The Judiciary and Democracy in Ghana’s Fourth Republic

Since the advent of multi-party elections in 1992, Ghana has successfully
held six free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, including the
peaceful alternation of power on three occasions. Despite this impressive
record, transparent and peaceful elections are never a guaranteed outcome
in Ghana. General elections in the country are highly competitive and tightly
contested by the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP)
and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and their support bases. The
2016 general elections season was a fierce fight marked by apparent attempts
at fraud and corruption on the part of the Electoral Commission. Although
there was a tense lead-up to the vote, the elections proceeded without incident,
largely due to the actions of the Supreme Court. These Supreme Court rulings
on electoral transparency and fairness during the 2016 elections continue a
long history of judicial intervention in electoral disputes. Nearly three decades
of judicial activism has effectively constrained the major political parties in
their ongoing attempts to use fraud and corruption for gains at the polls.
This study thus supports the early work of Ruti Teitel on judicial policymaking in transitional states by demonstrating how an activist Supreme
Court has effectively preserved and advanced democratisation in the face of
weak political institutions.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: democracy, elections, Electoral Commission, Ghana, judiciary, Supreme Court
journal of african elections vol17 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa