Ghana’s Ex-President Mahama Joins 2020 Presidential Race

Ghana
Ghana’s Ex-President John Mahama

 

Ghana’s former president John Mahama has scored a landslide primary victory to become the opposition candidate in the West African country’s 2020 elections.

Mahama was the overwhelming favourite among seven candidates, winning 95 percent of 213,487 votes cast on Saturday, making him the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress.

Mahama was president from 2012 to 2016, when he lost a re-election bid to President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over a faltering economy and corruption allegations.

READ ALSO: Senegal Votes With President Sall Confident Of First-Round Win

“Tonight, I want to serve notice to Ghana that from the outcome of this election, the NDC is strong,” Mahama said after his victory was announced.

“The NDC is united. The NDC is poised for victory in 2020. And nothing, absolutely nothing, can stop our march towards Flagstaff House (the seat of government),” Mahama said at the social democratic party’s headquarters in Accra.

“It is a call to duty, a call to action and a call to battle. I wish that this fire will keep on burning… It is my hope that we will work together and eschew all attempts to divide us,” he said.

Ghana was one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production. The former British colony is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.

AFP

Obasanjo, Mahama, Others Discuss Credible Elections In Africa

Obasanjo, Mahama, Others Discuss Credible Elections In Africa
A file photo of former President Olusegun Obasanjo speaking at an event in 2018.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some other former presidents in Africa have met to discuss how to ensure free and credible electoral process in the continent.

The ex-presidents include a former President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama; former President of Sierra Leone, Mr Ernest Koroma; and former Prime Minister of Kenya, Mr Raila Odinga.

Also present are the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, as well as Dr Muthoni Wanyaki and Amir Osman from the Open Society Foundations.

In his opening remarks, former President Obasanjo explained that the essence of the meeting was to review electoral systems in Africa, especially inputs, processes and output/outcomes.

The meeting, according to him, is also to examine the strengths and weaknesses in the use of ICT in electoral systems in the continent and elsewhere in the world.

“To illustrate how ICT can be used to ease the electoral process rather than inhibit it; to document good practices in e-voting across the world and extract lessons for Africa; and to propose models of successful deployment of ICT in electoral systems in Africa for the sustenance of democracy in the region,” the former president said.

He recalled the recent formal inauguration of the Africa Progress Group (APG) which he chairs.

Obasanjo was delighted that the Secretariat of APG was the venue of the two-day meeting which he said has to do with the progress of Africa.

“One of the pillars of Africa’s progress in my five “P”s as adopted by APG at its inaugural meeting of November 27, 2018, is Politics; the others are Prosperity, Population, Protection and Partnerships,” he said

“This meeting on the election process is within the framework of the pillar of politics. Deficit in the election process will translate to deficit in politics (and vice versa) which in turn will impede sound governance, a much sought-after element in the development of Africa.”

The former president added that the meeting would address one of the key issues at the heart of credible elections in Africa – ICT and the election process.

He believes the ICT is here to stay, pervading and increasingly impacting all aspects of the lives of Africans, including the conduct of elections.

“But it can be a good servant or a bad master. This is why, I believe, that the outcomes of our deliberations will have far-reaching implications for the quality and credibility of the election firmament in Africa now and in the future,” he said.

Obasanjo was also hopeful that the meeting would present new and refreshing insights into how ICT can be better used in delivering credible elections in the continent and for the rest of the world.

Professor Jega also delivered a paper titled: “Practical Experience in the use of ICT in the Election Process in Africa: The Nigerian Experience.”

A file photo of Professor Attahiru Jega

 

He stressed that the two essential areas that technology has not yet been fully utilised were electronic collation and transmission of results, and electronic voting.

The former INEC boss said that the use of appropriate technology “goes a long way to improve the efficiency of the conduct of elections, as well the integrity of elections, worldwide and especially in Africa.”

“Opportunities need to be explored and adequately utilized, but we must constantly remember that use of ICT in elections is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.”

“That end perhaps is electoral integrity for deepening and consolidating democracy. We need to constantly deploy measures that can ensure secure and sustainable use of ICT in our electoral processes,” he said.

