Key dates in Ghana

(File : AP)
(File : AP)

Accra - Ghana holds a presidential election on Wednesday. Here are key dates since independence:

 Breaking free 

On March 6, 1957 Ghana wins its independence from Britain under nationalist leader Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana is the first sub-Saharan African country to break free of its European coloniser, and becomes a model for the post-colonial world.

In 1960, Ghana becomes a republic with Nkrumah as president. He promotes 'African socialism', but becomes increasingly autocratic. Plotters try to assassinate him several times between 1961 and 1964.

Coups alternate with elections 

In 1966, Nkrumah is overthrown and a military regime takes over.

More coups follow.

On June 4, 1979, Captain Jerry Rawlings topples the regime of General Frederick Akuffo. Rawlings sets up an "Armed Forces Revolutionary Council" and launches an anti-corruption "house-cleaning exercise".

Later that year, Rawlings organises democratic elections, which are won by Hilla Limann.

In 1981, Rawlings accuses Limann's government of mismanagement and takes over with another coup.

He holds fresh elections in 1992, and wins. Rawlings is re-elected in 1996 following unrest in February 1994 that leaves more than 1 000 people dead in northern Ghana.

Opposition leader John Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is elected president in 2000, and is succeeded in 2008 by a Rawlings ally, John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Mills dies in July 2012, and is replaced by vice-president John Dramani Mahama.

In the meantime, US President Barack Obama, whose father was an African from Kenya, chooses Ghana for his first official visit to sub-Saharan Africa in July 2009.

Oil, corruption 

Ghana starts pumping crude oil in December 2010 from an offshore field discovered three years earlier.

After Mahama wins a disputed presidential vote in December 2012 he drafts a code of ethics for ministers and civil servants.

Twenty judges are fired for corruption in late 2015 after they are filmed with justice ministry personnel accepting bribes in exchange for favourable rulings and jobs.

A dozen other judges are placed under investigation.

Mahama himself is then accused of receiving a car from a contractor in Burkina Faso who was bidding on a construction contract.

He is cleared in late September 2016 and immediately announces his candidacy for the December 7 vote.

Meanwhile, Ghana struggles with poor economic activity, the public deficit and inflation soar, and the country's sovereign ratings is downgraded.

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