News / Africa

    Ghana President Mahama Seeks to Improve Citizens' Lives

    Peter Clottey
    Ghana’s newly installed president, John Dramani Mahama, says his vision for the country is to improve the lives of citizens and to create an environment that ensures a constitutionally-stable democratic nation.

    “Ghanaians want a stable, democratic country constitutionally governed under the rule of law, but at the same time we want to create a country where our people can live in decency and dignity - a country where our mothers are not dying in the process of giving birth, our country where our children are not dying prematurely from malaria, a country where young people can grow up in a moral environment and be proud that they are Ghanaian,” President Mahama said in an exclusive interview with VOA. 

    But the opposition New Patriotic Party has accused Mahama and the ruling National Democratic Congress of being incapable of resolving what the party describes as the poor state of the country’s economy. At a news conference Tuesday, the opposition party said the newly installed president is to blame for what it said are the economic hardships Ghanaians are currently undergoing.

    But, in the exclusive, President Mahama acknowledges the challenges he faces in trying to unite the country following the death of the late president, John Evans Atta-Mills, and as the country prepares for the December general elections.

    “There’s still work to do especially to insure that the business of government continues to run smoothly even as we engage in competitive politics … is a challenge that one has to acknowledge,” said Mahama. “I think that the institutions of state are quite ready to be able to carry out the business and I think in death Professor Atta-Mills has brought a certain opportunity to run the country together let us understand that we have one nation with a common destiny and that even in the political arena there is space enough to be competitive but do it in a way that doesn’t tarnish our reputation.” 

    Mahama said he was fortunate to have understudied the late President Atta-Mills, who he said, outlined a vision of making Ghana a better place.

    “My luck is that I served as vice president to a president who had outlined a vision of making Ghana a better place and I owe it to his memory to continue the achievement of that vision. I think what it’s taught me is that in attaining a better Ghana it must be a vision the whole country shares,” he said.

    Mahama was sworn as president hours after the country’s leader was pronounced dead at the 37 Military Hospital in the capital, Accra, on July 24.  He will finish out the five remaining months of the late leader’s term.

    Analysts say the government's adherence to constitutional protocols in the hours following Atta-Mills’ passing has won the nation praise, both at home and abroad, and bodes well for the December elections.

    Mahama talked about events leading up to his swearing in following the death of  Atta-Mills.

    “The attorney general came and they called the speaker of parliament and they took the constitution and the attorney general gave an interpretation of the constitution and determined that my swearing in would take place that day,” Mahama said.

    “The speaker had to go back to her office and summon parliament, which had adjourned at that time and so she re-summoned parliament for six o’clock that evening,” he said. “I would’ve wished we could’ve waited because I was worried how I was going to compose myself to go through the swearing in ceremony. But God strengthened me and somehow we went through the process, but I must say even in that tragic circumstance what happened that day has raised the image of Ghana in the eyes of the world.”

    Mahama said the transfer of power was smooth thanks to Ghana's solid constitution and mature democracy.  He said after a long period of instability and coup d’états, the 1992 constitution enabled five successful elections in his country and made it impossible to roll back democracy.

    “Our 1992 constitution was written in a very consensual way by people from all walks of life in our country and they must have anticipated a lot of things,” he said. “And so it’s a very good constitution, very well written. It is clear and where we have uncertainties about parts of it, the Supreme Court determines and we all abide by it. 

    “But I think its Ghana’s collective experience, along its historical road for the last 54 years that has brought us to this point where we have such a stable democratic process," he said.

    Mahama added that in Ghana today, and in much of Africa, there are strong civil society organizations, religious and traditional groups and leaders, as well as pressure groups, that all have a vision of how they want to live. 

    He said the age of the authoritarian head of state on the continent is past, noting that 24 African nations held elections in the past year and a half. This was not the case in the 1970s, he said, when there were no elections because most African states were military dictatorships. 

    Mahama will run for president in the December elections.  He says the competition will be strong, not because Ghanaians have different visions for their future, but because they have different ideas about how to achieve the same goal.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.