Kofi Abrefa Busia

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Kofi Abrefa Busia
2nd Prime Minister of Ghana
In office
1 October 1969 – 13 January 1972
Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
3 April 1969 – 7 August 1970
Nii Amaa Ollennu
7–31 August 1970
Edward Akufo-Addo
31 August 1970 – 13 January 1972
Preceded by
Kwame Nkrumah
as Prime Minister
Succeeded by
(position abolished)
Member of Parliament for Wenchi
In office
1 October 1969 – 13 January 1972
Preceded byCharles Ebenezer Donkoh
Personal details
Born(1913-07-11)11 July 1913
Wenchi, Gold Coast
Died28 August 1978(1978-08-28) (aged 65)
Oxford, England
Political partyProgress Party
Spouse(s)Naa Morkor
Children8, Abena, Akosua Busia and Kofi Busia
Elected following military rule and overthrown by military regime.

Kofi Abrefa Busia (11 July 1913 – 28 August 1978)[1] was a Ghanaian political leader and academic who was Prime Minister of Ghana from 1969 to 1972. As a nationalist leader and prime minister, he helped to restore civilian government to the country following military rule.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Busia was born a Bono prince in the traditional kingdom of Wenchi, in the Brong Ahafo Region, one of the four Gold Coast Territories, then under British rule and now called Ghana.[3]

He was educated at Methodist School, Wenchi, Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, then at Wesley College, Kumasi, from 1931 to 1932. He taught at Wesley College and left to study at Achimota College in 1935 and taught there. He gained his first degree with Honours in Medieval and Modern History from the University of London, through correspondence during this period. He then went on to study at University College, Oxford, where he was the college's first African student. He returned to the Gold Coast in 1942.[4] He took a BA (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (1941, MA 1946) and a DPhil in Social Anthropology in 1947 at Nuffield College, Oxford, with a thesis entitled "The position of the chief in the modern political system of Ashanti: a study of the influence of contemporary social changes on Ashanti political institutions." He was a Fulbright scholar in 1954.[5]


He served as a district commissioner from 1942 to 1949, and was appointed first lecturer in African Studies. He became the first African to occupy a Chair at the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana). In 1951 he was elected by the Ashanti Confederacy to the Legislative Council. In 1952, he was Leader of Ghana Congress Party,[6] which later merged with the other opposition parties to form the United Party (UP).

As leader of the opposition against Kwame Nkrumah, he fled the country on the grounds that his life was under threat. In 1959 Busia became a Professor of Sociology and Culture of Africa at the University of Leiden near the Hague, Netherlands. From 1962 until 1969, he was a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.

He returned to Ghana in March 1966 after Nkrumah's government was overthrown by the military to serve on the National Liberation Council of General Joseph Ankrah, the military head of state;[2] and was appointed as the Chairman of the National Advisory Committee of the NLC. In 1967/68, he served as the Chairman of the Centre for Civic Education. He used this opportunity to promote himself as the next Leader. He also was a Member of the Constitutional Review Committee. When the NLC lifted the ban on politics, Busia, together with friends in the defunct UP formed the Progress Party (PP).[6]

In 1969, the PP won the parliamentary elections with 105 of the 140 seats. This paved the way for him to become the next Prime Minister. Busia continued with NLC's anti-Nkrumaist stance and adopted a liberalised economic system. There was a mass deportation of half a million Nigerian citizens from Ghana, and a 44 percent devaluation of the cedi in 1971, which met with a lot of resistance from the public.

While he was in Britain for a medical check-up, the army under Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong overthrew his government on 13 January 1972. Busia remained in exile in England and returned to Oxford University, where he died from a heart attack in August 1978.[4]

Along with J. B. Danquah and S. D. Dombo, Busia's name is associated with Ghana's political right. The New Patriotic Party has claimed the Danquah-Busia-Dombo mantle in the Fourth Republic.


  • The Position of the Chief in the Modern Political System of Ashanti. London, 1951 (Orig. Dissertation Oxford)
  • The Sociology and Culture of Africa. Leiden, 1960[7]
  • The Challenge of Africa. New York, 1962
  • Purposeful Education for Africa. The Hague, 1964
  • Urban Churches in Britain. London, 1966
  • Africa in Search of Democracy. London, 1967


  1. ^ "August 28, 1978: Prime Minister of 2nd Republic Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia Dies in London". Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b Martin, G. (23 December 2012). African Political Thought. Springer. ISBN 9781137062055. Archived from the original on 11 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia, Ex-Prime Minister: 1969 – 1972". ghanaweb.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b Lentz, Harris M. (4 February 2014). Heads of States and Governments Since 1945. Routledge. p. 320. ISBN 978-1-134-26490-2.
  5. ^ "Fulbright Notable Alumni: Heads of State/Government".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ a b "Ghana:Political Parties". Encyclopaedias of the Nations. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2007.
  7. ^ Leiden 1960 inaugural lecture open access online[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kwame Nkrumah
as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Ghana
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Parliament of Ghana
New title Leader of the Opposition
1952 – ?
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended by military Member of Parliament for Wenchi East
1969 – 19721
Parliament suspended after military coup
Party political offices
New title Leader of the Ghana Congress Party
Succeeded by
New title Leader of the United Party
1957 – ?
Succeeded by
New title Leader of the Progress Party
Parties banned after coup
Notes and references
1. Ghana@50