedPolitical affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Took officeLeft office
1 Kwame Nkrumah
(1909–1972)
Kwame Nkrumah (JFKWHP-AR6409-A).jpg 1 July 196026 February 1966
( deposed. )
1960
1965
Convention People's Party

Military rule (1966–1969)

Lieutenant-General Joseph Arthur Ankrah led a coup d'état which overthrew President Nkrumah and his government, all political parties and Parliament were also dissolved.

Lieutenant General Joseph Arthur Ankrah served as the first commander of the Army of Ghana, the Ghanaian Chief of the Defence Staff and from 1966 and 1969 as the 2nd President of Ghana. Ankrah also served as Chairperson of the Organisation of African Unity from 24 February to 5 November 1966.

Coup détat Sudden deposition of a government; illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus

A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

Head of State
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureMilitary
Took officeLeft office
2 Lieutenant-General Joseph Arthur Ankrah
(1915–1992)
No image.png 24 February 19662 April 1969
(resigned.)
National Liberation Council
3 Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
(1936–1979)
No image.png 2 April 19693 September 1969 National Liberation Council

Second Republic (1969–1972)

Status
  Denotes Speaker of Parliament and acting President
President
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureElectedPolitical affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Prime Minister
Took officeLeft office
(3) Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
(1936–1979)
No image.png 3 September 19697 August 1970 Military Busia
Nii Amaa Ollennu
(1906–1986)
Nii Amaa Ollennu.png 7 August 197031 August 1970 Independent
4 Edward Akufo-Addo
(1906–1979)
No image.png 31 August 197013 January 1972
( deposed.)
Independent

Military rule (1972–1979)

General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong led a coup d'état which overthrew the President Akufo-Addo, Prime Minister Abrefa Busia and his government, all political parties and Parliament was also dissolved.

Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo led a coup d'état which overthrew the General Acheampong then Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings led a coup d'état which overthrown the Supreme Military Council

Head of State
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureMilitary
Took officeLeft office
5 General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
(1931–1979)
No image.png 13 January 19729 October 1975 National Redemption Council
9 October 19755 July 1978
( deposed.)
Supreme Military Council
6 Lieutenant-General Fred Akuffo
(1937–1979)
No image.png 5 July 19784 June 1979
( deposed. )
Supreme Military Council
7 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings
(1947–)
Jerry Rawlings visits AMISOM 02 (6874167713) (cropped).jpg 4 June 197924 September 1979 Armed Forces Revolutionary Council

Third Republic (1979–1981)

Under the 1979 Constitution the President is head of both state and government. The President is elected by Ghanaians and serves a four-year term that expires at the next general election; a President may serve a maximum of two terms. In the event of a vacancy the Vice-President serves as Acting President.

Status
  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
President
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureElectedPolitical affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Took officeLeft office
8 Hilla Limann
(1934–1998)
Hilla Limann.jpg 24 September 197931 December 1981
( deposed. )
1979 People's National Party

Military rule (1981–1993)

Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings led a coup d'état which overthrew President Limann and his government, all political parties and Parliament were also dissolved.

Head of State
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureMilitary
Took officeLeft office
(7) Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings
(1947–)
Jerry Rawlings visits AMISOM 02 (6874167713) (cropped).jpg 31 December 19817 January 1993 Provisional National Defence Council

Fourth Republic (1993–present)

Under the current Constitution the President is head of both state and government. The President is elected by Ghanaians and serves a four-year term that expires at the next general election; a President may serve a maximum of two terms. In the event of a vacancy, the Vice-President serves the remaining time as the President.

Status
  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
President
(Birth–Death)
PortraitTenureElectedPolitical affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Took officeLeft office
(7) Jerry Rawlings
(1947–)
Jerry Rawlings visits AMISOM 02 (6874167713) (cropped).jpg 7 January 19937 January 2001 1992
1996
National Democratic Congress
9 John Kufuor
(1938–)
John Agyekum Kufuor - World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg 7 January 20017 January 2009 2000
2004
New Patriotic Party
10 John Atta Mills
(1944–2012)
John Atta-Mills election poster.jpg 7 January 200924 July 2012
(died in office)
2008 National Democratic Congress
11 John Mahama
(1958–)
John Dramani Mahama at Chatham House.jpg 24 July 20127 January 2017 2012 National Democratic Congress
12 Nana Akufo-Addo
(1944–)
Nana Akufo-Addo at European Development Days 2017.jpg 7 January 2017Incumbent 2016 New Patriotic Party

Standards

Living former heads of state

ImageNameTerm/ReignOfficeDate of birth
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Elizabeth II 1957–1960Queen of Ghana21 April 1926 (age 92)
Jerry Rawlings visits AMISOM 02 (6874167713) (cropped).jpg Jerry Rawlings 1979
1981–1993
1993–2001
Military ruler
President of Ghana
22 June 1947 (age 71)
John Agyekum Kufuor - World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg John Kufuor 2001–2009President of Ghana8 December 1938 (age 80)
John Dramani Mahama 2014 (cropped).jpg John Dramani Mahama 2012–2017President of Ghana29 November 1958 (age 60)

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The National Reconciliation Commission was established in January 2002 by the parliament of Ghana. The goal of the commission was to establish an "accurate, complete and historical record of violations and abuses of human rights inflicted on persons by public institutions and holders of public office during periods of unconstitutional government." The Commission was formed after a new democratic party won the elections in 2000. The Commission covered human rights violations in Ghana from 1957 to 1993. It looked into government abuses and military coups staged by former president Jerry Rawlings. The members of the Commission worked until the end of 2004.

References