Ghana, the closest landmass to the centre of the world, lies at a latitude of 7.9465⁰ N, and longitude 1.0232⁰ W in the West African region, and is bordered in the North by Burkina Faso, East by Togo, West by La Cote d’Ivoire and the South by the Gulf of Guinea. It was formerly known as the Gold Coast, and was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans arrived to trade in 1471 – first in gold and later in slaves. Due to the abundance of, and the trade in gold, the country obtained its pre-independent name Gold Coast. By 1901, the British had established a colony incorporating all of the Gold Coast, with its kingdoms and tribes as a single unit. The British employed the ‘Indirect Rule’ as the system of governance to administer the Gold Coast.

In 1957, the Gold Coast became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from colonial rule on 6th March, 1957, adopting the new name Ghana. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became its Prime Minister with the Queen of England as Head of State.

On July 1 1960, a new constitution was adopted which changed Ghana from a Parliamentary system with a Prime Minister to a Republican form of Government with a President. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the first President of Ghana but on 24th February 1966, a military coup d’etat overthrew the government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Following this, Ghana experienced a number of coup d’etats and military rule interspersed with civilian governance spanning the period 1969 to 1992.

In 1992, a new constitution ushered in the Fourth Republic. Under the new constitution, the sovereignty of Ghana was vested in the hands of the citizens who exercise their power to elect a President, through universal adult suffrage, and also elect Parliamentarians every four years.

State power is shared among the three Arms of Government who act as checks and balances on each other.

The Executive Arm of Government is led by the President who is the Head of State and Government and also the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and is assisted by a Vice President. The President appoints Ministers of State, with the prior approval of Parliament, as part of the Executive Arm of Government. The President also appoints Chief Executive Officers as Heads of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies who act as the President’s representative at the decentralized level.

The President serves for a term of four years and is eligible to be re-elected for another term of four years after which the constitution debars him from contesting again. Though Ghana practices a system of multiparty democracy, there are two dominant political parties – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), whose flagbearers have been elected President at various times.  Since the coming into force of the Fourth Republic, Ghana’s Presidents have been H.E Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings (NDC, 1993 – 2000), H.E John Agyekum Kufuor (NPP, 2001 – 2008), H.E John Evans Atta-Mills (NDC, 2009 – 2012) and H.E John Dramani Mahama (NDC, 2012 – 2016). The current President of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP, was first elected in December 2016 and then re-elected in December 2020. Political power has thus rotated between the two main political parties in Ghana, the NPP and the NDC, and Ghana has gained the enviable reputation of peaceful transfer of power from one government to the other.

The Parliament of Ghana is the second Arm of Government. Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to represent their constituencies in Parliament for a term of four years. There are currently Two Hundred and Seventy-Five (275) constituencies in Ghana. The leadership of Parliament consists of the Speaker, two Deputy Speakers, and the Majority and Minority leaders of the House. The Speaker is elected by the 275 MPs and he/she may be elected from among the Parliamentarians or from outside of Parliament. The current Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Babgin was elected on 7th January 2021.

The basic function of Ghana’s Parliament is Legislative, as enshrined under Article 93(2) of the 1992 constitution. This legislative function consists of passing Bills into Acts of Parliament, scrutinizing statutory instruments and deciding whether to annul them or allow them to take effect by the effluxion of time. Other functions of Parliament include Financial control (Power of the purse), Oversight of the Executive, Representational and Deliberation.

Since the inception of the 4th Republic in 1992, Ghana’s Parliament has also been dominated by members from the two major political parties in Ghana, the NPP and the NDC. The 1992 constitution enjoins the President to appoint half of his Ministers from Parliament, making Ghana a hybrid system between the Executive and Parliamentary systems of government.

The Judiciary is the third Arm of Government. Ghana’s judiciary comprises the Superior Courts of Judicature, (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Courts and Regional Tribunals) which are established under the 1992 Constitution, and other inferior courts established by Acts of Parliament. The Judiciary is an independent State body clothed with the authority to interpret and apply the laws of Ghana. The Head of the Judiciary is the Chief Justice who is appointed by the President, on the advice of the Judicial Service and in consultation with Parliament and the Council of State.

The Independence of the Judiciary in Ghana is protected by the 1992 Constitution and therefore neither the Executive nor the Legislature is able to interfere with judicial proceedings and verdicts.

The current Chief Justice of Ghana, His Lordship Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, was sworn into office as Chief Justice on 7th January, 2020.

To read updates regarding the Presidency, kindly access https://presidency.gov.gh/

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