Ghana | Freedom House

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017



Freedom Status: 

Freedom in the World Scores

(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Press Freedom Status: 
Partly Free

Since 1992, Ghana has held competitive multiparty elections that have led to peaceful transfers of power between the two main political parties. Although Ghana has a relatively strong record of upholding civil liberties, discrimination against women and members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community continues. Some weaknesses in judicial independence and rule of law persist, and political corruption presents challenges to government performance.  

Key Developments: 
  • In a general election held in December, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won a majority in Parliament, and its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, won the presidency.
  • Despite several legal and logistical challenges leading up to the vote, observers concluded that the Electoral Commission (EC) conducted a relatively well-organized and transparent election, and that the vote was free, fair, and credible.
  • In August, legislators passed the Petroleum and Oil Exploration Bill, which has the potential to enhance transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
  • The fallout of a judicial bribery scandal, which first emerged in 2015, continued during the year, with a number of judges dismissed from office.
Executive Summary: 

In December, Ghana set the stage for its third peaceful transfer of power since 1992 as voters elected Akufo-Addo of the NPP to presidential office and secured a parliamentary majority for the party. Despite a contentious campaign period that saw reports of inter-party violence, allegations of abuse of government resources, and complaints about incendiary campaign speech, domestic and international observers considered the vote to be largely free, fair, and credible. A preliminary report by a European Union (EU) observer mission commended the EC for its preparedness and transparency, but encouraged the institution to improve some aspects of its operations, including the quality of its framework for communicating with political parties.

Corruption continues to hinder government performance. During the year, fallout continued from a judicial bribery scandal that came to light in 2015, when a journalist publicized videos that seem to show numerous judges and other judicial officials accepting bribes. In a positive step, legislators passed the Petroleum and Oil Exploration Bill in August. The legislation has the potential to enhance transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.

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