List of heads of state of Ghana

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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Constitution

This is a list of the heads of state of Ghana, from the independence of Ghana in 1957 to the present day.

From 1957 to 1960 the head of state under the Ghana Independence Act 1957 was the Queen of Ghana, Elizabeth II, who was also the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen was represented in Ghana by a Governor-General. Ghana became a republic under the Constitution of 1960 and the Monarch and Governor-General were replaced by an executive President.

Monarch (1957–1960)[edit]

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

Monarch
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Reign Royal House Prime Minister
Reign start Reign end
1 Queen Elizabeth II
(1926–)
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Portrait Herbert James Gunn.jpg 6 March 1957 1 July 1960 Windsor Nkrumah

Governor-General[edit]

The Governor-General was the representative of the Monarch in Ghana and exercised most of the powers of the Monarch. The Governor-General was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the monarch. After the passage of the Statute of Westminster 1931, the Governor-General was appointed solely on the advice of the Cabinet of Ghana without the involvement of the British government. In the event of a vacancy the Chief Justice served as Officer Administering the Government.

Status
  Denotes Chief Justice acting as Officer Administering the Government
Governor-General
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Monarch Prime Minister
Took office Left office
1 Sir Charles Arden-Clarke
(1898–1962)
No image.png 6 March 1957 14 May 1957 Elizabeth II Nkrumah
Sir Kobina Arku Korsah
(1894–1967)
No image.png 14 May 1957 13 November 1957 Elizabeth II Nkrumah
2 The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Listowel
(1906–1997)
No image.png 13 November 1957 1 July 1960 Elizabeth II Nkrumah

First Republic (1960–1966)[edit]

Under the 1960 Constitution, the first constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the President replaced the Monarch as executive head of state. The President was elected by Parliament for a 5-year term. In the event of a vacancy three Members of the Cabinet served jointly as Acting President.

Status
  Denotes three Members of the Cabinet acting jointly as President
President
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Elected Political affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Took office Left office
1 Kwame Nkrumah
(1909–1972)
Kwame Nkrumah (JFKWHP-AR6409-A).jpg 1 July 1960 26 February 1966
(deposed.)
1960
1965
Convention People's Party

Military rule (1966–1969)[edit]

Lieutenant-General Joseph Arthur Ankrah led a coup d'état which overthrew President Nkrumah and his government, all political parties and Parliament were also dissolved.

Head of State
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Military
Took office Left office
2 Lieutenant-General Joseph Arthur Ankrah
(1915–1992)
24 February 1966 2 April 1969
(resigned.)
National Liberation Council
3 Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
(1936–1979)
2 April 1969 3 September 1969 National Liberation Council

Second Republic (1969–1972)[edit]

Status
  Denotes Speaker of Parliament and acting President
President
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Elected Political affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Prime Minister
Took office Left office
(3) Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
(1936–1979)
3 September 1969 7 August 1970 Military Busia
Nii Amaa Ollennu
(1906–1986)
No image.png 7 August 1970 31 August 1970 Independent
4 Edward Akufo-Addo
(1906–1979)
31 August 1970 13 January 1972
(deposed.)
Independent

Military rule (1972–1979)[edit]

General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong led a coup d'état which overthrew the President Akufo-Addo, Prime Minister Abrefa Busia and his government, all political parties and Parliament was also dissolved.

Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo led a coup d'état which overthrew the General Acheampong then Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings led a coup d'état which overthrown the Supreme Military Council

Head of State
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Military
Took office Left office
5 General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
(1931–1979)
13 January 1972 9 October 1975 National Redemption Council
9 October 1975 5 July 1978
(deposed.)
Supreme Military Council
6 Lieutenant-General Fred Akuffo
(1937–1979)
5 July 1978 4 June 1979
(deposed.)
Supreme Military Council
7 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings
(1947–)
Jerry Rawlings 2.jpg 4 June 1979 24 September 1979 Armed Forces Revolutionary Council

Third Republic (1979–1981)[edit]

Under the 1979 Constitution the President is head of both state and government. The President is elected by Ghanaians and serves a four-year term that expires at the next general election; a President may serve a maximum of two terms. In the event of a vacancy the Vice-President serves as Acting President.

Status
  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
President
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Elected Political affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Took office Left office
8 Hilla Limann
(1934–1998)
Hilla Limann.jpg 24 September 1979 7 December 1981
(deposed.)
1979 People's National Party

Military rule (1981–1993)[edit]

Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings led a coup d'état which overthrew President Limann and his government, all political parties and Parliament were also dissolved.

Head of State
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Military
Took office Left office
(7) Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings
(1947–)
Jerry Rawlings 2.jpg 31 December 1981 7 January 1993 Provisional National Defence Council

Fourth Republic (1993–present)[edit]

Under the current Constitution the President is head of both state and government. The President is elected by Ghanaians and serves a four-year term that expires at the next general election; a President may serve a maximum of two terms. In the event of a vacancy, the Vice-President serves the remaining time as the President.

Status
  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
President
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Tenure Elected Political affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Took office Left office
(7) Jerry Rawlings
(1947–)
Jerry Rawlings 2.jpg 7 January 1993 7 January 2001 1992
1996
National Democratic Congress
9 John Kufuor
(1938–)
John Agyekum Kufuor - World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg 7 January 2001 7 January 2009 2000
2004
New Patriotic Party
10 John Atta Mills
(1944–2012)
John Atta-Mills election poster.jpg 7 January 2009 24 July 2012
(died in office)
2008 National Democratic Congress
11 John Mahama
(1958–)
John Dramani Mahama at Chatham House.jpg 24 July 2012 7 January 2017 2012 National Democratic Congress
12 Nana Akufo-Addo
(1944–)
Nana Akufo-Addo at European Development Days 2017.jpg 7 January 2017 incumbent 2016 New Patriotic Party

Standards[edit]

Living former heads of state[edit]

Image Name Term/Reign Office Date of birth
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Elizabeth II 1957–1960 Queen of Ghana (1926-04-21) 21 April 1926 (age 91)
Jerry Rawlings 2.jpg Jerry Rawlings 1979
1981–1993
1993–2001
Military ruler
President of Ghana
(1947-06-22) 22 June 1947 (age 70)
John Agyekum Kufuor - World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg John Kufuor 2001–2009 President of Ghana (1938-12-08) 8 December 1938 (age 78)
John Dramani Mahama 2014 (cropped).jpg John Dramani Mahama 2012–2017 President of Ghana (1958-11-29) 29 November 1958 (age 58)

External links[edit]