Ghana Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

Abbreviated as GHA by Abbreviationfinder, Ghana is considered one of Africa’s strongest democracies. Since the country’s return to civilian rule in 1992, respect for human rights has been strengthened. A serious problem is corruption; In 2019, Ghana fell 39 rankings in Transparency International’s corruption index.

Elections are held regularly at the presidential post, Parliament and local parishes. The elections are generally judged to be free and fair. The results of the 2016 presidential election were accepted by all major parties.

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The Constitution provides that free party formation prevails, which is generally respected. However, in connection with the 2016 elections, the fee was raised significantly for parties that wanted to nominate candidates, which critics felt would hit hard for smaller parties. Parties may not be religious, geographically or ethnically based.

No special permits are required to hold demonstrations and organizations are allowed to operate freely.

Women are under-represented in politics. Of the 275 members elected in parliament in 2016, only 37 were women.

The situation for LGBTQ people is difficult because homosexuality is illegal in Ghana (see also Social conditions).

Corruption permeates every part of society, not least the police force and the judiciary. Corruption scandals within the authorities are often revealed by journalists. In 2019, Transparency International moved Ghana down 39 investments, from 41 to 80 out of 180 countries in the organization’s index of corruption in the world (see the full list here). Prior to that, the situation had improved with six investments since 2015.

Freedom of expression and media

Freedom of the press and opinion prevails and the debate climate is open. However, in recent years, the threats and violence against journalists have increased. In 2018, a group of journalists were forced to hide after being publicly threatened by a politician they were investigating. The politician was not prosecuted for the threat and one of the journalists was shot dead in the open street a month later.

In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2020, Ghana is ranked 30th among 180 countries, which means a fall of seven investments in two years. As a result, the country has lost its former top position among the African countries. Ghana is now third best in Africa, after Namibia (23) and Cape Verde (25).

Judicial system and legal security

The courts are largely independent of political power and the rule of law is regarded as relatively good. However, there is corruption in the judiciary and special attention aroused a bout in the judiciary in 2015, which resulted in several judges resigning (see Current policy).

Corruption within the police force is a particular problem. In a survey conducted by a non-profit organization in 2016, 61 percent of those surveyed stated that they had once paid a bribe to the police.

There are reports of arbitrary arrests and unnecessary violence on the part of the police. The conditions in the country’s prisons are described as miserable.

Ghana imposes the death penalty. A large number of convicted prisoners are in the country’s prisons. However, no prisoner has been executed for at least the last ten years according to Amnesty International.

Ghana Crime Rate & Statistics



NPP appeals for election results

Shortly before the turn of the year, NPP appealed the election result to the Supreme Court. The party claims to have evidence that there were more voters than registered voters in their places and that people without approved voting cards were allowed to participate.

The NDC gets its own majority

Ahead of the parliamentary election, which is being conducted simultaneously with the presidential election, the number of seats in the chamber is increased from 230 to 275. The NDC government party wins its own majority with 148 seats against 123 for opposition NPP. One mandate goes to the small party PNC and 3 mandates are obtained by independent candidates.

Technical problems in the election process

Independent observers from the Commonwealth , Ecowas and a Ghanaian organization believe that the election was conducted correctly, but technical problems with new voting cards (with digitally inserted fingerprints) mean that the election process is extended by one day. The NPP protests against the election result and claims that the Election Commission is in mascot with the NDC, which “systematically stole” votes from Akufo-Addo.

Mahama wins the presidential election

December 7

Mahama wins the presidential election in the first round – albeit by a very small margin. Mahama gets 50.7 percent of the vote compared to 47.7 percent for Akufo-Addo. According to the Election Commission, turnout is 78 percent.

Oil revenues become a matter of choice

In the electoral movement, the factual differences between the NDC’s Mahama and the NPP’s Akufo-Addo are small. However, there are different views on how to use the growing oil revenues; while Mahama wants to invest in infrastructure, Akufo-Addo wants to prioritize education and propose free high school studies.


Leading politicians’ salaries are shocked

Parliament raises the salaries of leading politicians. The president’s salary is increased from SEK 28,000 per month to SEK 42,000 tax-free. Government ministers and MPs receive a salary premium of more than 50 percent. A ministerial salary is thus about ten times greater than a teacher’s salary. Parliament’s resolutions receive criticism from anti-corruption organizations. Not least is anger provoked by the decision being made without first having been preceded by public debate.

Rawlings miss application time

Nana Konadu Rawlings is rejected as presidential candidate for her newly formed National Democratic Party (NDP) by the Election Commission, which states that she did not submit a correct application on time.


Mahama vs. Akufo-Addo

The NDC government unanimously appoints President-elect Mahama as its presidential candidate in the December 2012 election. Mahama also gets the Rawlings faction’s votes. His opponent from the NPP will be Nana Akufo-Addo, who lost the 2008 election by barely a margin.


Land grief after Mill’s passing

The recently deceased President John Atta Mills is buried. Three days of country grief is announced.


President Mills dies

July 24

President Mills dies at a military hospital in Accra after a brief illness. On the same day, Vice President John Dramani Mahama resigns Presidential Office in accordance with the Constitution and becomes Acting Head of State. Central Bank Governor Kwesi Amissah-Arthur is appointed new Vice President.


Unrest in eastern Ghana

Thousands of people flee their homes away from violent unrest in eastern Ghana. The outbreak of violence was triggered when a Muslim minister’s grave was opened.