Ghana: Profile of Ghana's Fourth President John Dramani Mahama

John Dramani Mahama was this morning sworn-in at the Independence Square in Accra and incidentally is also the fourth "John," to ascend the high office of the President.

He ascended to the high office of President following the death of the incumbent President John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday, July 24 in Accra.

President John Mahama was born on November 29, 1958 at Damongo, in the Northern Region of Ghana, is a communications expert, historian, and writer, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State, and immediate former Vice-President of Ghana.

President Mahama's father, Mr. Emmanuel Adama Mahama was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during Ghana's First Republic.

After completing his education, President Mahama went on to pursue an additional postgraduate diploma in social psychology at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, and returned to Ghana from 1991 to 1996. He worked as Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra.

He moved on to work with PLAN International, Ghana, as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager.

An eloquent champion of the underprivileged, President 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, President Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. He rose to become the substantive Minister of Communications by November 1998; it was a position he held until January 2001 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was then the ruling party, handed over power to the newly elected New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration when the NDC lost the December 2000 elections.

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

From 2001 to 2004, President Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications and 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, President 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.

President 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 President Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus.

In 2005 he was, additionally, appointed the Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He served in these capacities until 2008, when he was handpicked to become the running-mate to the then NDC presidential candidate, Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

President Mahama loves to read. He is also an avid writer and has had numerous articles published nationally and internationally. His first book, "My First Coup d'état and Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa", was published by Bloomsbury on July 3, 2012.

President Mahama was declared winner of the December 2012 election where he polled 5,574,761 representing 50.70 per cent on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as against his close contender, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who had 5,248,898 of the valid votes cast, representing 47.74 per cent.

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