Ghana Table of Contents
At the end of 1994, Ghana's young democracy seemed intact and on course. Although the electoral processes of the Fourth Republic were riddled with controversy and even some violence, the prospects for multiparty democracy appeared bright. This was true despite the opposition boycott of the parliamentary elections, leading to a virtual one-party state in practice. The NDC government had so far demonstrated a willingness to abide by the strictures of the 1992 constitution; the legislature appeared unrestricted in its deliberations, which were open to public scrutiny and opposition criticism despite the absence of a formal parliamentary opposition; and the judiciary had established its independence, unfettered by executive interference in its decisions, a majority of which had gone against the government.
Another positive development since the establishment of the Fourth Republic in January 1993 has been the growing acceptance by the NDC-dominated government of the crucial distinction between the interests of a ruling party and those of the state or civil society. This distinction was virtually nonexistent under military rule or the one-party state. This development in turn has resulted in the emergence and growth of independent civic institutions and organizations.
In celebrating two years of democracy at the end of 1994, Ghanaians were not forgetful of the painful fact that each of the last two attempts at constitutional rule had come to an abrupt end after only two years. Given the record since 1992, however, there was cause for cautious optimism. It may be that the return of Jerry Rawlings in 1981 will turn out to be the coup that ended the cycle of coups and the act that led at last to a new political era in Ghana.
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A rich body of literature exists on government and politics in Ghana during the colonial and early postindependence periods. Individual works range from general historical surveys to important case studies produced by Ghanaian and foreign specialists. The politics and government of the PNDC and the Fourth Republic, however, are less fully documented.
Among classic studies of the early decolonization and postindependence periods are Dennis Austin's Politics in Ghana, 1946-196, David E. Apter's Ghana in Transitio, and Maxwell Owusu's Uses and Abuses of Political Power: A Case Study of Continuity and Change in the Politics of Ghan. The standard works on foreign policy covering the Nkrumah period (1957-66), namely Willard S. Thompson's Ghana's Foreign Policy, 1957-1966: Diplomacy, Ideology, and the New Stat and Michael Dei-Anang's The Administration of Ghana's Foreign Relations, 1957-1965: A Personal Memoi, are equally relevant for a complete understanding of foreign policy under the PNDC and the Fourth Republic, which remains basically Nkrumahist.
Zaya Yeebo's Ghana, the Struggle for Popular Power Rawlings, Saviour or Demagogu and Donald I. Ray's Ghana: Politics, Economics, and Societ are leftist and partisan but contain useful insights. Ghana under PNDC Rule, 1982-198, edited by E. Gyimah-Boadi, with contributions by eleven Ghanaian academics at the University of Ghana, provides a balanced if brief overview of the years of PNDC rule. Good preliminary studies of party politics in the Fourth Republic are presented in the volume entitled Political Parties and Democracy in Ghana's Fourth Republi, edited by Kwame A. Ninsin and Francis K. Drah.
Jeffrey Herbst's The Politics of Reform in Ghana, 1982- 199, is a good critical examination of the politics of economic reform under the PNDC. The most systematic and comprehensive study of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 1992 is by Richard Jeffries and Clare Thomas, "The Ghanaian Elections of 1992." Maxwell Owusu's "Custom and Coups: A Juridical Interpretation of Civil Order and Disorder in Ghana," "Rebellion, Revolution and Tradition: Reinterpreting Coups in Ghana," and "Democracy and Africa-A View From the Village" provide in-depth analysis as well as a cultural and historical perspective on the PNDC period. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of November 1994
Ghana Table of Contents