Midnight Actions During Presidential Transitions in Ghana: A Rising Tide

Author: Maame Efua Addadzi-Koom

ISSN: 2521-5434
Affiliations: Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and PhD Candidate, University of Cape Town, South Africa. LLM (Fordham University), BL (Ghana), LLB (KNUST)
Source: Africa Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law, 2019, p. 25 – 54


With just a day to the end of his tenure in 2009, President Kufuor approved the single spine salary scheme, which increased public and civil sector salaries. After the 2016 elections, the outgoing President Mahama embarked on a spree of midnight actions—increasing salaries of national service personnel, making multiple appointments and recruitments, cutting sods for projects and signing a number of contracts. The exponential rise in midnight actions in a space of two inter-party transitional periods is alarming and requires urgent legislative response. The Presidential (Transition) Act (PTA) of 2012, which was enacted to enhance smooth presidential transitions, did not anticipate the increasing midnight actions. Accordingly, this article recommends that the PTA should be amended to address midnight actions in Ghana. The article reviews the responses to midnight actions in the United States and Australia and makes recommendations for Ghana’s legislative response based on the findings made. The article also considers the nature, practice and regulation of pre-election midnight actions and its place within Ghana’s transition framework. The article recommends that the proposed amendments to the PTA should also cover pre-election midnight actions.