Assess the reasons why J. J. Rawlings was more successful as president of Ghana than Kwame Nkrumah.

Published: March 21, 2017

JJ Rawlings proved to be a better leader than Nkrumah in many respects. The most important of these was that he wanted to bring back democracy to Ghana much unlike Nkrumah who with the promise of resorting back to democracy, continued military rule of the country. He came to the power in order to improve many situations in the country. One such example was the condition of labours, who showed regular unrest and whose wages remained low. The other problems were that of corruption at all levels and smuggling and hoarding of basic goods. Inspite of being from the air force, he preferred the military to only be a part of decision making process. He put in place a civilian government with people from political and academic circles. In this period, although Ghana suffered from a drought in 1983, it was nevertheless compensated by ample rains and good maize harvest the next year, a result of good governance. He did take help from the IMF but unlike other African countries, ensured that the recovery programme contributed to the betterment of production which also rose by 7 per cent. Thus, in the early 1990s Ghana saw the highest economic growth rates in Africa. The only criticism that he was receiving was that not much was done towards building a representative democracy. He heeded positively to this criticism also, drawing a new Constitution and promising democratic elections in 1992. This did take place and his popularity was so high that he was elected as President for a four year term. He was re-elected in 1996. But in 2000 elections he was not a qualified candidate as per the constitution. So he made for others then. But his political career is one of the most celebrated ones in Ghana.

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