Personality Profile of Dr. Hilla Limann

Hilla Limann was born on the 12th December 1934. He was the President of Ghana from 24 September 1979 to 31 December 1981.

Eventually he became a diplomat, and served in Switzerland. Limann, whose original last name was Babini, was born in the northern Ghanaian town of Gwolu in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region to a poor family.

He managed to gain an excellent education, and took up an academic career.



He had his elementary education at Lawra Confederacy Native Authority Primary Boarding School from 1941 to 1945 and Tamale Middle Boarding school from 1946 – 1949.

Having obtained the standard seven leaving certificate, he taught for one year as a pupil teacher at Tumu. Dr. Limann entered the government teacher training college at Tamale and passed out with the Teachers certificate “B”.

At the college, he took part in local and district council politics. He was the local and district councillor for the Sissala District Council from 1952 to 1955 and was the council Chairman for two years (1953 -55).

Between 1957 and 1960, he studied Political Science at the London School of Economics. He subsequently completed a Diploma in French at the Sorbonne University, France. He also obtained a BA (Hons) degree in History at the University of London and a Ph.D in Political Science and Constitutional Law at the University of Paris.

From 1962 – 65, he studied at Faculte De Droit Et De Sciences Economiques (Faculty of Law and Economics) at Paris, France, and obtained a doctorate et Science politique et de droit constitutionnel (Doctorate in political science and constitutional law) in 1965.



Dr. Limann worked as the Head, Europe Desk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ghana between 1965 and 1968. During 1967, he was a member of the Constitution Commission which drafted the 1969 Constitution of Ghana.

In 1968, he became the Head of Chancery/Official Secretary at the Ghana embassy in Lomé, Togo. He was appointed Counsellor at Ghana’s Permanent Mission in Geneva, Switzerland in 1971. He assumed the position of Head, Europe, the Americans Southeast Asia Desk back in Ghana at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June 1975.

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Following the 1979 coup led by Jerry Rawlings, Limann, though almost unknown even in Ghana, was elected President on the People’s National Party ticket and had strong support among followers of former Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah. Dr. Limann was elected the presidential candidate of the People’s National Party (PNP), the successor of the CPP, for the 1979 elections

He polled 631,559 votes (35.32 percent) in the June 18 elections to beat nine other candidates. He went into a run-off with Mr.. Victor Owusu, the Popular Front Party (PFP) candidate who had 533,928 (29.86 percent) of the votes.

During the second round in July 1979, Dr. Limann convincingly beat Mr.. Owusu to be elected president of the third republic. He was sworn into office on September 24, 1979, and took over from Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.

He was an economic moderate, and supported democratic values and Pan-Africanism. He was deposed in a coup by Rawlings on 31 December 1981. He thus was the only president of the third republic of Ghana.

In 1992, at the end of the PNDC military rule that overthrew him, Dr. Limann once again found himself involved in politics and stood as the candidate of the People’s National Convention in the presidential election that year. He received 6.7% of the popular vote in the elections, coming third. He remained active among the Nkrumahist political movement in Ghana.

He began his presidency promising to fight corruption but was mired in internal political divisions and rumors of coup attempts. He was overthrown on New Year’s Eve 1981.

After a ban on political parties was lifted in 1992, Mr. Limann formed the People’s National Convention Party. He ran for President that year, finishing a distant third in elections won by Lieutenant Rawlings. Mr. Limann stepped down as head of the party four years later.

Dr. Limann surprised many people when he stepped down for Dr. Edward Mahama as the presidential candidate of the party during the 1996 polls. He was in and out of hospital for heart ailment of over the past couple of years.


Dr. Limann had chronic health problems and later died of natural causes. He was survived by his wife Mrs. Fulera Limann and seven children: Lariba Montia (née Limann), Baba Limann, Sibi Andan (née Limann), Lida Limann, Daani Limann, Zilla Limann and Salma Limann.


Mr. Limann died Friday in a hospital in Accra at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, where he was admitted a few weeks ago with heart trouble. He had been in and out of the hospital, the Government said in a statement Saturday.


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