8 January 2013

Ghana: Now, the Fully-Fledged Mahama Presidency


Honourable John Dramani Mahama came of age yesterday. After five months of opposition-derided caretaker-ship of a dead man's presidency, he was sworn-in as the fourth President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, via the regular route prescribed by the 1992 Constitution - the winning of a competitive election.

In the full glare of Ghanaians from all the 10 regions, 13 African Heads of State, some vice-presidents and numerous official delegations from across the globe, Hon. Mahama swore before Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to "bear true allegiance to the Republic of Ghana as by law established, and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution", mindful of the consequences of failure.

The opportunity to aspire to the highest office of the land fell on Mahama's laps suddenly on July 24, 2012, when his boss and dully elected President of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, joined his ancestors at about 2pm.

Before midnight that day, he had been sworn into office by virtue of the constitutional provision that authorises the vice-president to assume power in such emergencies.

He was pushed further on the ladder towards power, when the National Executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party that sponsored he and his boss, nominated him to replace his boss as its presidential candidate for December 7, 2012 presidential election, which nomination was unanimously approved by an extra-ordinary congress of the party in Kumasi, barely three months to the election for which he was declared president-elect on December 9, 2012.

Because Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his opponent and presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the largest opposition party, rejected the final results declared by the Electoral Commission as having been wilfully doctored to their detriment and have filed a writ with the Supreme Court for their annulment, almost all NPP members officially boycotted Mahama's inauguration yesterday. The only exception was ex-President John Agyekum Kufour who insisted on behaving as a true statesman.

The Chronicle would like to welcome President John Dramani Mahama into the high office of President of the Republic of Ghana, no matter whether he lasts a few months or the full term of four years,we wish him a successful tenure, hoping that his reign would for long be remembered by the people who elected him as having been beneficial to them. We hope he would stand by his assurances to run and all-inclusive administration and co-operate with all and sundry and not be partisan.

The Chronicle also joins its voice to Dag Heward-Mills, the Presiding Bishop and founder of the Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI), who in a Christmas sermon listed all the promises that the then aspirant, President Mahama made on the campaign trail - 200 new community secondary schools, 10 new teacher training schools, free and compulsory basic education, the upgrading of seven polytechnics to degree awarding status, etc. - and urged him to fulfil them because he was elected based on those promises.

Views of Ghanaians in the regions who commented on yesterday's inauguration and published on other pages of this edition, also call on President Mahama to hit the ground running and fulfil his promises, since his caretaker period should have enabled him to know who and who are fit to help him execute his Better-Ghana Agenda.

On the new school buildings, we would like to recall for President Mahama an earlier editorial during the transitional period in which we called on him to keep an eagle-eye on the cost of construction.

It is alleged in opposition circles that while during the Kufour administration a six room classroom block was built for GH¢80,000 in the last four years the same type of building had been built at GH¢300,000 or thereabouts. It therefore appears to be no basis for such astronomical increase and we had requested the President to look into the matter.

Also we would like to see the Economic Management Team pulling some chestnuts out of the fire urgently. The near doubling of the exchange rate has impacted negatively on prices in the market and there is hardship and hunger in homes. It is not good as a columnist said that the true state of the nation should be in the marketplace.

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