1 December 2012

Ghana: Profile of Presidential Candidates

As Ghanaians prepare to elect yet another President on December 7 2012, eight Presidential candidates have been endorsed by the Electoral Commission (EC). Among these candidates is the incumbent President, President John Dramani Mahama and an independent candidate. Below are the profiles of the candidates:

JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA

John Dramani Mahama, current President of the Republic of Ghana was born 29 November 1958. He is a communication expert, historian and writer, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State.

John Mahama ascended to the Office of President after the untimely demise of the late President, His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills on the 24th of July 2012. President Mahama had previously served as the Vice President, and on the passing of President Mills took over the reins of Government and led the country to bid a befitting farewell to the former president.

Mr. Mahama was first elected to the Parliament of Ghana in 1996 to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term.

In April 1997, Mr. Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. He rose to become the substantive Minister of Communications by November 1998, a position he held until January 2001 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was then the ruling party, handed over power to the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

In 2000, Mr. Mahama was re-elected for another four-year term as the Member of Parliament for the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. He was again re-elected in 2004 for a third term.

From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications. In 2002, he was appointed the Director of Communications for the NDC. That same year, he served as a member of the team of international observers selected to monitor Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Elections.

During his tenure as Minister of Communications, Mr. Mahama also served as the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, in which capacity he played a key role in stabilizing Ghana's telecommunications sector after it was deregulated in 1997.

Mr. Mahama also served as a member of the National Economic Management Team, a founding member of the Ghana AIDS Commission, a member of the implementation committee of the 2000 National Population Census, and a deputy chairman of the Publicity Committee for the re-introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT).

Continuing to expand his interest and involvement in international affairs, in 2003 Mr. Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus.

In 2005, he was appointed the Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He served in these capacities until 2008, when he was handpicked to become the vice presidential candidate.

Presently, the President is on a nationwide tour seeking the mandate of the good of Ghana to continue with the better Ghana Agenda in order to create jobs, stability and development.

DR. HENRY LARTEY

Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey, who occupies the second place on the ballot paper, is the Flag bearer of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), a champion for the economic improvement of the people of Ghana, and an inspired Pan-Africanist and visionary with hopes for a United Africa.

Since becoming leader of the G.C.P.P., Dr. Lartey has travelled across Ghana, listening to the stories and the experiences of the people, talking to them about their hopes, dreams and expectations for the future.

Dr. Lartey was raised in a politically active household. He is the Eldest son of the late Dan Lartey, who was founder and leader of the Great Consolidated Popular Party.

His father was not only a veteran Pan-Africanist but also the exponent of Ghana Industrialisation, and the propounder of the concept of DOMESTICATION; his father was also the main architect of the OPERATION FEED YOUSELF during the General I.K.Acheampong regime (1972-1978). His mother, Ms. Sarah Rosetta Lartey (nee Malm), has always been a strong community female activist and advocate for the DOMESTICATION ideas espoused by her husband.

Dr. Lartey reinvested the full of his foreign earnings to assist in the funding of his father's political career. He did this with the hope for a political change at home, the manifestation of democratic principles, and for the fight of economic improvement for the people of Ghana.

NANA ADDO DANKWAH AKUFO-ADDO (NPP)

The New Patriotic Party's flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is third on the ballot paper. He was born on March 29, 1944 and has served as a Foreign Minister of Ghana from April 2003 to July 2007.

He resigned along with seven others to seek the presidential nomination of his party. Nana Akufo Addo trained as a lawyer in England and was called to the English Bar in July 1971 as well as the Ghanaian Bar in July 1975.

He became the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from 2001 to 2003.

Akufo-Addo was one of the founding members of the New Patriotic Party - in 1992, and was also the founder and first chairperson of the Ghana Committee on Human and People's Rights.

He worked as an associate counsel with the Coudert Freres in France between 1971 and 1975. He also worked as a junior partner at the law firm of U.V. Campbell. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Company in Accra.

