JOHN Mahama, was a former president of Ghana from July 24, 2012 to January 7, 2017. Born on November 29, 1958, Mahama is a politician, who had served as vice president of Ghana from January 2009 to July 2012, and took office as President on 24 July 2012, following the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills.
Mahama is a communication expert, historian, and writer. He was a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001. He is a member of the National Democratic Congress.
He is the first vice president in Ghana to take over the presidency due to the death of his principal. He is also the first head of state of Ghana to have been born after Ghana’s independence. Mahama was elected after December 2012 election to serve as fulltime President. contested for re-election for a second term in the 2016 election, but lost to the New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who he defeated in 2012. This made him the 1st President in the history of Ghana to not have won a second term bid.
Mahama has the record of being the only Ghanaian president, who has served at all levels of political office in Ghana.
Mahama is one of Africa’s most-followed leaders on the social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook. In May 2013, he stated that all of West Africa is under the threat of Islamist militancy.
On 30 March 2014, he was elected to preside over ECOWAS. On 26 June 2014, he was elected Chairperson of the African Union’s (AU’s) High-Level African Trade Committee (HATC).
On 21 January, 2016, on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mahama became co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates group, which consists of 17 eminent persons assisting the UN Secretary-General in the campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world leaders unanimously adopted in September 2015. With a mandate to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the SDG Advocates have been working to promote the universal sustainable development agenda, to raise awareness of the integrated nature of the SDGs, and to foster the engagement of new stakeholders in the implementation of these Goals.
In December 2016, he was part of part of the ECOWAS mediation team to resolve the post-election political impasse in The Gambia between the defeated incumbent, Yahya Jammeh and declared winner, Adam Barrow.
As a Member of Parliament, Mahama was first elected to the Parliament of Ghana in the 1996 elections to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term. In April 1997, Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. He was promoted to the post of Minister of Communications in November 1998, serving in that post until January 2001, when the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) handed over power to the New Patriotic Party’s government.
Mahama is still eyeing the Golden Jubilee House, Ghana’s seat of government as he will be contesting in the 2020 presidential election in Ghana as the flag-bearer of his party, the opposition NDC.
In this vintage exclusive interview with Realnews team, Mahama details why he is running for the highest office in Ghana and how he intend to redeem Ghana if elected. It is a must read. Excerpts.
Realnews: Why do you want to contest again as president of Ghana?
Mahama: My party has nominated me to be the flag bearer. Our constitution allows for two-term tenure in office. If you remember my predecessor passed away and so I served the remaining part of his term, which was for five months. And then I won the 2012 election and I served one term in office. So the constitution allows me to stand for another term. And my party called on me to stand again and they overwhelmingly endorsed me with 93.2 percent of the votes. Yes I’m in the race for 2020.
Realnews: What is it that you didn’t do previously that you will do if you win the election?
Mahama: Well, the constitution drafters signify two terms for a reason because you started a lot of things and a four-year gestation period is a bit short so often you are able to continue from where you left off in the first term. But I think that I’m the only president whom God has given the opportunity to have served and say look I could have done things in different way and put more emphasis on certain areas. I think I will be a better leader the next time than the first time because then you have accumulated that experience under your belt.
So there are a lot of things we are working on. I think we did very well in infrastructure. We went on road constructions, building hospitals, schools, water system, electricity, built a new terminal at the airport, we expanded the harbor and all that. For infrastructure, we have quite a solid record and I think that in my next administration, I will push more on people’s livelihood and see how we can boost entrepreneurship, increase the participation of Ghanaians in all sectors of the economy. If you look at our gross domestic product, GDP, our total sum of production, including foreign investments, and if you take gross national product and calculate exactly the contribution of Ghanaians in the economic activities, you will see that it is low. I think we must push that up.
I don’t know what the figure is currently, but it should be less than 30 percent. So giving Ghanaians more opportunity to be able to engage in the wealth of the country, is something that we will do. We did part of it in our first term. I passed the Local Content Law and the time we were leaving office, Ghanaians companies were handling contracts close to $2 billion. I’m sure that by now the percentage has increased. It allowed wealth from some of our natural resources to remain in our country and create wealth for our people.