The NDC was founded in 1992 by then military leader Jerry John Rawlings, who stepped down from military rule to return Ghana to democracy.

Having held on to power with his Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), Rawlings formed the NDC at the beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1992.

Rawlings first came to power through a military coup
Rawlings first came to power through a military coup

He subsequently contested the 1992 Presidential elections as the flagbearer of the party, which he won by a whopping 58.4% following a boycott of the second round by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The NDC, therefore, became the first political party to win an election in the Fourth Republic, with Rawlings going on to secure a second term after again winning the 1996 Presidential election.

By completing two terms, Rawlings had ruled the country for almost 20 years, although 11 of those years came under his military regime.

The NDC lost a Presidential election for the first time in 2000, when its new flagbearer John Evans Atta Mills lost to the NPP’s John Agyekum Kufour.

Rawlings and Atta Mills
Rawlings and Atta Mills

The 2004 general elections saw the NDC suffer another major defeat, with the NPP’s Kufour recording a first-round win after polling 52.45% of the total votes.

Mills only managed 44.6% of the total votes cast, while the NDC also won just 94 of the 230 Parliamentary seats.

The NDC, however, returned to power after winning the 2008 Presidential election, Mills finally becoming successful in his third attempt.

However, Mills couldn’t complete his third term, having died with just a few months to the 2012 general elections. His Vice President, John Dramani Mahama had to step in.

After succeeding Mills for the rest of his tenure, Mahama was substantively elected as President following the 2012 Presidential elections.

John Mahama
John Mahama

He polled 50.70% of the total votes cast in what because a contentious result, later to be contested at the Supreme Court.

While Mills became the first sitting President in the Fourth Republic to pass away, Mahama also became the first sitting President to lose an election.

The NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo won the 2016 Presidential election by a landslide margin, polling an unprecedented 53.72% of the votes.

Mahama will again contest the 2020 polls as the presidential candidate of the NDC, with Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate.

The leadership of the party has also changed over the years, with more youthful persons occupying key roles.

Johnson Asiedu Nketia is the party’s General Secretary, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo is National Chairman, while Sammy Gyamfi is National Communications Director.