HEADS OF STATE OF GHANA
Ghana gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957. Before independence, Ghana was a British colony called the Gold Coast with colonial administrators.
The last 3 governors of the Gold coast before the independence were. Sir Robert Scott, Sir Charles Noble Arden- Clarke and Lord Listowell.
Today, the country is a unitary constitutional democracy with a president. The president serves as both head of state and head of the government.
Although the status of the country was changed to a republic with democratic elections, there was a long period of instability in the country due to several military interventions.
When the seniors and juniors of the army were not happy with the head of the state, they would organise a military coup to overthrow the president and take over his duties for the next couple of years. This would go on until early 1990s and 2000s.
Here is a full list of the presidents since 1957.
- Elizabeth II:
There was also a Governor-General who used to represent the Monarch in Ghana. The services of Sir Charles Arden-Clarke and Sir Kobina Arku Korsah were short-lived. William Hare remained in the position for 3 years.
- Dr. Kwame Nkrumah:
In 1960, a referendum was held to approve a new constitution which changed the country’s status from monarchy to a republic with a presidential state of government.
Before being elected as president, Nkrumah was the first Prime Minister from 1952 to 1960. He remained in the office for 6 years.
- Joseph Arthur Ankrah:
The Lieutenant General was the first commander of the army of Ghana. In 1966, he led a military coup to overthrow Nkrumah and to dissolve the Parliament. The military rule lasted for three years.
- Akwasi Afrifa:
He was the head of State and the leader of the military government for a short while between April and September 1969. After the second republic was established, he remained in the office as the acting president until August 1970.
- Nii Amaa Ollennu: He was a jurist and judge at the Supreme Court of Ghana before becoming the President. However, he was in the office for only 24 days.
- Edward Akufo Addo:
The Ghanaian lawyer and politician regarded as one of the founding fathers of Ghana since he fought for the independence. He remained in the office for 1.5 years until another military coup.
- Ignatius Kutu Acheampong:
In 1972, he led a second military coup which overthrew Akufo-Addo. He ruled Ghana for 6.5 years before being executed at the end of the 1970s.
- Fred Akuffo:
He was a Chief of Defense Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces and Head of State while the Supreme Military Council ruled Ghana. He was also overthrown by another military coup and executed along with other senior military officers
- Jerry Rawlings:
He forcefully overthrew Fred Akuffo and the Supreme Military Council in June 1979 and replaced it with Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.
- Dr. Hilla Limann:
The third republic was established in 1979. Dr. Hilla Limann was elected President under People’s National Party and received strong support from the citizens, especially the supporters of the former president Nkrumah. He was later tragically overthrown by Jerry rawlings in 1981.
- Jerry Rawlings:
After brutally and forcefully overthrowing Dr. Hilla Limann. He ruled lasted for 7 years. In what some people have labelled as the most horrific, brutal and very dark period in the history of Ghana from curfews to the killing of some Ghanaian prominent judges.
- John Kufuor:
The former President John Kufuor’s election in 2001 was considered the first fair democratic election since 1957. He was more of a liberal-democrat who focused on health and education. He initiated National Health Insurance Scheme, National Ambulance Service and National School Feeding Programme.
He remained in the office until 2009 and had to quit according to the term limit which deduced one could only stay in the seat for a maximum of 8 years. Former President John Kufuor is popularly known as Gentle Giant and loved by many.
- John Atta Mills:
He was formerly the Vice-President from 1997 to 2001. Later on, he was elected as President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012. He initiated the mass production of oil and thus facilitated economic growth. He sadly died in 2012 while he was still in office.
- John Mahama:
He served as Vice President of Ghana until the death of John Alta Mills; but lost to the New Patriotic Party Candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the next election in 2016.
- Nana Akufo Addo:
He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007.
Nana Akufo Addo ran for president once in 2008 and once in 2012, He finally won in his third attempt, He is now the current president.
Credit: Ghana Education/History/Ghana/Research/FVV/First hand Info/ Ghana History