President John Dramani Mahama assumed office today, Monday January 7, as the fourth President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana at a colourful coronation held at the Black Star Square after taking both the Presidential Oath and Oath of Office.
Remarkably, President Mahama handed over the sword of office to himself as he assumed the mantle of leadership to finish the third Presidency of the late President John Evans Atta Mills on July 24, 2012.
President Mahama and Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur took the oath of office administered by the Chief Justice, Mrs Theodora Georgina Wood before an open Parliament at the Independence Square in Accra, and in the presence of a new Parliament and its new Speaker.
Apart from the Independent Square, the venue for the programme, which was draped in the national colours, telephone and electricity poles and trees along the streets leading to the venue were also adorned in the national colours of red, gold and green.
The Independent Arch was not left out of the national beautification exercise.
A large contingent of Ghanaians and other nationals witnessed the historic event at the Square, whilst millions more across the world watched the inaugural ceremony on television.
Present at the function were foreign heads of state, heads of delegations, the diplomatic community in Ghana and other very important personalities.
In 2005, seven African Presidents and a host of Heads of State and Government from Africa and across the globe attended the swearing-in ceremony of former President Kufuor.
In 2009, seven African Presidents, three Prime Ministers and two Vice-Presidents were at the swearing-in of the late President Mills, whose mantle the President elect took before being declared winner of the 2012 elections.
Notwithstanding the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to boycott the ceremony, in line with its challenge of the presidential election results, former President John Agyekum Kufuor was among the many dignitaries, including former President J.J. Rawlings, the Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that graced the occasion.
President Mahama thus becomes Ghana’s seventh democratically elected leader after independence and the second Vice-President, after the late President John Evans Atta Mills, to be elected President in the country’s nearly 56-year history.
The President-elect is also the fourth former parliamentarian to lead the country, after Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Prof K.A. Busia and Mr J.A. Kufuor.
Besides that, he also becomes the fourth person with the name John to lead the country since 1992.
Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings ascribed as the first “John,” ruled as a democratically-elected President from January 7, 1993 to January 6, 2001; Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor endorsed as the second “John,” from January 7, 2001 to January 6, 2009; and the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the third “John,” from January 7, 2009 to July 24, 2012.
Communications Expert, Historian, Writer, Former MP, Veep, etc
President John Mahama was born on November 29, 1958 at Damongo, in the Northern Region of Ghana.
He is a communications expert, historian, writer, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State, and immediate former Vice-President of Ghana.
In the 2008 elections, President Mahama was the running mate of the late President Mills when the two ran a campaign on the message of change.
After the demise of President Mills last year, President Mahama replaced the man he described as his mentor and father as the flag bearer of the NDC for the 2012 elections.
After months of campaigning, President Mahama, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP and six others took their cases to the electorate in fiercely contested elections which President Mahama won by 50.70 per cent, followed by Nana Akufo-Addo with 47.74 per cent.
Becoming President on the heels of acrimonious campaigning and elections whose results are being contested in court, Mr Mahama is expected to use his inaugural speech to tell Ghanaians the direction of his Presidency over the next four years.
With the country sharply divided along partisan lines after the NPP’s refusal to accept the results it described as flawed, the President will pull all the unity strings to mass up the populace behind him.
President Mahama’s entry into Ghana politics started in 1996 when he was elected Member of Parliament for the Bole-Bamboi Constituency.
A year later, he was appointed a Deputy Minister of Communications in the Rawlings administration.
When the NDC lost the 2000 elections, the soft-spoken Mahama became the NDC’s Communications Director, while remaining a strong voice of the party in Parliament.
His role as MP, which spanned a period of 12 years, ended in 2008 when he was nominated as Prof Mills’s running mate for that year’s elections.
When the NDC won the elections in 2008, Mr Mahama became the Vice-President, a role he played until the demise of President Mills on July 24, 2012 when the mantle of leadership fell on his lap.
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