Limann’s Fresh Hope Fails and Rawlings Returns

December 31, 1981

The 1979 constitution was modeled on those of Western democracies. It provided for the separation of powers between an elected president and a unicameral Parliament, an independent judiciary headed by a Supreme Court, which protected individual rights, and other autonomous institutions, such as the Electoral Commissioner and the Ombudsman. The new President, Dr. Hilla Limann, was a career diplomat from the north and the candidate of the People’s National Party (PNP), the political heir of Nkrumah’s CPP. Of the 140 members of Parliament, 71 were PNP. The PNP government established the constitutional institutions and generally respected democracy and individual human rights. It failed, however, to halt the continuing decline in the economy; corruption flourished, and the gap between rich and poor widened. On December 31, 1981, Flight Lt. Rawlings and a small group of enlisted and former soldiers launched a coup that succeeded against little opposition in toppling President Limann.

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One Response to “Limann’s Fresh Hope Fails and Rawlings Returns”


  1. The Limann administration and the Third Republican Constitution of Ghana were overthrown in yet another military coup in Ghana’s post Independence history in 1981. The coup was led by Fit. Lt. Rawlings who again became Head of State and Chairman of a Provisional National Defence Council, (PNDC) which he established. The PNDC ruled Ghana from 31st December 1981 to 7th January 1993. A combination of internal and international pressure factors led to a return to constitutional multi-party democratic rule in 1993.


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