The two-day event which began on Monday is tagged, “High-Level Working Group Meeting on Mitigating Disruptive Applications of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the Electoral Process in Africa.

The event was organised by the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in conjunction with the Open Society Foundations.

Ooni Of Ife Hosts Ex-Ghanaian President, Mahama

The Ooni of Ife and his Queen, Moronke Naomi Silekunola Ogunwusi, with former Ghanaian President John Mahama at his palace in Ile-Ife.

The Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, hosted the immediate past President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama and his team at his palace in Ile -Ife, Osun State on Thursday.

The Ooni, who received Mr Mahama in company with his Queen, stressed the need for Africa to remain united as one big family.

READ More: Ooni Of Ife Receives Ex-Ghanaian President, Calls For African Unity

See photos from the visit below:

Ooni Receives Ghana’s Ex-President, Calls For African Unity

 

The Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, says Africa remains one big family despite boundaries between countries and communities.

The monarch stated this on Thursday while receiving the immediate past President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama and his team at the palace in Ile -Ife, Osun State

He said, “Before the advent of the Western civilization, there were no boundaries between the African nations and communities, we are one big family.

“It gladdens my heart that with committed individuals like President Mahama, we have remained that united big family working together for the progress of the African continent.”

The Ooni also praised the former Ghanaian leader for exhibiting what he described as a humility and simplicity.

According to him, Mr Mahama personally received him in Ghana while in office two years ago and served him.

“When I was in Ghana to honour Mr President two years ago, he was in power, to the glory of God, he displayed humility and simplicity.

“He didn’t even wait for an aide to do anything for me. He did it by himself. He made tea and offered me by himself. There is no difference between when he was in power and when he was not. That’s humility and simplicity.”

The revered monarch, therefore, prayed for blessings for the former President.

On his part, Mr Mahama thanked the Ooni for the warm reception, describing the Ife kingdom as the root of the rich African culture.

The former Ghanaian leader was accompanied by his elder sister, Mrs Sherifat Dundu and her husband Mr Bisi Dundu, his former Chief Of Staff, Mr Julius Debra among others.

Ghana’s Ex-President Mahama Announces Bid For 2020 Vote

Ghana

 

Ghana’s former president John Mahama on Thursday announced his bid to seek the nomination of the main opposition party and contest the 2020 election.

Mahama, who became president in 2012 but lost his re-election bid to President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016, said he had decided to give the country’s top job another shot.

“I have submitted my letter to the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) confirming my decision to contest for the leadership of the party with a clear view on victory in 2020,” the former leader announced on his Facebook page.

Mahama said his decision was due to a groundswell of support from Ghanaians.

“I’ve prayed diligently about the task ahead and I believe I owe a duty to God and my country to take our great party back into government, to right the wrongs of the past and to put an end to the cries of the people under the current dispensation,” he said.

The 59-year-old promised to take Ghana to greater heights if given the opportunity to serve again.

“The 2020 election presents our party, the NDC, with a great opportunity to offer yet again, visionary leadership driven by a commitment to create opportunities for all our people and not just a few,” he said.

He added that his aim was to position Ghana “as a true middle-income country by modernizing our dilapidated social and economic infrastructure.”

Mahama is expected to vie for the NDC’s ticket with at least four contenders at the party’s primaries slated for between October and November.

In May, the former head of state had hinted of his plan to seek the NDC’s nomination.

Mahama lost the 2016 election to Akufo-Addo over a faltering economy and corruption allegations.

Ghana has been one of Africa’s fastest growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production.

The West African nation is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.

AFP

Ghana’s Ex-President Mahama Hints At 2020 Presidential Run

Ghana’s former president, John Mahama.

 

Ghana’s former president, John Mahama, has hinted at a bid for leadership of the opposition party, in a move that has triggered speculation ahead of presidential elections due in 2020.

Mahama, who campaigned as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, lost his re-election bid to President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016.

“To you the teeming supporters and sympathizers calling and requesting me to declare my intentions for the future, I wish to assure you today, that as a servant-leader, I have listened to your calls and reflected,” Mahama said Saturday in a statement posted to his official Facebook account.

“I will not disappoint you even as we await the publication of the party’s guidelines for selecting a new leader,” Mahama said.