Nana Akufo-Addo has served on the boards and committees of a number of political, legal and social organizations in the country. He is also the Chairperson of DHL, Ghana Limited; Chairperson, Kinesec Communications Company Limited, publishers of the Statesman.

Nana Akufo-Addo is on a nationwide tour seeking the mandate of the good of Ghana to enable him implement his free SHS education policy.

DR. PAPA KWESI NDUOM OF THE PPP

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, fourth on the ballot on paper, is a well-known name in the Yorke family. The Yorke family can be found in many towns and villages in Ghana particularly in Elmina, Tarkwa and Gomoa Dago. He was born on February 15, 1953. Nduom is a business consultant and politician. He is the Progressive People's Party's Presidential candidate for the December 2012 election.

In 1966, he entered St. Augustine's College, Cape Coast. In 1970, he won an American Field Service scholarship and spent one year with an American family in Cokato, Minnesota.

He returned to St. Augustine's to complete Sixth Form education from 1971 to 1973. In Sixth Form, he won the prize as the best - student. He obtained an MS in Management from the School of Business and a Ph.D. in Service Delivery Systems (USI Program) all from the University of Wisconsin.

He served as a Member of Parliament for the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem constituency and a minister of state in various portfolios in the former President Kufuor's government between 2001 and 2007.

Nduom started work as a life insurance underwriter with the North Western Mutual Life Insurance Company between 1975 and 1978. Over the next year, he worked with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

In 1979, he joined the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District as a Budget and Management Analyst. In 1981, he joined Deloitte and Touche as an associate consultant, rising to become a partner in the Milwaukee office of the firm by 1986. In 1992, he helped establish the Deloitte & Touche, West Africa Consulting.

He served as a board member for Fan Milk Ghana Limited, Edinaman Secondary School and the Ghana Heritage and Conservation Trust.

Currently Dr. Nduom is on a nationwide tour seeking the mandate of the good of Ghana for a competent leadership and the provision of jobs.

AKWASI ADDAI

48 year old Akwasi Addai, fifth on the ballot paper is the Presidential Candidate of the United Front Party (UFP), is a Christian by faith and a renowned businessman based in the Ashanti Region.

He entered the presidential race with an 'O' level certificate obtained from the Aduman Secondary school in the Ashanti Regions.

Born on 13th September 1964, he is counted as one of the youngest aspirants vying for the presidency in the 2012 elections.

He is Chief Executive Officer of Odike Ventures.

HASSAN AYARIGA

Hassan Ayariga, sixth on the ballot paper has a record of leadership and experience in business that embodies a firm passion and pledge to service. Hassan was born on 4th September 1971 in Bawku in the Upper East Region of Ghana. He beat political veteran Dr Edward Mahama for the 2012 presidential candidate of the People's National Convention (PNC).

Hassan grew up partly in Accra and Bawku before settling in Nigeria when his parents went into exile after the Limann Administration was ousted.

He attended Ghana Secondary School before moving to Nigeria where he attended Barewa College in Zaria, where he studied ACCA and then to the London School of Accountancy.

He worked in Germany as Quality Control manager at Peter Huppertz Ford motors in Germany for 10 years before going into business. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Hassan Ayariga & Co. Haulage Company, which deal in trucks for infrastructural development and owns Hallo Pizza restaurant in Accra.

Born into the Nkrumah-Egala-Limann tradition, he served as the PNC chairman for Europe; while in Köln, Germany in 2003. In 2004, he contested the national Vice Chairmanship of the PNC but later withdrew from the contest to support Hon. John Ndebugri.

Hassan joined the PNC in 2002 and in ten years has risen to the status of flag bearer. Hassan Ayariga interest to become the party flag bearer started when he was first elected the PNC chairman for Europe.

His deep seated desire to see Ghanaians prosper led him to his current position. It was also meant to effect dramatic change in the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian.

