This weekend marks another celebration of the countries independence.
As we get close to the day, we’ll like to take a moment and walk you through the history of the country and all the leaders who have ruled from 1960.
Ghana is in it’s fourth republic now and we’ve had six terms of four years each with the baton of governance changing hands 3 times between the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party.
Ghana has witnessed both democratic/civil and military rule. We’ve had countless governments overthrown through coup d-etats.
Below are all the presidents and head of states we’ve had in this country since Dr.Kwame Nkumah became the first president.
1. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was born in September 1909. He led Ghana to independence from the British in 1957. He became Ghana’s first President after independence in the 1st republic. He took office on 1 July, 1960 and ruled for over 5 years before being overthrown through a coup d-etat on 26 February, 1966.
He died on 27 April 1972 and was married to Fathia Nkrumah an Egyptian banker. They had three children, Gamel Nkrumah, Sekou Nkrumah and Samia Nkrumah.
2. General Joseph Ankrah.
General Ankrah was born on 18 August 1915. He was Ghana’s second head of state. He took over after Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in February, 1966. Before then, he served as the first commander of the Ghana Armed Forces, he was however dismissed from the army on suspicion of his involvement in a coup plot in July 1965.
Whiles in office as Head of State, General Ankrah mediated between warring factions of the Nigeria civil war. In 1969, Ankrah was forced to resign as Chairman of the National Liberation Council and Head of State over a bribery scandal involving a Nigerian businessman. He was accused of financially influencing the results of a poll which showed him ahead of Afrifa and Kofi Abrefa Busia for the national elections due in August 1969.
General Ankrah died of natural causes on 25 November 1992.
3. Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
Brigadier Afrifa was born on 24 April 1936. He was a soldier and a traditional ruler. He was known popularly as Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa and was instrumental in the 1966 coup that ousted Kwame Nkrumah.
Afrifa was made Head of State after General Ankrah was forced to resign in 1969. He ruled and suppervised the general elections in the same year and handed over power to his friend, Kofi Abrefa Busia. After the overthrow of the Busia government, Afrifa, a known supporter of Busia was arrested on 15 January 1972 and detained until December 1972. He went to his Mampong hometown and busied himself with farming. He was executed on 26 June, 1979 after he had won the Mampong North parliamentary seat.
4. Kofi Abrefa Busia
Busia was born on 11 July 1913. He was the first Prime Minister in the 2nd Republic. He won the general elections in 1969 with his Peoples Party.
He was however removed from office through a coup on 13 January 1972. He died from a heart attack in 1979 and left behind three children, Abena Busia, Akosua Busia and Kofi Amaniampong Busia.
5. General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong led a coup d’etat that brought the presidency of Kofi Abrefa Busia to an end. He was born on 23 September 1931.
Acheampong tool over the ruling of Ghana from 13 January 1972 to 9 October 1975 under the National Redemption Council
and from 9 October 1975 to 5 July 1978 under the Supreme Military Council (SMC).
During his stay in power he implemented major the changes like, changing from driving on the left to right-hand drive in “Operation Keep Right”, “Operation Feed Yourself”, “National Reconstruction” etc etc.
Acheampong was overthrown on 5 July 1978 and executed in June 1979.
6. General Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo
He was born on 21 March 1937. He led the palace coup to overthrow the then Head of state, General Kutu Acheampong on July 5, 1978. He continued with ongoing preparations to return Ghana to constitutional rule but unfortunately, his government was overthrown on 4 June 1979 by a military uprising led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
He was executed in June 1979 together with other senior military officers.
7. Flight Lieutenant Rawlings
He was 22 June 1947 and is a retired pilot of the Ghana Armed Forces. He took over the reigns of leadership on 4 June 1979 after successfully ousting the government of General Akuffo. He put in place measures to bring the country back to constitutional rule. He supervised a general election which was won by Dr. Hilla Limann and on 24 September, 1979, he handed over power to the Limann Government.
8. Dr. Hilla Limann
Dr.Limann was born on 12 December, 1934. He was the first and only President of the 3rd Republic. Dr. Limann who was virtually unknown, came to power after winning the 1979 general election on the ticket of the People’s National Convention. He won 62% of the popular votes in the second round of voting. He assumed office on 24 September, 1979.
After enjoying some years in power coupled with issues, he was toppled by the man who handed over power to him, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings in a coup on 31 December, 1981. With that came the end of the 3rd 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 it’s Head of State. He later gave in to mounting public pressure and began the process of bringing the country back under constitutional rule. In 1992, Jerry Rawlings retired from the army and set up the National Democratic Congress which will go on to win the 1992 general elections.
10. And some more…Jerry John Rawlings
He is the first president of the 4th Republic. He won the 1992 general elections as the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress. He won with 58.3% of total votes. After his first term, he stood for reelection and won again in 1996.
In 2000, he couldn’t contest again since the constitution allowed only two terms for each president. He endorsed his Vice president, 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 Kuffour.
11. John Agyekum Kuffour
He was born on 8 December 1938. He came to power after beating the incumbent National Democratic Congress candidate, John Evans Atta Mills in the 2000 general elections. He became the second president of the 4th Republic.
President Kuffour ruled Ghana for eight years, which translates to two terms. He supervised the 2008 elections but his party’s candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, lost to the National Democratic Congress’ Professor Mills. He handed over power to President Mills on 7 January 2009
12. Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mils (Late)
Born on 21 July 1944, John Mills was a university professor, a lawyer and legal scholar came into politics when he was chosen by then President Rawlings to be his running mate ahead of the 1996 elections. They won the election and he became Ghana’s Vice president. He remained in that until 2000 when he was endorsed as the ruling National Democratic Congress’ candidate for the 2000 general elections.
Unfortunately, he lost to the opposition NPP’s John Agyekum Kuffour. He contested President Kuffour again in 2004 and lost once again as President Kuffour won with 52.45% of total valid votes.
However, in 2008, President Mills became victorious as he defeated the ruling NPP’s candidate, Nana Akuffo Addo. He was sworn into office on 7 January, 2012 and became the third president of the 4th Republic.
Death laid it’s icy hands on President Mills on 24 July 2012, just before the end of his first term, making him the first Ghanaian president to die whiles in office. His then Vice president, John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as president and he’ll go on to win the 2012 elections for the NDC.
13. President Mahama
He came to office after the death of his former boss, Prof.Mills. Born 29 November, 1958, John Mahama served as Vice President from 2009-2012. He is a communication expert, historian and writer.
After the demise of then President, John Mills, President Mahama was sworn in as President as specified by the constitution. He was made the flag bearer of his party, the NDC and he went into the 2012 elections against the opposition NPP’s Nana Akuffo Addo.
President Mahama won the elections and became Ghana’s fourth President under the 4th Republic. He is seeking a second term this year.