Ghana has since the introduction of constitutional democracy in 1992 been a stable democracy.
Ghana has been a stable democracy since the introduction of constitutional democracy in 1992. Changes of government between the two dominant parties, National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have generally been smooth.
After a few turbulent decades following independence in 1957, Flight Lieutenant JJ Rawlings completed the country's fifth military coup in 1981, with the declared aim to lay the foundations for a modern democratic state. Rawlings won the subsequent presidential elections in 1992 and 1996 for the NDC, which he had founded. He stayed in power until 2000 when the presidential election was won by the NPP presidential candidate John Kufuor. Kufuor stayed in office until 2008, after re-election in 2004.
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on December 7, 2012. John Dramani Mahama won the presidential elections in the first round with 50.7 % of the votes and NDC retained parliamentary majority. The elections were generally hailed as free and peaceful. The opposition party NPP, citing electoral irregularities, contested the election results at the Supreme Court. In August 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that John Mahama rightfully won the elections. The opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo immediately recognised the ruling.
The next elections are due to be held in 2016. At the October 18 2014 NPP Super Delegates Congress Nana Akufo-Addo, was elected the party’s presidential candidate for the third time, receiving over 80% of the vote. Akufo-Addo is expected to the run against NDC incumbent John Mahama at the next elections.
In 2009 the Government of Ghana proposed the revision of aspects of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. A Constitution Review Commission presented its recommendations to the Government of Ghana in 2011. A referendum on constitutional reform is currently postponed due to a civil court case. So far, no decision has been taken as to when the referendum will be held.
Although Ghana's government has declared a "zero tolerance" towards corruption, studies show that corruption occurs, especially in the police, customs and judiciary system, but also in the education and health sector. In 2014 Ghana was ranked 61 out of 175 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. Among African countries Ghana was rated number 8. Ghana was also ranked 7 out of 52 African countries on the 2014 Mo Ibrahim Index, which ranks security, good governance, the economy, social sectors and human rights.
Ghana has ratified the main UN conventions on human rights and freedom of the press is generally respected. However, human rights issues exist in the area of trafficking in persons, exploitive child labour, societal discrimination against women and harsh and life-threatening prison conditions. Conditions in prisons are unsatisfactory and the government has promised to improve the conditions for the inmates.
The Constitution provides freedom of religion and Ghana is a good example of how Christians and Muslims can live side by side in respect of each other's religion. The Constitution also guarantees freedom of speech and assembly and it forbids the use of torture. There are furthermore proscriptions against discrimination against race, sex, disability, linguistic and social status. However, homosexuality remains a sensitive topic in Ghana.
Ghana has been elected to the Human Rights Council for the 2015-2017 period. The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world, as well as addressing human rights violations and making recommendations on them. Ghana was one of the first members of the African Union to sign up to the African Peer Review Mechanism, and welcomed the Universal Periodic Review system. The advancement of women, protection of children and people with disabilities have been among Ghana’s priorities in the area of human rights.
Ghana and Denmark have partnered on Responsibility to Protect (R2P) issues as well as the Global R2P Focal Point Network. The R2P Focal Point Initiative was launched in September 2010 by the governments of Denmark and Ghana in collaboration with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the annual Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect held during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. Today, 41 countries, representing every region of world, have appointed a national R2P Focal Point. The Focal Points have met at four annual meetings since 2010. The third meeting in 2013 was held in Accra, Ghana, and was co-hosted by the governments of Denmark and Ghana along with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre. This was the first meeting of the Global Network to be held in Africa and more than 35 countries and three regional organizations attended the meeting. The fourth meeting was held in June 2014 in Botswana and the fifth meeting in June 2015 in Spain.
Global R2P Focal Point meeting in Accra, Ghana, June 2013
Ghana in the Region
Besides close commitment to the African Union (AU), Ghana's foreign policy is based on "good neighbourliness" with its centrepiece being the West African region and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), consisting of 15 countries. Apart from the relationship to the nearest French-speaking neighbours, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo, relations with Nigeria are of particular importance to Ghana. Ghana is mindful of threats from terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and maritime criminality. Threats which are best handled through a regional approach.
African unity has been central to Ghanaian foreign policy ever since the independence. Ghana was, thus, the founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. Therefore, Ghanaian governments always side closely with the AU on international issues. Ghana also founded the Non-Aligned Movement and entered the G77 group, and other South-South collaborations that continue to play a major role in the Ghanaian foreign policy. For both political and economic reasons the relations to the BRIC countries have been strengthened. Ghana is also a major contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, and Ghanaian troops (military, police and civilian) are involved in a number of UN missions in Africa.
in 2014, when Ebola broke out in Ghana's neighbouring countries, Ghana accepted to host the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).