Hassan Ayariga has played a pivotal role in the PNC over the years. He believes that it is high time Ghanaian and African leaders started working to transform the lives of Ghanaians and Africans in general and says he is determined to see the PNC take the helm of affairs in Ghana.

He believes that the PNC has a proven track record of leadership in this country as exhibited by Dr.Hila Limann. His opinion is that Ghanaians must change position and take their destiny into their own hands, by empowering the young people to take up leadership positions and roles to restore Ghana's hope and confidence. He believes this can only happen if the PNC is given the chance to rule.

Currently Hassan Ayariga is on a campaign tour on the pedals of the PNC to ask for the mandate of the people of Ghana for an inspiring leadership and rapid development.

DR.MICHAEL ABU SAKARA FOSTER

Contesting on the ticket of the Convention People's Party is 52 year old Dr. Michael Abu Sakara Foster, seventh on the ballot paper, he is popularly known as Dr. Abu Sakara, an agronomist. He completed His PhD at 27 years old and took up appointments in Southern, Eastern, Central and West Africa consecutively.

Dr. Sakara's experience includes technical, managerial and policy roles over a twenty five year career, with postings to Central America (Mexico), Southern Africa (Zambia), Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Uganda) and West Africa (Nigeria).

He has also visited more than 30 countries on the five continents in his professional capacity on a range of projects and programs.

Dr. Sakara is committed to rebuilding the CPP to provide Ghanaians with an alternative choice to the two dominant parties. This will hopefully free the country from the antagonism between the two major parties which seem to be mired in the politics of acrimony to the detriment of the country.

Abu Sakara's current and past efforts are firmly rooted in the belief that Ghana's democracy will benefit from a process that depolarizes the political landscape to produce a more mature constructive opposition that emerges an alternative third force in Government.

He has supported parliamentarians in four constituencies in northern Ghana since 1996 and participated in two election campaigns. He has also been an active member of the Patriots whose efforts were aimed at rebuilding CPP.

Dr. Sakara contested in the 2007 congress and won a position as the first National Vice Chairperson of the CPP.

He speaks six languages. He is fluent in Gonja, Hausa and Swahili and conversant with Twi. His working languages are English and Spanish. Dr. Sakara has engaged with several international organizations and was the World Bank Liaison person for his last employers, the Nippon Foundation.

Dr. Sakara believes that, it is his generation's turn to take on the mantle of responsibility to move the vision of the founding fathers from political liberation to achieve economic emancipation.

JACOB OSEI YEBOAH (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE)

Last but not least is Jacob Osei Yeboah, the only independent candidate contesting in the Presidential race is the founder for Mpontuo Mining in 2010, a small scale mining and consulting services for small scale miners (galamsey) with the view to providing technology and financial assistance to the industry so as to mine gold safely without environmental degradation and mercury pollution.

Jacob co-founded United Movement for Change (UMC) in April 2010, an Association to bring about real change in Ghana, sensing the dangers pose by Political Parties to lives, properties and businesses.

He was awarded by the Lay Movement of the Methodist Church, Ghana, in 2009 during the laity 60th Anniversary for his sterling leadership to the Youth and again was awarded by the Accra Diocese of the Methodist Church in 2009 during the Diocese's 60th Anniversary for exceptional leadership and contribution to the Diocese.

Jacob was the National President for the Ghana Methodist Student Union (GHAMSU) from 1991-93, a period where the Methodist Church experienced unprecedented shakeup and a foundation for transformation.

Jacob Osei Yeboah (JOY2012) is motivated by what John Ruskin, an art critic, a social thinker, poet and artist once said:

"Therefore , when we build, let us think that we build forever, let it not be for the present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendant will thank us for, and let us think as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come, when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them. And that man will say as they look upon our labour and wrought substance of them. See! This our fathers did for us."

Stay with AEP before, during and after the elections to get regular updates on Ghanaelections and Africanelections on twitter and on facebook for updates on the December 7 elections.

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