If he formally declares, Mahama will be contesting the nomination at the party’s primary in November.

His announcement has been hailed by party executives and supporters, who believe he is the favourite for the ticket.

Kofi Adams, NDC’s national organising secretary, told AFP on Monday that the news was “welcome”.

“He has a track record and the party can only campaign based on his achievements so it is an excellent decision for John Mahama to contest as flag-bearer for the NDC party. Ghanaians are looking for the return of the NDC,” Adams said.

Pollster Ben Ephson said Mahama still controls the support base of the party which will make it difficult for anyone to contest him.

“The more candidates they have the more advantageous it is for Mahama. They can get talking to see if they can join forces to beat Mahama,” Ephson told a local radio station on Monday.

Mahama lost the 2016 election to Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) over a faltering economy and corruption allegations.

Ghana is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production.

The West African country is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.

AFP

Prioritise National Interest, Ex-Ghanaian President Advises African Leaders

The immediate past President of Ghana, John Mahama has called on African leaders to prioritise national interests, adding that the African continent is better off operating a not so perfect democracy which could get better than a high-risk dictatorship.

Mahama said African leaders should always put national interest above personal and foreign interest and embrace a collective position to develop the continent.

The former Ghanaian President speaking as the guest speaker at the graduation lecture of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, said foreign interests have largely succeeded in Africa because many African leaders have not been able to entrench their national interests.

“For a long time, foreign interest has largely succeeded because many African countries have not been able to entrench their national interests within their democratic institutions.

“They have succeeded because the quest for power often tramps the safeguarding of our national interests. I, therefore, propose that African leaders must make efforts to define their own national interests and ensure that just like the Western countries, we take collective positions that do not vary, irrespective of who is at the helm of affairs,” he said.

Mahama said until African leaders like their foreign counterparts begin to take a collective position that does not vary irrespective of who is at the helms of the affairs, the African continent will not develop to its full capacity.

Ghana’s New President Akufo-Addo Promises To Cut Taxes

Nana Akufo-Addo, GhanaGhana’s new President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has pledged to cut taxes to boost the economy.

Mr Akufo-Addo made the promise at his swearing in ceremony on Saturday.

He also pledged to protect the public purse by getting value for money on services.

The 72-year-old, who contested under the platform of the New Patriotic Party, was elected president on his third attempt to reach the post.

He defeated incumbent John Dramani Mahama in peaceful elections a month ago, a rare peaceful transfer of power in a region plagued by political crises.

The major cocoa and gold exporter is half-way through a three-year aid programme with the International Monetary Fund to fix an economy dogged by high public debt and inflation.

It is not clear how the new president will be able to cut taxes and still stick to an IMF austerity plan that was a condition of a $918 million bailout, Reuters reports.

“We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy,” said Akufo-Addo, wrapped in a traditional kaleidoscopic “kente” robe. “Ghana is open for business again.”

At the venue for the inauguration in Black Star Square, thousands of Ghanaians also draped in traditional kente garments clapped. Outside the perimeters, revellers drummed and danced.

Akufo-Addo suggested government money would be spent wisely.

“I shall protect the public purse by insisting on value for money,” he said. “Public service is just that: service, and (is) not be seen as an opportunity for making money.”

Ghana expects growth will return to above eight per cent in 2017 as new oil and gas fields from Tullow and ENI come on tap.

Akufo-Addo served as foreign minister and attorney general in the NPP government that ruled between 2001 and 2009. He twice previously lost close battles for the presidency. He is the son of a former chief justice and non-executive president of Ghana.

During his campaign, he had accused the Mahama administration of corruption and incompetence, charges the outgoing president denied. Mahama attended the ceremony.

It was also attended by dozens of African leaders and other international dignitaries, including Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, Chadian President Idris Deby, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and former UN chief Kofi Annan.

Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party also won a majority of 169 seats in Parliament while the former ruling National Democratic Congress now has 106 seats.

The former human rights lawyer had also promised free high school education and more factories in Ghana.

 

President Buhari Visits Gambia To Hold Talks With Jammeh

Muhammadu Buhari, Yahya JammehPresident Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Banjul to meet with the President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, who lost the presidential election penultimate week, but rejected the results.

The Nigerian leader arrived together with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra-Leone and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who is the current Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.

The leaders were received on Tuesday at the airport by Gambia’s Vice-President, Isatou Njie-Saidy.

The out-going President of Ghana, John Mahama, who had earlier arrived Banjul, would join the other West African leaders to meet President Jammeh at the CoCo Ocean Resort and Spa, Banjul.

President Jammeh had earlier conceded defeat in the election, after a 22-year rule, but recanted a week later, asking for fresh polls to be conducted by a “god-fearing and independent electoral commission”.

President Buhari and the ECOWAS leaders would discuss the ensuing impasse in the Gambia with President Jammeh, and insist on the sanctity of the electoral process as well as respect for the wishes of the people.

They would also ask their host to respect the Constitution of his own country and maintain the inviolability of an electoral process that had been concluded, in which he had admitted defeat and congratulated his main challenger.

The leaders are also scheduled to meet the President-elect, Adama Barrow.

A statement by President Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, reveals that the leader is expected back in Abuja later on Tuesday.

Terrorist Attack: No Need To Panic – Ghana’s President

Terrorist AttackAuthorities in Ghana have called on residents in the country not to panic after a leaked security memo shows militant Islamists are planning a terrorist attack the West African country.

President John Mahama has asked for public vigilance. He says Ghana is also at risk from home-grown militants.

The memo reveals this information was obtained from a man held in Ivory Coast over last month’s deadly attack on a beach resort.

It also warned of a possible attack on neighbouring Togo. Ghana and Togo have never been attacked by militant Islamists.

Ivory Coast was hit for the first time on March 13 when gunmen killed at least 18 people at the Grand Bassam Beach Resort, which is popular with locals and foreigners.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ghana’s President Bans First Class Travel For Public Officials

GhanaGhana’s President, John Mahama, has banned public officials from first class air travel in a renewed effort to cut wasteful spending as the West African nation implements an IMF aid deal to revive state finances, the government said on Tuesday.

Ghana is preparing to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2016 and, with the opposition accusing government ministers of inflating contract sums, inappropriate spending will likely be a top campaign issue.

The presidency issued the directive this week asking all ministers and other top officials to avoid “unwarranted” foreign trips on the public purse, Communications Minister Edward Omane Boamah told Reuters.

Ghana, a major producer of cocoa, gold and oil, began a three-year program with the International Monetary Fund in April to fix its economy, which has been dogged by high deficits, a widening public debt and unstable local currency.

Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, told Reuters on Tuesday that the cabinet is also discussing a financial accountability bill which would impose penalties such as dismissal or jail time for public officials who are found to violate it.

“It is expected to be clear enough to enable the general public to see malfeasance if there is (any) and hold the agency involved accountable,” he added.

Jonathan, Others Discuss Return To Civil Rule In Burkina Faso

Jonathan_BurkinaThe presidents of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal visited Burkina Faso to press the military for a speedy handover of power to a civilian ruler.

The African Union (AU) says the army acted unconstitutionally when it took over after President Blaise Compaore was forced to resign on Friday.

The AU on Monday gave the army a two-week deadline. Interim leader Lt Col Isaac Zida later promised to comply.

Mr Compaore quit after mass protests at his bid to extend his 27-year rule.
‘Quick transition’

Col Zida met Senegalese President Macky Sall, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Ghana’s John Mahama at the airport in the capital Ouagadougou.

A statement from President Jonathan’s office said the three-man delegation representing West African regional body Ecowas aimed to “facilitate the rapid resolution of the current political crisis in Burkina Faso”.

They will hold a series of meetings to press for the quick handover, following a threat by the AU to impose sanctions if the military did not act within two weeks.

The BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa says the sanctions could include suspension of Burkina Faso’s AU membership and a travel ban on military officials.

After meetings with opposition leaders and activists on Tuesday, Col Zida was quoted as saying that he would comply with the demand.

“If everyone agrees, there is no reason that the transition shouldn’t be done within two weeks,” he said, according to union leader Joseph Tiendrebeogo, the AFP news agency reports.

Opposition leaders have not entirely ruled out a role for the military in the transition.

Col Zida was previously second in command of the presidential guard.