n African Human Rights Law Journal - The rule of law and democracy in Ghana since independence : uneasy bedfellows? - focus : the rule of law in sub-Saharan Africa

Volume 18 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



There is irrefutable evidence supporting the assertion that Ghanaians have consistently rejected any form of abuse of power and dictatorial rule. The Bond of 1844 signed on 6 March 1844, for instance, was a climax of agitation against the dictatorial rule of Governor George Maclean. Similarly, the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention, a century later in 1947, was to resist colonial rule and to pave the way for independence from the British. The question that arises is whether post-independence Ghana has lived up to the aspiration of the people to live in freedom from any form of oppression. This article, therefore, seeks to trace Ghana’s pursuit of democratic governance and the rule of law since independence and to test whether there has been a recognition of and adherence to the rule of law which the people had consistently yearned for. In doing so, the article examines how the rule of law has fared during each of the four periods of democratic rule in the political history of the country, namely, the immediate post-independence era (1957-1966); the Second Republican era (1969-1971); the Third Republican era (1979- 1981); and the present Fourth Republican constitutional era (1993 to date). What emerges is the fact that most of the post-independence successive governments have betrayed the people by failing to live up to the aspirations of the people to live under good governance and the rule of law. The article, therefore, is a critique of Ghana’s march towards the entrenchment of the rule of law as the basis of democracy. It, therefore, proposes changes that ought to be made to the constitutional structure of Ghana in order to make the democratic system of governance more meaningful and also achieve the progress that adherence to the rule of law inevitably brings.

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