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Ghana-The 1992 Constitution THE FOURTH REPUBLIC





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Ghana Index

Figure 12. Structure of Government of the Fourth Republic, 1994

Source: Based on information from Ghana, The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Accra, 1992.

The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana that came into effect on January 7, 1993, provides the basic charter for the country's fourth attempt at republican democratic government since independence in 1957. It declares Ghana to be a unitary republic with sovereignty residing in the Ghanaian people. Drawn up with the intent of preventing future coups, dictatorial government, and oneparty states, it is designed to foster tolerance and the concept of power-sharing. The document reflects the lessons drawn from the abrogated constitutions of 1957, 1960, 1969, and 1979, and it incorporates provisions and institutions drawn from British and United States constitutional models.

The 1992 constitution, as the supreme law of the land, provides for the sharing of powers among a president, a parliament, a cabinet, a Council of State, and an independent judiciary (see fig. 12). Through its system of checks and balances, it avoids bestowing preponderant power on any specific branch of government. Executive authority is shared by the president, the twenty-five member Council of State, and numerous advisory bodies, including the National Security Council. The president is head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces of Ghana. He also appoints the vice president.

Legislative functions are vested in the National Parliament, which consists of a unicameral 200-member body plus the president. To become law, legislation must have the assent of the president, who has a qualified veto over all bills except those to which a vote of urgency is attached. Members of parliament are popularly elected by universal adult suffrage for terms of four years, except in war time, when terms may be extended for not more than twelve months at a time beyond the four years.

The structure and the power of the judiciary are independent of all other branches of government. The Supreme Court has broad powers of judicial review; it rules on the constitutionality of any legislative or executive action at the request of any aggrieved citizen. The hierarchy of courts derives largely from British juridical forms. The hierarchy, called the Superior Court of Judicature, is composed of the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Court of Appeal (Appellate Court), the High Court of Justice, regional tribunals, and such lower courts or tribunals as parliament may establish. The courts have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters.

The legal system is based on the constitution, Ghanaian common law, statutory enactments of parliament, and assimilated rules of customary (traditional) law. The 1992 constitution, like previous constitutions, guarantees the institution of chieftaincy together with its traditional councils as established by customary law and usage. The National House of Chiefs, without executive or legislative power, advises on all matters affecting the country's chieftaincy and customary law.

The 1992 constitution contains the most explicit and comprehensive provisions in Ghana's postcolonial constitutional history regarding the system of local government as a decentralized form of national administration. These provisions were inspired to a large extent by current law and by the practice of local government under the PNDC. Another constitutional innovation is the enshrinement of fundamental human rights and freedoms enforceable by the courts. These rights include cultural rights, women's rights, children's rights, the rights of disabled persons, and the rights of the ill. The constitution also guarantees the freedom and independence of the media and makes any form of censorship unconstitutional. In addition, the constitution protects each Ghanaian's right to be represented by legitimately elected public officials by providing for partisan national elections and nonpartisan district elections.

Every citizen of Ghana eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote. The right to form political parties is guaranteed, an especially important provision in light of the checkered history of political parties in postcolonial Ghana. Political parties must have a national character and membership and are not to be based on ethnic, religious, regional or other sectional divisions.

Finally, highly controversial provisions of the constitution indemnify members and appointees of the PNDC from liability for any official act or omission during the eleven years of PNDC rule. These provisions seem designed to prevent the real possibility of retribution, should a new government hostile to the PNDC replace it, and to foster a climate of peace and reconciliation.

Data as of November 1994

The 1992 Constitution

Figure 12. Structure of Government of the Fourth Republic, 1994

Source: Based on information from Ghana, The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Accra, 1992.

The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana that came into effect on January 7, 1993, provides the basic charter for the country's fourth attempt at republican democratic government since independence in 1957. It declares Ghana to be a unitary republic with sovereignty residing in the Ghanaian people. Drawn up with the intent of preventing future coups, dictatorial government, and oneparty states, it is designed to foster tolerance and the concept of power-sharing. The document reflects the lessons drawn from the abrogated constitutions of 1957, 1960, 1969, and 1979, and it incorporates provisions and institutions drawn from British and United States constitutional models.

The 1992 constitution, as the supreme law of the land, provides for the sharing of powers among a president, a parliament, a cabinet, a Council of State, and an independent judiciary (see fig. 12). Through its system of checks and balances, it avoids bestowing preponderant power on any specific branch of government. Executive authority is shared by the president, the twenty-five member Council of State, and numerous advisory bodies, including the National Security Council. The president is head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces of Ghana. He also appoints the vice president.

Legislative functions are vested in the National Parliament, which consists of a unicameral 200-member body plus the president. To become law, legislation must have the assent of the president, who has a qualified veto over all bills except those to which a vote of urgency is attached. Members of parliament are popularly elected by universal adult suffrage for terms of four years, except in war time, when terms may be extended for not more than twelve months at a time beyond the four years.

The structure and the power of the judiciary are independent of all other branches of government. The Supreme Court has broad powers of judicial review; it rules on the constitutionality of any legislative or executive action at the request of any aggrieved citizen. The hierarchy of courts derives largely from British juridical forms. The hierarchy, called the Superior Court of Judicature, is composed of the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Court of Appeal (Appellate Court), the High Court of Justice, regional tribunals, and such lower courts or tribunals as parliament may establish. The courts have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters.

The legal system is based on the constitution, Ghanaian common law, statutory enactments of parliament, and assimilated rules of customary (traditional) law. The 1992 constitution, like previous constitutions, guarantees the institution of chieftaincy together with its traditional councils as established by customary law and usage. The National House of Chiefs, without executive or legislative power, advises on all matters affecting the country's chieftaincy and customary law.

The 1992 constitution contains the most explicit and comprehensive provisions in Ghana's postcolonial constitutional history regarding the system of local government as a decentralized form of national administration. These provisions were inspired to a large extent by current law and by the practice of local government under the PNDC. Another constitutional innovation is the enshrinement of fundamental human rights and freedoms enforceable by the courts. These rights include cultural rights, women's rights, children's rights, the rights of disabled persons, and the rights of the ill. The constitution also guarantees the freedom and independence of the media and makes any form of censorship unconstitutional. In addition, the constitution protects each Ghanaian's right to be represented by legitimately elected public officials by providing for partisan national elections and nonpartisan district elections.

Every citizen of Ghana eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote. The right to form political parties is guaranteed, an especially important provision in light of the checkered history of political parties in postcolonial Ghana. Political parties must have a national character and membership and are not to be based on ethnic, religious, regional or other sectional divisions.

Finally, highly controversial provisions of the constitution indemnify members and appointees of the PNDC from liability for any official act or omission during the eleven years of PNDC rule. These provisions seem designed to prevent the real possibility of retribution, should a new government hostile to the PNDC replace it, and to foster a climate of peace and reconciliation.

Data as of November 1994



BackgroundFormed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta MILLS took over as head of state in early 2009.
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo
Area(sq km)total: 238,533 sq km
land: 227,533 sq km
water: 11,000 sq km
Geographic coordinates8 00 N, 2 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 2,094 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 549 km, Cote d'Ivoire 668 km, Togo 877 km

Coastline(km)539 km

Climatetropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Afadjato 880 m
Natural resourcesgold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone
Land use(%)arable land: 17.54%
permanent crops: 9.22%
other: 73.24% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)310 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)53.2 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.98 cu km/yr (24%/10%/66%)
per capita: 44 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsdry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts
Environment - current issuesrecurrent drought in north severely affects agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - noteLake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake
Population23,832,495
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 37.3% (male 4,503,331/female 4,393,104)
15-64 years: 59.1% (male 7,039,696/female 7,042,208)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 393,364/female 460,792) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 20.7 years
male: 20.5 years
female: 21 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.882% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)28.58 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)9.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 50% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 51.09 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 46.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 59.85 years
male: 58.98 years
female: 60.75 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)3.68 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Ghanaian(s)
adjective: Ghanaian
Ethnic groups(%)Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)

Religions(%)Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
Languages(%)Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other 36.1% (includes English (official)) (2000 census)

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Ghana
conventional short form: Ghana
former: Gold Coast
Government typeconstitutional democracy
Capitalname: Accra
geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions10 regions; Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western
Constitutionapproved 28 April 1992

Legal systembased on English common law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president nominates members subject to approval by Parliament
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 7 December 2008 with a second round held 28 December 2008 (next to be held 7 December 2012)
election results: John Evans Atta MILLS elected president in run-off election; percent of vote - John Evans Atta MILLS 50.23%, Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO 49.77%

Legislative branchunicameral Parliament (230 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2008 (next to be held 7 December 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDC 114, NPP 107, PNC 2, CPP 1, independent 4, other 2

Judicial branchSupreme Court

Political pressure groups and leadersChristian Aid (water rights); Committee for Joint Action or CJA (education reform); National Coalition Against the Privatization of Water or CAP (water rights); Oxfam (water rights); Public Citizen (water rights); Students Coalition Against EPA [Kwabena Ososukene OKAI] (education reform); Third World Network (education reform)
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OIF (associate member), OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green, with a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia; similar to the flag of Bolivia, which has a coat of arms centered in the yellow band

Economy - overviewWell endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs about 55% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana signed a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in 2006, which aims to assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural sector. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, and is also benefiting from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative that took effect in 2006. Thematic priorities under its current Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which also provides the framework for development partner assistance, are: macroeconomic stability; private sector competitiveness; human resource development; and good governance and civic responsibility. Sound macro-economic management along with high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$34.52 billion (2008 est.)
$32.17 billion (2007 est.)
$30.27 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$16.65 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)7.3% (2008 est.)
6.3% (2007 est.)
6.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,500 (2008 est.)
$1,400 (2007 est.)
$1,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 37.3%
industry: 25.3%
services: 37.5% (2006 est.)
Labor force10.12 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 56%
industry: 15%
services: 29% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)11% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)28.5% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 32.8% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index39.4 (2005-06)
40.7 (1999)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)32.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $5.256 billion
expenditures: $7.492 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)16.5% (2008 est.)
10.7% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$NA (31 December 2008)
$2.179 billion (31 December 2006)
Stock of quasi money$NA (31 December 2008)
$2.174 billion (31 December 2006)
Stock of domestic credit$4.179 billion (31 December 2006)
Market value of publicly traded shares$3.394 billion (31 December 2008)
$2.38 billion (31 December 2007)
$3.233 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$1.316 billion in loans and grants (2007)

Public debt(% of GDP)53.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
58.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - productscocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber
Industriesmining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building

Industrial production growth rate(%)8.1% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$3.471 billion (2008 est.)
-$1.717 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$5.275 billion (2008 est.)
$4.172 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticulture
Exports - partners(%)Netherlands 13.5%, Ukraine 11.8%, UK 8%, France 5.7%, US 5.2% (2008)
Imports$10.26 billion (2008 est.)
$8.066 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs
Imports - partners(%)China 15.6%, Nigeria 14.7%, India 7.4%, US 5.5%, France 4.4%, UK 4.4% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.028 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$2.831 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$5.055 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$4.891 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratescedis (GHC) per US dollar - 1.1 (2008 est.), 0.95 (2007), 9,174.8 (2006), 9,072.5 (2005), 9,004.6 (2004)
note: in 2007 Ghana revalued its currency with 10,000 old cedis equal to 1 new cedis

Currency (code)Ghana cedi (GHC)

Telephones - main lines in use143,900 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular11.57 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: outdated and unreliable fixed-line infrastructure heavily concentrated in Accra; competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth with a subscribership of 50 per 100 persons and rising
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay; wireless local loop has been installed
international: country code - 233; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay link to Panaftel system connects Ghana to its neighbors (2008)
Internet country code.gh
Internet users997,000 (2008)
Airports11 (2009)
Pipelines(km)oil 5 km; refined products 309 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 62,221 km
paved: 9,955 km
unpaved: 52,266 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsTema
Military branchesGhanaian Army, Ghanaian Navy, Ghanaian Air Force (2008)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 5,802,096
females age 16-49: 5,729,939 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 3,849,113
females age 16-49: 3,840,083 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 272,954
female: 266,186 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalGhana struggles to accommodate returning nationals who worked in the cocoa plantations and escaped fighting in Cote d'Ivoire

Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 35,653 (Liberia); 8,517 (Togo) (2007)
Electricity - production(kWh)6.746 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 5%
hydro: 95%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)5.702 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)249 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)435 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)7,399 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)56,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)4,843 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)45,380 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)15 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)22.65 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)1.9% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS260,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths21,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.9%
male: 66.4%
female: 49.8% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2007)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.4% of GDP (2005)








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