News / Africa

Ghana President Sworn In Despite Election Challenge

Ghanaian President John Mahama is sworn-in by Chief Justice Georgina Wood (R) at Independence Square, Accra, January 7, 2013.
Ghanaian President John Mahama is sworn-in by Chief Justice Georgina Wood (R) at Independence Square, Accra, January 7, 2013.
John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as Ghana's president Monday, following last month’s disputed presidential and parliamentary polls.  However, members of the main opposition party boycotted the ceremony, saying the vote was stolen.

Mahama took the oath of office before regional heads of state, dignitaries and tens of thousands of citizens Monday, promising he would not let his country down.

“There is a torch that is passed from one era of Ghanaians to the next.  It is fragile and as irreplaceable as any family treasure," he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, that torch is now in our possession …It is doing our best that we can make Ghana its best… I will do my best, I will give of my best and I will ensure that my actions make a positive difference in the lives of Ghanaians.”

Mahama's election victory is being contested by the opposition New Patriotic Party, but Accra’s streets remained peaceful and thousands of Mahama supporters cheered and beat drums in support of their president.

Mahama supporter Joedordoe Kudjoe said he is positive Mahama won the election fairly.

"We know that we've won the elections, 100 percent, and we know we are happy," he said. " We want to come and celebrate it so that the whole Ghana, the whole world will know that surely we love the guy too much because he is a youth.''

The 54-year-old Mr. Mahama first took office in July following the death of former President John Atta Mills.  He won the December 7 poll with an absolute majority of 50.7 percent, beating his main challenger, Nana Akufo-Addo, by three percent, according to the electoral commission.

Mahama's National Democratic Congress party also won a majority of the 275 seats in parliament.

The new president has promised to continue the initiatives of his predecessor to bring better infrastructure, schools and hospitals to the people of Ghana.

Ghana has one of the fastest growing economies on the continent, driven in part by new revenue from vast oil reserves that were discovered off Ghana's shores in 2007.  Oil production began in 2010 and now tops more than 80,000 barrels per day.

The country has also been hailed as a model of democracy in the region.  Yet even here, democratic institutions are being tested.

The inaugural ceremony was boycotted by the New Patriotic Party, which says the electoral commission counted invalid votes.  International observers said the election was free and fair.

However, the party says their candidate, Akufo-Addo, was the real winner, and the party filed a petition in the Supreme Court late last month.   

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, a minority leader in Ghana’s parliament, said attending Monday's ceremony would signal approval of the results.

"Once you attend then as it were, it would be an endorsement to the declaration by the Electoral Commission and that is why we have decided not to go.  And the court matter, we believe, is a more civilized method than resorting to bows and arrows and guns and machetes as is happening in some African states," he said. "We believe in the role of law, let's due process resolve the case that we've taken to the Supreme Court.''

Analysts say a decision by the court will take at least several weeks.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid