ADF       Alliance of Democratic Forces of Ghana

CDO       Civil Defense Organization

CDR        Committee for the Defense of the Revolution

CPP         Convention People's Party

CVC        Citizens' Vetting Committee

GBA       Ghana Bar Association

INEC       Interim National Electoral Commission

MFJ        Movement for Freedom and Justice

NIC         National Investigations Committee

NCD       National Commission for Democracy

NCP        National Convention Party

NDC       National Democratic Congress

NGA       New Generation Alliance

NIP         New Independence Party

NPP        New Patriotic Party

PDC        People's Defense Committee

PHP        People's Heritage Party

PNC        People's National Convention

PNDC     Provisional National Defense Council

PNP        People's National Party

PP           Progress Party

PPDD     Popular Party for Democracy and Development

UP           United Party

WDC      Workers' Defense Committee

1.               INTRODUCTION

The first British dependency to have gained independence (on 6 March 1957) in sub-Saharan Africa under majority rule (Europa 1991 1991, 1188), Ghana has intermittently seen a number of military coups and military rule, as well as democratically elected governments. After more than ten years of military rule under the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), the country will, in November and December 1992, hold presidential and parliamentary elections. Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, chairman of the PNDC since the 1981 coup, has felt pressure to reform the political system for some time now. Various groups in Ghana have been calling for a return to multi-party politics, while western aid donors have increasingly tied financial commitments to human rights protection (New African Sept. 1990, 22). The government's legal system and its record on the practice of political imprisonment have also led to domestic and international calls for the repeal of a number of repressive laws and the reorganization of the judicial system (Amnesty International 18 Dec. 1991; Africa Watch 31 Jan. 1992). Africa Confidential notes further that "the government's decision to return to constitutional rule seems to have been influenced by reforms in other African countries" (13 Sept. 1991, 6).

With the ban on political parties now lifted, the various parties entering the political scene are scrambling to prepare for the upcoming elections. Rawlings has also recently announced that he will run as a candidate in the presidential election (Embassy of Ghana 2 Oct. 1992).

2.                BACKGROUND

2.1        The Revolutionary Committees and the CDO

Seeking to legitimize the 31 December 1981 "revolution," Rawlings, in keeping with his populist goals, attempted early on to gather the support of the increasingly powerful lower classes by including them in a new state structure (Ninsin 1991, 50-51). People's Defense Committees (PDCs) and Workers' Defense Committees (WDCs) were set up at "community, workplace, district, regional and central levels" in response to Rawlings' appeal to form committees for the defense of the revolution (Current History 1989, 223). Popular justice was to be exercised through the PDCs and WDCs and through newly created extrajudicial bodies like the Citizens' Vetting Committees (CVCs), the National Investigations Committee (NIC) and the Special Military Tribunals (Ibid.). (For more information on these organizations and on judicial issues, please refer to two previous IRBDC publications, Ghana: Country Profile [January 1990] and What are Committees for the Defense of the Revolution [CDRs] and the Civil Defense Organization [CDO] in Ghana? [November 1990].)

In the face of growing public criticism of their corruption, coerciveness and lack of accountability, the defense committees were, in December 1984, renamed Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) and brought under the jurisdiction of PNDC district and regional councils (Kraus 1991, 125-126; Legum 1986, B455). Although the defence committees were purportedly reorganized and given a predominantly economic mandate (Current History May 1989, 241), there are still serious doubts about the effectiveness of the depoliticization process. Various PNDC officials have called on the CDRs to exercise restraint during the transition to constitutional rule; however, in 1991 CDRs continued to be accused of interfering in tribal and private matters (Country Reports 1991, 1992, 152). In a statement dated 19 June 1991, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) maintains that the CDRs remain "the direct political organs of the PNDC, specifically created to defend and advance its [the government's] interest" (1).

In 1984, Rawlings also established the first group of trained and armed political cadres known as the Civil Defense Organization (CDO) (Legum 1986, B455-456; Ibid. 1988, B31-32). This paramilitary organization, which was given a partially social and economic mandate, has been responsible for a number of abuses since its creation. In 1988, as a result of public reaction to its corruption and excessive use of force, the organization was purportedly being reorganized away from its paramilitary activities (West Africa 9-15 Jan. 1989, 22).

Despite the reported reorganization, abuses have continued. In 1989, Alex Antwi, commander of the CDO, alluded to the fact that militia members were setting up courts and imposing fines. The commander stated that the CDO has no such rights and that he "regretted that such behaviour was tarnishing the image of the CDO" (West Africa 17-23 Apr. 1989, 621). The Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ), a non-political organization formed in 1990 to campaign for democracy and human and democratic rights in Ghana (Ibid. 13-19 Aug. 1990, 2288), claims that one of its Executive Committee members, Daniel Kaba, was shot by two CDO members. Kaba was not killed, and the assailants ran away after firing at him (MFJ 8 Aug. 1991, 1).

2.2           The Public Tribunals

In accordance with Rawlings' call for "justice of the people," new special courts called Public Tribunals were created within the country's judicial system under PNDC Law 24 of 1982. Unlike conventional courts, which continued to operate, these tribunals (initially referred to as People's Courts or PDC Courts) have criminal jurisdiction (Africa Watch 31 Jan. 1992, 3; Amnesty International 18 Dec. 1991, 7; Pellow and Chazan 1986, 80). The tribunal system includes the Office of the Revenue Commissioners; the Special Military Tribunal; the Public Tribunals Board; and the National Investigations Committee, which was established by PNDC Law 2 and can investigate almost any allegation referred to it by the PNDC (Country Reports 1991 1992, 151-152). PNDC Law 78, which came into effect in August 1984, repealed Law 24 and introduced appeals procedures against tribunal decisions (Africa Watch 31 Jan. 1992, 11).

The tribunals have broad powers and have handed down justice quickly and harshly to leaders of the former People's National Party (PNP), senior civil servants and officials of public corporations (Pellow and Chazan 1986, 80). In a newsletter issued to coincide with the start of a debate in Ghana's Consultative Assembly on the form of the legal system to be established under the new constitution, Africa Watch stated that the tribunals are the cornerstone of the government's institutionalized violation of human rights. The tribunals operate under a veneer of legality that does not prevent widespread manipulation by the government, but which is often sufficient to make it difficult for Ghanaians to protest against their abuses (31 Jan. 1992, 2).

Corroborating this concern, New African recently printed an interview with Kwaku Boakye Danquah, a previous chair of one of the tribunals, who fled the country claiming he had been harassed by the government for refusing to convict Kwame Safo Adu (June 1992, 13-14). (Adu, a former government minister, was arrested in 1990 and charged with sabotage of the economy [(Amnesty International 18 Dec. 1991, 9].) Danquah claims the tribunals were set up "to give legality to some of the otherwise extra-judicial acts of the PNDC" (New African June 1992, 13). In cases in which top government members have a direct interest, he continues,

the tribunal is controlled and supervised by the government. There is so much interference in such cases--all are meant to achieve results in favour of conviction, particularly when the matter concerns political opponents and people whose political image or structure are considered a threat to the PNDC (Ibid.).

Other tribunal officers have admitted to past abuses of judicial powers and have also acknowledged frequent government intervention in tribunal procedures (Africa Watch 31 Jan. 1992, 15-17).

Since 1983, almost all of the 270 death sentences handed down have come from the public tribunals. Of those sentences, 95 are known to have been carried out (Africa Watch 31 Jan. 1992, 17). Amnesty International issued a report dated 18 December 1991 in which it listed political trials between 1983 and 1986. According to this report, at least 90 people were tried for political offences during this period; 50 of them received a death sentence and 23 were executed. Most were charged in connection with unsuccessful coup attempts and alleged conspiracies to overthrow the government. Nearly all the cases were heard by public tribunals (3).

2.3   PNDC Laws

Perceived abuses by the tribunal system in particular and by the PNDC in general have provoked organizations like the MFJ to denounce a number of what they consider repressive PNDC laws or decrees in the move towards constitutional rule (MFJ 11 Jan. 1991, 2). These include PNDC Law 4 on preventive custody; PNDC Law 91, an amendment to the 1964 Habeas Corpus Act; PNDC Law 211 on newspaper licensing; and PNDC Law 221, the religious registration law.

PNDC Law 4 was introduced in March 1982 and made retroactive to January of the same year. It authorizes indefinite detention without trial of individuals suspected of threatening national security. According to Section 3(1) of the law, "any person detained under this law shall be held in such a place and for such period subject to such conditions as the Provisional National Defense Council may direct" (Amnesty International 18 Dec. 1991, 16). Under the law the PNDC can require individuals released from custody to notify the police of plans to leave the country and of "such matters as the Commissioner of Police may reasonably specify" (Africa Watch 12 Aug. 1991, 2). Some of those who have been critical of PNDC policies, particularly senior civilian officials, have opted for exile rather than face possible detention (Ibid., 7).

PNDC Law 91 was enacted on 6 August 1984 in response to several habeas corpus writs that had been sought in the High Court on behalf of individuals detained without charge or trial. Under this law, the courts no longer have the power to enquire into the reasons for detention under PNDC Law 4. The Preventive Custody Order, which authorizes the detention, states only that such detention is in the interest of national security but gives no details about the acts detainees have committed. Many Preventive Custody Orders have not been issued or published until years after the arrests (Amnesty International 18 Dec. 1991, 17).

While there were reports of people being held as political prisoners throughout 1991 and even early 1992, the Interior Secretary of Ghana informed journalists in June 1991 that there were no political prisoners in Ghana and that the only military personnel in detention were those who had testified to participating in "subversive" actions (Africa Watch 12 Aug. 1991, 6). Country Reports 1991 quotes estimates of 50 to 90 long-term detainees in 1991, although it does state that it is difficult to determine how many are political detainees (1992, 151). According to this same source, the government claimed that there were 28 people held on criminal charges and 36 in connection with coup attempts. It also states that "all of them have been, and are being, denied the right to a speedy, fair, and public trial. The Government gives no indication that it is prepared to bring them to trial" (151). Amnesty International's Report 1992 states that at least 50 suspected opponents of the government arrested in previous years continued to be held in detention without charge throughout 1991 under PNDC Law 4 (1992, 121). A report from Africa Watch, dated 31 January 1992, states that about 70 detainees described as subversives could potentially face the death penalty (18). It appears, however, that the government has, in this election year, made every attempt to avoid being accused of practicing political imprisonment. In a recent telephone interview, a researcher with Amnesty International in London stated that practically all political prisoners have now been released (29 Sept. 1992). Although Amnesty International has indicated that there may be one, possibly two, prisoners left in detention, most of the political prisoners that it was aware of were released in December of 1991, or between March and May of this year (Ibid.).

Detentions in the past have not been restricted to political "subversives." In the last two years, a number of people critical of the government have been arrested. They included members of the MFJ; a lawyer and former government minister; a former leader of the ruling party under the previous government; and an editor of the Christian Chronicle. A number of business people were also detained or prosecuted on charges of sabotage, a capital offence under Ghanaian law (Amnesty International Report 1992 1992, 120-121). One individual with dual American-Ghanaian nationality was detained incommunicado in May 1990 on his return to Ghana and held for almost a year before being released. No official reason was given for his detention, although it is alleged that "wealthy" detainees are often asked to pay a ransom for their release in similar situations (Ibid. 18 Dec. 1991, 2).

Since 1981, the PNDC has managed to check public criticism of its policies and activities by restricting freedom of the press. The government owns the two major dailies (the People's Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times), the two major weeklies (the Mirror and the Weekly Spectator) and all radio and television networks. In the past, editors of several independent newspapers critical of the government have fled the country, some after having been detained. One paper had its offices attacked while another had its licence revoked (D'Souza 1991, 19-20). As late as 27 March 1992, an Accra high court refused bail for George Marshal Naykene, editor of the Christian Chronicle. Naykene had been arrested for allegedly publishing a defamatory article (Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network 27 Mar. 1992).

On 27 March 1989, the PNDC passed the Newspaper Licensing Regulations Law (PNDC Law 211 ) and Legislative Instrument L11417, which required all newspapers and magazines to reapply for licenses. A number of sports newspapers that had for some time been running political cartoons and commentary were affected by the law. The Independent and its sister publication, Sports Guide, were refused licenses (D'Souza, 20-21). Funtime, Life Stories and Ikebe Super Story, a Nigerian publication, were rejected as well (West Africa 17-23 Apr. 1989, 620). Law 211 has since been repealed (Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network 19 June 1992).

In June 1989, PNDC Law 221 was passed. It required all religious organizations to register with the religious affairs committee of the National Commission on Culture (Country Reports 1991 1992, 154). In the same month, the assets of four churches--two indigenous Christian churches, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)--were "frozen" and their foreign personnel expelled. The prohibition on the Mormons was rescinded on 30 November 1990, and the government unfroze the assets of the Jehovah's Witnesses a year later (Ibid.). (For more information on religion in Ghana, please refer to the May 1991 IRBDC publication entitled Ghana: Freedom of Religion.)

According to Akua Kuenyehia and Kofi Kumado, both law professors at the University of Ghana in Legon, recent statistics on compliance with PNDC Law 221 indicate that 1,736 applications from religious bodies have so far been received by the National Commission on Culture (Kuenyehia 11 Sept. 1992; Kumado 9 Sept. 1992). Of these, 957 have been approved, 735 have been queried, 30 are pending and 14 have not been recommended (Kumado 9 Sept. 1992). According to Country Reports 1991, the PNDC government has made no attempt to enforce the law, and those religious bodies that have refused to register continue to worship freely (1992, 154). This was confirmed by Kuenyehia and Kumado. The former stated that "there is relative peace and freedom of worship at the moment" (11 Sept. 1992), while Kumado added that the government has not yet moved to apply any sanctions stipulated under Law 221 (9 Sept. 1992). However, EGLISI, a publication by the Belgian organization l'Aide aux Eglises Martyres, has noted that Muslims who have been converted to Christianity and who attempt to evangelize Muslims have been the object of verbal and physical attacks in northern and central Ghana (10 Aug. 1992, 10). According to the head of the Committee on Islam of the Christian Protestant Council, when Muslims are converted to Christianity, they "may be assassinated" (Ibid.).


As the internal and external pressures for reform of the political system have mounted, Rawlings and the PNDC have been forced to make certain democratic concessions, bringing Ghana closer to constitutional rule. These concessions, however, have not always been genuinely democratic, especially initially. According to New African, the "national debate" on the Ghana's political future initiated by Rawlings June 1990 had as its dominant theme that multi-party politics was alien to Ghana. The debate was severely criticized by the Catholic Bishops Conference (Oct. 1990, 19). A month later, leaders of the newly-formed MFJ were summoned and warned by security forces that their intentions could threaten state security. Nine of them were eventually arrested but subsequently released (Ibid., 19-20).

In 1991, the government finally declared an amnesty for political exiles, although it excluded those alleged to have been involved in "subversive activities" (Africa Research Bulletin 1-30 June 1991, 10174-75). In recent years, the government has encouraged dissidents and other Ghanaians to return to the country. Former government and PNDC officials have apparently returned and resumed careers outside politics "without difficulties" (Country Reports 1991 1992, 151).

In further democratic overtures, the government repealed PNDC Law 211, the newspaper licensing law, on 19 June 1992. It also promulgated a law setting up the National Media Commission to "promote the freedom, independence, responsibility, and accountability of the media, both private and public." The commission will be charged with maintaining "high standards" in the media and with settling complaints against the press or other media (Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network 19 June 1992). According to Eboe Hutchful, a professor at Wayne State University who conducts research on Ghana, the press has lost much of its "sense of fear or self-censorship." Not only have several newspapers critical of the PNDC government emerged, but even the state-owned People's Daily Graphic has become "liberalized" in the eyes of the opposition (29 Sept. 1992).

3.1           A New Constitution

In March 1991, the government's National Commission for Democracy (NCD), established in 1982 to formulate what the government called a "true" democracy, released a report in March 1991 entitled "Evolving a True Democracy" (Chazan 1991, 29; West Africa 20-26 May 1991, 797). The report emphasized the need for national consensus on critical issues and concluded that candidates running in district assembly elections should continue to do so on a non-party basis. In the wake of the NCD report, the government announced it would set up a committee of nine constitutional experts--including five lawyers, one retired judge, two economists and one traditional ruler--to elaborate the government's constitutional proposals for the upcoming consultative assembly (West Africa 20-26 May 1991, 797.; Dakar PANA 7 June 1991).

On 17 May 1991, the PNDC set up the National Consultative Assembly with the task of preparing a draft constitution for the country. The Assembly was to consist of 117 people from the district assemblies, 22 government appointees and 121 elected representatives from a number of different groups (New African Aug. 1991, 31).

According to a statement by the GBA, one of the groups asked to send representatives, the Consultative Assembly lacked legitimacy for several reasons. First, the composition of the Assembly had a built-in majority of government sympathizers and nominees. Not only were CDRs represented, but nominees from district assemblies, where one-third of the membership was nominated by the PNDC, were also participating. Second, the members of the Assembly would not be accorded unlimited immunity for comments made during the sessions. Third, the PNDC could still exercise discretion in modifying Assembly recommedations. Finally, the language of the law establishing the Assembly hinted that it was created only to endorse a constitution to be fashioned by the PNDC (19 June 1991, 1-6). In light of these observations, the GBA refused to participate in the process.

On 12 August 1991, the nine-member committee of experts published a draft constitution modelled on that of France, calling for a president and prime minister, a council of state and a parliament. According to the proposal, the president would nominate the prime minister and would be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The draft also included guarantees of individual freedom, political pluralism, freedom of the press and independence of the judiciary (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1991, 10236).

The International Commission of Jurists found that the proposed constitution provided "relevant and innovative" suggestions and was a promising first step to constitutional government in Ghana (The Review Dec. 1991, 13). Africa Confidential noted that the Consultative Assembly had shown an unexpected amount of independence, "sometimes to the clear annoyance of PNDC officials" (7 Feb. 1992, 2).

On 5 March 1992, Rawlings announced a schedule for the further transition to constitutional rule. A national referendum seeking public approval for the constitution went ahead as scheduled on 28 April 1992. Presidential elections were scheduled for 3 November 1992 and parliamentary elections for 8 December 1992. The inauguration of Ghana's Fourth Republic is to take place on 7 January 1993 (West Africa 16-22 March 1992, 451). Ironically, these latter dates were announced prior to holding the national referendum. Rawlings also established the Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) to which he assigned the tasks of voter registration, the conduct of referenda and elections, and the review of electoral and administrative boundaries (Ibid., 452).

After the Constitutional Assembly presented the completed draft of the constitution to Rawlings, some groups reacted to a number of provisions that had been incorporated without debate (Ibid. 13-19 Apr. 1992, 642). They were particularly concerned with Sections 33, 34 and 36 of the Transitional Provisions to the draft constitution which "seek to give a blanket and perpetual indemnity to the PNDC and its officials" (Ibid., 624). Ghana's Roman Catholic bishops not only criticized the indemnity provisions but also called for a cancellation of the referendum on the grounds that the complexity of the draft document made it impossible for the general population to make an informed decision (AFP 13 Apr. 1992). Despite their reservations, most religious and opposition groups urged Ghanaians to vote in favour of the draft constitution, if only to ensure that the return to constitutional rule would continue (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 May 1992, 10569). When the referendum was held, the NCD indicated that of the 3,680,973 individuals who voted (43.7 percent of registered voters), 92 percent were in favour of the adoption of the draft constitution (Ibid.).

On 18 May 1992, Law 280 was passed, lifting the 11-year ban on political parties. This same law, however, places restrictions on the use of old party names and symbols and sets an annual ceiling on the contribution individuals can make to any party. The law also requires every party to have branches in all parts of Ghana and representation in at least two-thirds of the districts in each region. Executive officers of each party must be elected under the supervision of the INEC (New African July 1992, 18). While the ceiling on contributions was conditionally lifted on 29 May 1992, the law's stringent registration requirements placed the cash-starved opposition groups in very weak bargaining positions and emphasized the need for coalitions (Ibid., 19). Most parties did not obtain certificates from the INEC, allowing them to operate as legal entities, until July (West Africa 21-27 Sept. 1992, 1597).

Since the INEC's formation, there have been calls for the reopening of the national voters register, the official list of those eligible to vote in Ghana's elections. The Alliance of Democratic Forces of Ghana (ADF), an umbrella organization comprising seven political groups, has said that the register is both inflated and inaccurate and can not form the basis for democratic elections. Some Ghanaians who qualify to vote will not be able to do so in the upcoming elections because they are not included in the present register. The INEC has so far refused to reopen the register due to "time and financial restraints" (West Africa 14-20 Sept. 1992, 1566). By early September 1992, a team of Commonwealth officials had arrived in Ghana to discuss with the INEC, amongst others, details of the proposed observer mission scheduled for the upcoming elections (Ibid. 31 Aug.-6 Sept. 1992, 1494).

3.2      Political Parties

Press reports often describe political parties according to their sympathies with one of two main political traditions: the Nkrumah loyalists, who draw supporters from the former Convention People's Party (CPP) and People's National Party (PNP), and the backers of the Danquah-Busia camp (or United Party/Progress Party [UP/PP]) (Africa Confidential 13 Sept. 1991, 6; New African June 1992, 10). The Nkrumahists are normally regarded as leftist, drawing on the ideals of Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to independence. The Danquah-Busia group "has always been to the right" and draws its name from Kofi Abrefa Busia and J.B. Danquah, "two flag bearers of Western liberalism and free market economics" (New African June 1992, 10). In its 13 September 1991 issue, Africa Confidential stated that, whereas sharp ideological differences characterized the two groups in the past, recent political developments had mitigated the conflict, "leaving the common ground of constitutional rule based on multi-partyism" (6).

When, in 1991, it became increasingly clear that Ghana was moving toward democratic rule and that the ban on political parties would probably be lifted, a number of political "clubs" cum political groups began to appear. These groups "paraded as literary, welfare, research and social clubs to beat the 10-year ban on party political activity," and they included the government-financed Eagle Club, the Danquah Busia Club, the Kwame Nkrumah Welfare Society, Our Heritage Club and the National Coordinating Committee of Nkrumahists (New African June 1992, 10).

On 18 May 1992, the ban on political parties was lifted. The Political Parties Law states that 21 old political parties, among them the Convention Peoples' Party, the Progress Party and the Unity Party, remain banned and that it is illegal to use their symbols, names or slogans (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 May 1992, 10569). By 22 June 1992, several parties had registered or were in the process of registering with the INEC. On the Danquah-Busia side, these included the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the New Generation Alliance (NGA), which Africa Confidential describes as a minority faction that broke from the NPP (According to the 29 June-5 July 1992 issue of West Africa, NPP stads for the National Patriotic Party. In most press reports, including other issues of West Africa, NPP is the abbreviation for the New Patriotic Party.) (14 Aug. 1992, 3). (According to West Africa, however, the NPP denies that the NGA was ever part of the party [29 June-5 July 1992, 1087].) The National Democratic Congress (NDC) was described as "following the Rawlings tradition" (West Africa 29 June-5 July 1992, 1087). The Eagle Club of Ghana had also filed to form the Eagle Party (The "Eagle" in Eagle Party is sometimes spelled "Egle," an abbreviation for Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere. See, for example, the 27 July-2August 1992 issue of West Africa, pages 1247-48) (Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network 17 July 1992).

The four parties registered, or in the process of registering, with the INEC that claim to represent the Nkrumahist tradition are the National Convention Party (NCP), the People's National Convention (PNC), the New Independence Party (NIP) and the People's Heritage Party (PHP). Several other parties are also associated with the Nkrumahists. A group called the United Front of Genuine Nkrumahists was going to call a press conference on 25 June 1992 to announce the name, slogan and symbol of a new political party (West Africa 29 June-5 July 1992, 1087). Africa Confidential of 14 August 1992 mentions the Democratic People's Party, which it says is most likely to operate as a pressure group within one of the larger Nkrumahist factions (5). The formation of the Popular Party for Democracy and Development (PPDD), which claims to be the "genuine Nkrumahist party," was announced in late June (Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network 26 June 1992).

The Nkrumahist camp is divided, and each of the parties claims it is the one which stands for the realization of Nkrumah's ideals. Africa Confidential has noted that the commitment of many Nkrumahists to socialism and Pan-Africanism is "theoretical." According to the magazine, "disputes between the Nkrumahists turn more on personality and strategy than policy" (Africa Confidential 14 Aug. 1992, 4). However, after much talk of possible alliances between various groups, three of the parties--the PHP, the NIP and the as yet unregistered PPDD--did finally agree, on 10 September 1992, to form an alliance which would present one presidential candidate and common parliamentary candidates for the elections (West Africa 21-27 Sept. 1992, 1598).

The Danquah-Busia camp is more cohesive. There are few differences of strategy or policy within the NPP, the only dissent coming from the NGA. The NPP leadership supports market-oriented economic policies and represents the conservative business sector, which it believes has been under attack from the PNDC (Africa Confidential 14 Aug. 1992, 3).

Supporters of Rawlings and the PNDC form a third group contesting the elections. The NDC was "introduced" on 10 June 1992 (Africa Research Bulletin 1-30 June 1992, 10611). Although it has reportedly made efforts to deny any direct PNDC support, several PNDC secretaries were present at the introduction (Africa Research Bulletin 1-30 June 1992, 10611; West Africa 29 June-5 July 1992, 1087). In addition, its interim chairperson, Issifu Ali, announced that the party will use the motto "Unity, Stability and Development," the same slogan the PNDC used to celebrate its decade of power earlier this year (Africa Confidential 14 Aug. 1992, 3). Ali also stated that the party wants to build upon the economic foundation laid over the past decade and to preserve those policies and programmes that are both "sound and viable" (Africa Research Bulletin 1-30 June 1992, 10611).

While the NDC claimed, at the June "introduction," that it was a coalition of various groups, including the Eagle Club, the latter denied this (Ibid., 10611-10612). A spokesman for the Club said that under no circumstances would it merge with the NDC (West Africa 29 June-5 July 1992, 1087). The Eagle Club, which has filed to form the Eagle (or Egle) Party, has suffered a number of setbacks. There have been a series of raids carried out on the Eagle's offices and the houses of its leading members (Africa Confidential 14 Aug. 1992, 4). In June 1992, police raided the house of Michael Soussoudis, a leader of the main Eagle faction and Rawlings' first cousin, where Rawlings was known to be a visitor. Two Eagle leaders were arrested (and subsequently released) (BBC World Service 16 July 1992; New African Sept. 1992, 11). In addition, some of its leading members have defected to the NDC (West Africa 7-13 Sept. 1992, 1538). Rawlings, whom the party had hoped to have as its presidential candidate in the November election but who distanced himself from the Eagles after the raid on Soussoudis' house, has recently been nominated as the NDC's presidential candidate (Embassy of Ghana 2 Oct. 1992).


In 1981, the PNDC regime confronted an economy in a state of collapse (Kraus 1991, 120-121). To deal with the situation, it formulated an economic structural adjustment programme to attract funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and foreign donors (Ibid., 125). Although Ghana is considered today to be one of Africa's most successful economies (New African Sept. 1992, 10), one expert has noted that the "beneficiaries of the growth have been largely rural and too few, and the distributive impact of the policies often inequitable" (Kraus 1991, 151). Furthermore, both urban unemployment and inequality have increased and are highly visible (Ibid.), while wage levels have remained extremely depressed (Economist Intelligence Unit 1991, 3).

Nevertheless, as the incumbent leader, Rawlings enjoys the support of some civil servants, chiefs, local government officials and others who hope to benefit further from his patronage (New African Sept. 1992, 10). In spite of the fact that Rawlings' defence committees have been perceived by many in the country as having been both corrupt and coercive, the committees enabled large numbers of people not previously part of the political process to participate effectively in the management of their communities (Ray 1986, 70). While the NPP may have the support of the urban middle class, the entrepreneurs and the wealthy cocoa farmers who want structural adjustment to continue, Rawlings' original ideas still remain persuasive in remote parts of the countryside (New African Sept. 1992, 12).

Rawlings has so far rejected opposition calls for an interim government until the inauguration of the Fourth Republic. The Attorney-General and Secretary for Justice has responded to these calls by stating that the government cannot accept "impracticable and obstructionist demands which are intended to derail the process towards constitutional rule" (West Africa 31 Aug.-6 Sept. 1992, 1494). By ignoring calls for an interim government, Rawlings may hope to avoid being called to account for his record, something which transitional governments have often asked of incumbent dictatorships in the past (Hutchful 29 Sept. 1992).

Of greater concern than Rawlings winning the election may be his reaction if he loses. According to Eboe Hutchful, who recently visited the country and met with PNDC officials and opposition members, there is general concern over the fate of the PNDC revolutionary organs and the possible existence of a large supply of arms in their arsenal. In the raid on Soussoudis' house, police discovered a substantial cache of arms (BBC World Service 16 July 1992; New African Sept. 1992, 11).

It remains unclear whether Rawlings, if elected, can remain as president without resorting to his old military control tactics. In a statement made prior to Rawlings' nomination, Afari Gyang, one of the two deputy chairs of the INEC, was quoted as stating that Rawlings should leave the army if he intends to run for president given that the constitution forbids most civil servants, members of the armed forces, the police, the judiciary and the fire brigade from running as presidential or legislative candidates (West Africa 21-27 Sept. 1992, 1622).

If Rawlings is voted into office, Ghanaians will be watching to see if he, having ruled as a strongman for more than a decade, can successfully assume the role of elected president of a constitutional democracy.


Regime    Dates in Power

Convention People's Party

(CPP) Government,          1957-1966               Kwame Nkrumah

National Liberation

Council (NLC),  1966-1969               Lt.-Gen. J.A. Ankrah

Second Republic,             1969-1972               K.A. Busia

Supreme Military Council

(SMC),               1972-1978               Col. I.K. Acheampong

Supreme Military Council II,          1978-1979               Lt.-Gen. F. Akuffo

Armed Forces Revolutionary

Council (AFRC),               1979        Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings

Third Republic, 1979-1981               Hilla Limann

Provisional National

Defense Council (PNDC),               1981-       Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings

Source:Pellow, Deborah and Naomi Chazan. 1986. Ghana: Coping with Uncertainty. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

6.                REFERENCES

Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network [Accra]. 17 July 1992. "Party Application Filed." (FBIS-AFR-92-138 17 July 1992, p. 29)

Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network [Accra]. 26 June 1992. "Formation of New Pro-Nkrumah Party Announced." (FBIS-AFR-92-125 29 June 1992, p. 35)

Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network [Accra]. 19 June 1992. "Newspaper Law Repealed; Media Commission Set Up." (FBIS-AFR-92-120 22 June 1992, pp. 40-41)

Accra Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio Network [Accra]. 27 March 1992. "Court Dismisses Bail Application for Editor." (FBIS-AFR-92-063 1 Apr. 1992, pp. 37-38).

Africa Confidential [London]. 14 August 1992. Vol. 33, No. 16. "Move Over Danquah and Nkrumah."

Africa Confidential [London]. 7 February 1992. Vol. 33, No. 3. "Ghana: Dusting off the Political Suits."

Africa Confidential [London]. 13 September 1991. Vol. 32, No. 18. "Ghana: The Return of the Old Parties."

Africa Research Bulletin: Political Series [London]. 1-30 June 1992. Vol. 29, No. 6. "PNDC Forms Party."

Africa Research Bulletin: Political Series [London]. 1-31 May 1992. Vol. 29, No. 5. "Party Ban Lifted."

Africa Research Bulletin: Political Series [London]. 1-31 August 1991. Vol. 28, No. 8. "Constitutional Recommendations."

Africa Research Bulletin: Political Series [London]. 1-30 June 1991. Vol. 28, No. 6. "Amnesty Declared."

Africa Watch. 31 January 1992. Vol. 4, No. 1. News from Africa Watch. "Ghana: Revolutionary Injustice; Abuse of the Legal System under the PNDC Government." New York: Human Rights Watch.

Africa Watch. 12 Aug. 1991. News from Africa Watch. "Ghana: Government Denies Existence of Political Prisoners; Minister Says Detainees 'Safer' in Custody." New York: Human Rights Watch.

Agence France Presse (AFP). 13 April 1992. "Catholic Bishops Urge Cancellation of Referendum." (FBIS-AFR-92-073 15 Apr. 1992, p. 23)

Amnesty International, London. 29 September 1992. Telephone Interview with Ghana Researcher.

Amnesty International, London. 1992. Amnesty International Report: 1992. New York: Amnesty International USA.

Amnesty International, London. 18 December 1991. Ghana: Political Imprisonment and the Death Penalty. (AI Index: AFR 28/03/91). London: Amnesty International Publications.

BBC World Service. 16 July 1992. "Two Eagle Club Leaders, Rawlings' Cousin Arrested." (FBIS-AFR-92-138 17 July 1992, 29).

Chazan, Naomi. 1991. "The Political Transformation of Ghana Under the PNDC." Ghana: The Political Economy of Recovery. Edited by David Rothchild. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1991. 1992. U.S. Department of State. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Current History [Philadelphia]. May 1989. Donald Rothchild and E. Gyimah-Boadi. "Populism in Ghana and Burkina Faso."

Dakar PANA. 7 June 1991. "Government Names Constitution Committee Experts." (FBIS-AFR-91-113 12 June 1991, p. 24)

D'Souza, Frances, ed. 1991. Article 19 World Report 1991: Information, Freedom and Censorship. Chicago: American Library Association.

The Economist Intelligence Unit. 1991. Ghana: Country Profile 1991-92 (Annual Survey of Political and Economic Background). London: Business International Ltd.

EGLISI [Braine-le-Compte]. 10 August 1992. "Ghana: Les musulmans convertis au christianisme empêchés d'enagéliser."

Embassy of Ghana, Washington, D.C. 2 October 1992. Telephone Interview with Representative.

The Europa World Yearbook 1991. 1991. Vol 1. London: Europa Publications Ltd.

Ghana Bar Association, Accra. 19 June 1991. "Statement of the Ghana Bar Association on its Refusal to Participate in the Consultative Assembly."

Hutchful, Eboe. Professor at Wayne State University, Michigan. 29 September 1992. Telephone Interview.

Kraus, Jon. 1991. "The Political Economy of Stabilization and Structural Adjustment in Ghana." Ghana: The Political Economy of Recovery. Edited by David Rothchild. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Kuenyehia, Akua. Law Professor at the University of Ghana, Legon. 11 September 1992. Fax.

Kumado, Kofi. Law Professor at the University of Ghana, Legon. 9 September 1992. Fax.

Legum, Colin, ed. 1988. Africa Contemporary Record 1986-87: Annual Survey and Documents. New York: Africana Publishing Company.

Legum, Colin, ed. 1986. Africa Contemporary Record 1984-85: Annual Survey and Documents. New York: Africana Publishing Company.

Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ). 8 August 1991. "Statement on the Shooting of Mr. Daniel Kaba, a Member of the Executive Committee of the Tema Branch of the Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ)."

Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ). 11 January 1991. "Statement by the Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ) on the New Year Broadcast of the PNDC Chairman and Other Related Matters at a Press Conference in Accra."

New African [London]. September 1992. No. 300. "A Third Coming?"

New African [London]. July 1992. No. 298. "Keeping out the Punks."

New African [London]. June 1992. No. 297. "Ghana: Confessions of a Tribunal Chairman"; "Ghana: Time to Choose."

New African [London]. August 1991. No. 287. "Rawlings' Confidence Trick."

New African [London]. October 1990. No. 277. "Multi-Party Debate."

New African [London]. September 1990. No. 276. "No-Party Democracy?"

Ninsin, Kwame A. 1991. "The PNDC and the Problem of Legitimacy." Ghana: The Political Economy of Recovery. Edited by David Rothchild. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Pellow, Deborah and Naomi Chazan. 1986. Ghana: Coping with Uncertainty. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Ray, Donald I. 1986. Ghana: Politics, Economics and Society. London: Francis Pinter.

The Review: For the Rule of Law [Geneva]. December 1991. No. 47. International Commission of Jurists. "Ghana: Towards a Constitutional Government."

West Africa [London]. 21-27 September 1992. "Ghana's Transition: Some Debris in the Flow"; "Elusive Unity"; "Rawlings to run?"

West Africa [London]. 14-20 September 1992. "Ensuring Fair-Play."

West Africa [London]. 7-13 September 1992. "Party News."

West Africa [London]. 31 August-6 September 1992. "Deadline for Nomination"; "Rawlings to Run on NDC Ticket."

West Africa [London]. 27 July-2 August 1992. "Political Confusion."

West Africa [London]. 29 June-5 July 1992. "Journeying into Multipartyism."

West Africa [London]. 13-19 April 1992. "Constitutional Problems?"; "Views on Transitional Provisions."

West Africa [London]. 16-22 March 1992. "Going into Politics"; "A New Constitutional Order?"

West Africa [London]. 20-26 May 1991. "Multiparty Promise."

West Africa [London]. 13-19 August 1990. "Movement for Freedom and Justice."

West Africa [London]. 17-23 April 1989. "Militia Warned"; "40 Newspapers Licensed."

West Africa [London]. 9-15 January 1989. "Equal Rights and Justice."

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.