President Mahama would tomorrow hand over to President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo -Addo.
President Mahama would tomorrow hand over to President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo -Addo.

Ghana through the years

Tomorrow, the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would be sworn in as the fifth President of the Fourth Republic.


The country after independence has witnessed both democratic and military rule with countless governments overthrown through coup d-etats.

The Mirror team takes a look at all the Presidents and Head of States the country has had since independence, as well as some historic events.


On March 6,1957, Ghana became the first country in Africa south of the Sahara to gain independence from British colonial rule with Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah as its first Prime Minister.

Ghana became a Republic on July 1, 1960 with Dr Kwame Nkrumah as its first President.

Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and his colleagues stood at the Old Polo Grounds in Accra on the eve of Ghana’s political independence, to declare the country’s freedom from British colonial rule.

The Nkrumah led administration was overthrown on  February 24, 1966 and the National Liberation Council (NLC), headed by Lt General Joseph Arthur Ankrah, formed the next government to administer the country.

General Ankrah was removed from office in April 1969 and Lt General Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa became the Chairman of the NLC which later gave way to a three-man Presidential Commission with General Afrifa as Chairman.

The Commission paved way for general election in 1969 which brought into power the Progress Party government, with Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia as Prime Minister and Mr Edward Akufo Addo, the father of the President-elect, as President.

The Armed Forces again took over the reins of government on January 13,1972 and Colonel (later General) Ignatius Kutu Acheampong became the Head of State and Chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC).

The name of the NRC was later changed to the Supreme Military Council (SMC). General Acheampong was replaced by General F.W.K. Akuffo in a palace coup in July 1978.

The SMC was overthrown on June 4,1979 in a mass revolt of junior officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces.

Following the uprising, an Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) was set up under the Chairmanship of Flt-Lt Jerry John Rawlings.

Third Republic

Dr Hilla  Limann, the first and only President of the Third Republic, came to power after winning the 1979 general election on the ticket of the People’s National Convention.

After enjoying some years in power, he was toppled by the man who handed over power to him, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, in a coup on  December 31, 1981 that marked the the end of the Third Republic.

After taking power from Dr Limann in 1981, Jerry John Rawlings established the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) with himself as Chairman and ruled Ghana as the Head of State. In 1992, he retired from the Army and set up the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which will go on to win the 1992 general elections.

Fourth Republic

The Fourth Republic was inaugurated on January 7,1993 with the swearing-in of Flt Lt Rawlings as President and his running mate, Mr K.N. Arkaah as Vice- President. The newly elected Parliament was opened on the same day and elected Justice D.F. Annan as Speaker.

In 1996, Flt Lt Rawlings was re-elected  for a second term.

In 2000, he could not contest again since the Constitution allowed only two terms for each President. He endorsed his Vice-President, the late John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, as his successor but they were not successful as they lost to the New Patriotic Party’s John Agyekum Kufour.

President Kufour ruled Ghana for eight years which translates into two terms. He supervised the 2008 election but his party’s candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, lost to the National Democratic Congress’ Professor  John Evans Attah Mills.


He handed over power to President Mills on January 7,  2009.

Death laid it’s icy hands on President Mills on July 24, 2012, just before the end of his first term, making him the first Ghanaian President to die while in office. His then Vice-President, John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as President.

President Mahama won the  2012 election and became Ghana’s fourth President under the Fourth Republic. He, however, lost to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in the general elections held in December 2016.


Credits:, with additional files from the internet .


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