Kwadwo Afari-Gyan

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Kwadwo Afari-Gyan
Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
In office
Preceded by Justice Josiah Ofori Boateng
Succeeded by Charlotte Ama Osei
Personal details
Born (1945-06-18) 18 June 1945 (age 72)
Anyimon, Ghana
Nationality Ghanaian
Children 4
Alma mater University of Ghana
University of California, Santa Barbara
Occupation Academic, Political scientist

Kwadwo Afari-Gyan (born 18 June 1945) is a Ghanaian academic, political scientist and election administrator. He was Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana[1] from 1993 to 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Afari-Gyan was born on 18 June 1945 at Anyimon in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.[2] He attended Achimota School and Adisadel College for his A Level and also graduated from the University of Ghana in 1967 with a BA degree in Philosophy. He went on to attain a MA degree in African politics in 1969 from the same university. He also studied in the United States where he was awarded a Ph. D. in Political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1974.[1]


Afari-Gyan worked as a lecturer and a professor in Political Science at the University of Ghana. He has also lectured in the United States and Nigeria. He was a member of the Committee of Experts that drafted the Fourth Republican Constitution for Ghana.[3]

In 1992, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Interim National Electoral Commission by the Provisional National Defence Council, which was ruling as a military junta, with the hope of returning the country to civilian rule. His job was to ensure that the November 1992 presidential election and the December 1992 parliamentary elections were free and fair. Jerry John Rawlings, the Chairman of the PNDC, who was also Head of State, stood and won the elections.[1]

With the coming into force of the Fourth Republican Constitution, a new Electoral Commission was set up and Afari-Gyan became its first substantive chairman. He has successfully supervised all the elections held under this constitution so far. He has successfully chaired the conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.[4] In the last of these a number of unofficial institutions attempted to declare the results of these elections, with Afari-Gyan stating that these results could not be trusted.[5]

The 2004 general elections were disputed in court by the opposition National Democratic Congress. But the case was lost on technicalities. Again, the 2012 presidential election between President John Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo ended up in an 8-month election petition trial at the Supreme Court. The opposition leader lost the case in a 5:4 split decision, which held that the President was validly elected. But, the trial, which was live on television, exposed some fundamental weaknesses in Ghana's electoral process, triggering calls and moves towards comprehensive electoral reforms before the 2016 general elections.[6] The ruling has been heavily criticised by jurists.[7][8][9]

This is what one of the Supreme Court Justices, Justice Jones Dotse, had to say about Dr Afari Gyan: "My observation is that, Dr. Afari Gyan appeared to have concentrated his oversight responsibility at the top notch of the election administration, thereby abdicating his supervisory role at the grassroots or bottom, where most of the activities critical to the conduct of elections are performed. In this instance, he even appeared not to be conversant with some of the basic procedural steps and rules that are performed by his so-called temporary staff. So far as I am concerned, Dr. Afari Gyan has cut a very poor figure of himself, and the much acclaimed competent election administrator both nationally and internationally has evaporated into thin air once his portfolio has come under the close scrutiny of the Courts."[10]

In 1998, he became the Executive Secretary of the Association of African Election Authorities. He was also member of a committee of experts to advice Nigeria on elections.[11]

He retired from his position as Chairman of the Electoral Commission in June 2015.


He was awarded the Order of the Star of Ghana, the highest national award by President John Mahama, on 1 July 2015.[12]

Other activities[edit]

He has also worked in a large number of other African countries, and has written several books.[1] He was the "star witness" for the Electoral Commission of Ghana in an electoral petition which the New Patriotic Party filed after 2012 general elections.[13]


  • The Political Ideas of Kwame Nkrumah. University of California, Santa Barbara. 1974. p. 462. 
  • Nkrumah's Ideology. 1985. 
  • Public Tribunals and Justice in Ghana. Asempa Publishers. 1988. p. 14. 
  • Understanding Politics. Asempa Publishers. 1991. p. 109. 
  • The Making of the Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana. Accra: Goldtype Publishers & Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Ghana Office. 1995. p. 139. ISBN 978-9988-572-02-0. 
  • The Ghanaian constitution: An introduction. Friedrich Ebert Foundation. 1999. p. 108. ISBN 978-9988-572-56-3. 
  • Sarpong, Peter; et al. (1992). Afari-Gyan, Kwadwo; Arhin, Kwame, eds. The City of Kumasi Handbook: Past, Present and Future-Cambridge Faxbooks. OCLC 29495434. 


  1. ^ a b c d "Afari-Gyan Profile". United Action against Corruption and Injustice. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  2. ^ Asmah Kobby (June 2015). "Afari Gyan bids goodbye". Daily Graphic: 3. 
  3. ^ "The Commissioners". Electoral Commission of Ghana. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  4. ^ "American Chronicle - Electoral Commission and Afari Gyan deserve Nobel Peace Prize". 
  5. ^ "Afari Gyan Fumes". Ghana Elections. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  6. ^ Mustapha Abdallah. Ghana's 2012 Elections: Lessons Learnt Towards Sustaining Peace And Democratic Stability. April 2013.
  7. ^ Kwame Frimpong. The Supreme Court And The Presidential Election Petition.
  8. ^ "Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh's Speech Delivered At The IMANI-Occupyghana Forum On 'Electoral Reforms'". IMANI Center for Policy & Education. 2014-09-14. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ {{cite. But it seems justice Dotes erred. It's not unusual for a man of Dr. Atari Gyan's age with a huge responsibility not to immediately recollect the grassroots operations of electioneering. Justice Dotes's pronouncement was therefore needless and at best, a sheer arrogance on his part. web|url= |title=Justice Dotse’s critique of Afari-Gyan baseless - EC | |date=2013-09-10 |accessdate=2015-06-19}}
  11. ^ "Ghana's Afari-Gyan leads Nigeria elections committee". 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  12. ^ Ansah, Marian Efe (1 July 2015). "Afari Gyan gets highest award of the land". Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Afari Gyan prepared to save his reputation and damn the election Buaben Asamoah". 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2015-06-19.