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Ghana: Ghana Government Profile


President John Dramani Mahama

Nana Akufo-Addo

72 years-old
Human rights lawyer
Campaigned for a return to multi-party democracy under military rule
A former justice and foreign minister in the NPP government from 2001 to 2007, he is running for president for a third time
Main promise: Build a factory in each of Ghana's more than 200 districts

Mr Akufo-Addo's wife Rebecca was part of his campaign. She told a TV show that he was a "very loving" family man.

"He is also passionate about his politics. He's always cared about Ghana and wanted to do his bit for his country," she added.

Mr Akufo-Addo is credited with helping to build up the NPP, which first contested an election in 1992 when Ghana returned to multiparty democracy after years of military rule.

His political career spans more than four decades and he was active in political movements in his early 30s, when he criticised the military government of the time.

He studied in both Ghana and the UK before working as a lawyer in France and served as an MP for the Abuakwa South constituency in eastern Ghana between 1996 and 2008.


The 1993 constitution that established the Fourth Republic provided a basic charter for the republican democratic government. It declared Ghana to be a unitary republic with sovereignty residing in the Ghanaian people. Intended to prevent next coups, dictatorial government, and one-party states, it was designed to establish the concept of power sharing. The document reflects lessons learned from the abrogated constitutions of 1957, 1960, 1969, and 1979, and incorporated provisions and institutions drawn from British and American constitutional models. One controversial provision of the constitution indemnified members and appointees of the PNDC from liability for any official act or omission during the years of PNDC policy. The constitution calls for a system of checks and balances, with power shared between a president, a unicameral parliament, an advisory Council of National, and an independent judiciary.

Executive authority is established in the Office of the Presidency, together with his Council of National. The president is chief of national, chief of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. He as well appoints the vice president. According to the constitution, additional than half of the presidential-appointed ministers of national must be appointed from part members of Parliament.

Legislative functions are vested in Parliament, which consists of a unicameral 230-member body plus the Speaker. In practice, legislative powers are highly constrained by Article 108 of the constitution, which prohibits Parliament from initiating any bill that has financial implications. To become law, legislation must have the assent of the president, who has a qualified veto over all bills except those to which a vote of urgency is attached. Members of Parliament are popularly elected by universal adult suffrage for terms of 4 years, except in wartime, at the same time as terms may be extended for not additional than 12 months at a time beyond the 4 years.

The structure and the power of the judiciary are independent of the two other branches of government. The Supreme Court has broad powers of judicial review. It is authorized by the constitution to policy on the constitutionality of any legislation or executive action at the request of any aggrieved citizen. The hierarchy of courts derives largely from British juridical forms. The hierarchy, called the Superior Court of Judicature, is composed of the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice, regional tribunals, and such lower courts or tribunals as Parliament may establish. The courts have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters.

The government of John Atta Mills appears to enjoy broad support part the Ghanaian people as it pursues the domestic political schedule entitled “Better Ghana.” The ruling NDC is a social democratic party that seeks to harness the power of the free market to protect worker rights and reduce poverty, while supporting the policy of law and basic human rights. The government inherited a fiscal crisis at the same time as it took office; in addition to focusing on the economy, President Mills has pursued an anti-corruption schedule and has announced plans to review the 1993 constitution and support decentralization. President Mills has expressed a willingness to confront Ghana's problem with narcotics trafficking, most recently with a speech at the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly . As part of its anti-corruption efforts the Mills government has required senior government officials to comply with the assets declaration law, changed the regulation to require public disclosure of assets, pledged better transparency in government procurement, expanded the Critical Fraud Office into the Economic and Organised Crime Office, and fired a minister for misusing public funds.

Government Type: constitutional democracy

Ethnic groups: Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)

Capital: Accra - 2.269 million (2009)

Other Major Cities: 2.269 million (2009)

Administrative Divisions: 10 regions:ghana-regions-named

  1. Ashanti,
  2. Brong-Ahafo,
  3. Central,
  4. Eastern,
  5. Better Accra,
  6. Northern,
  7. Upper East,
  8. Upper West,
  9. Volta,
  10. Western

Independence Date: 6 March 1957 (from UK)

Legal System: mixed system of English common law and customary law. Ghana has not submitted an International court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction declaration. It accepts International criminal court (ICCt) jurisdiction.

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Government type: 

constitutional democracy

Administrative divisions: 

10 regions; Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western


6 March 1957 (from the UK)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 6 March (1957)


approved 28 April 1992

Legal system: 

based on English common law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch: 

unicameral Parliament (230 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held on 7 December 2008 (next to be held on 7 December 2012) election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDC 114, NPP 107, PNC 2, CPP 1, independent 4, other 2

Judicial branch: 

Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders : 

Convention People's Party or CPP [Ladi NYLANDER]; Democratic Freedom Party or DFP [Alhaji Abudu Rahman ISSAKAH]; Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere or EGLE; Great Consolidated Popular Party or GCPP [Dan LARTEY]; National Democratic Congress or NDC [Dr. Kwabena ADJEI]; New Patriotic Party or NPP [Peter MAC-MANU]; People's National Convention or PNC [Alhaji Amed RAMADAN]; Reform Party [Kyeretwie OPUKU]; United Renaissance Party or URP [Charles WAYO]

Political pressure groups and leaders: 

Christian Aid (water rights); Committee for Joint Action or CJA (education reform); National Coalition Against the Privatization of Water or CAP (water rights); Oxfam (water rights); Public Citizen (water rights); Students Coalition Against EPA [Kwabena Ososukene OKAI] (education reform); Third World Network (education reform)

International organization participation: 


Flag description: 

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green, with a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; red symbolizes the blood shed for independence, yellow represents the country's mineral wealth, while green stands for its forests and natural wealth; the black star is said to be the lodestar of African freedom note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; similar to the flag of Bolivia, which has a coat of arms centered in the yellow band

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