The 2020 election just like all the elections in the fourth republican dispensation of Ghana is clearly a two-horse race between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
With just a few days to the election, there are some Ghanaians who do not know who to cast their votes for. Perhaps, they do not have a lot of info on the candidates – who they are and what they have to offer.
John Dramani Mahama in this instance is a villain and a hero based on his tenure as a president and his decision to come back to contest once more. Apart from his charisma and nice communication skills, there are so many things we need to learn about this politician.
In this article, I bring you 30 knowhows about John Mahama which does not in any way better or worsens his chances of winning at the December polls. A quick fact about Mahama is that he is one of the few politicians who has gone through all the political levels.
From an assemblyman to a presiding member to a Member of Parliament to a Deputy Minister to a Minister to a Vice-President to President and narrowly to a Former president who wants to be president again.
- Mahama was born on 29th November 1958 in Damongo in the Northern Region to a very wealthy political family.
- His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, a wealthy rice farmer and teacher, was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during the First Republic under Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.
- Mahama’s father also served as a senior presidential advisor during Ghana’s Third Republic under Dr Hilla Limann who was overthrown in 1981 by Jerry Rawlings.
- Mahama had his primary education at the Accra Newtown Experimental School (ANT1) and Achimota School before completing secondary school at Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern region).
- He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate diploma in communication studies in 1986. As a student, he was a member of Commonwealth Hall (Legon). He also studied at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow in the Soviet Union, specializing in social psychology; he obtained a postgraduate degree in 1988.
- After completing his undergraduate education, Mahama taught history at the secondary school level for a few years. Upon his return to Ghana after studying in Moscow, he worked as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra between 1991 and 1995.
- From there he moved to the anti-poverty non-governmental organisation (NGO) Plan International’s Ghana Country Office, where he worked as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager between 1995 and 1996.
- Mahama was first elected to the Parliament of Ghana in the 1996 elections to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term. Before then, he has served as an Assemblyman and Presiding member of his area.
- 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.
- In 2000, Mahama was re-elected for another four-year term as the Member of Parliament for the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. He was again re-elected in 2004 for a third term. From 2001 to 2004, Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications. 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. As an MP, he was a member of Standing Orders Committee as well as the Transport, Industry, Energy, Communications, Science and Technology Committee of Parliament.
- Mahama served as the Deputy Minister of Communications between April 1997 and November 1998. During his tenure as Minister of Communications, Mahama also served as the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, in which capacity he played a key role in stabilising Ghana’s telecommunications sector after it was deregulated in 1997.
- As a minister, he was 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).
- in 2003 Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus until 2011. He was also a member of European and Pan African Parliaments’ Ad hoc Committee on Cooperation. In 2005 he was, additionally, appointed the Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the UNDP Advisory Committee on Conflict Resolution in Ghana.
- On 7 January 2009, Mahama became the Vice-President of Ghana. He also served as the Chairman of the National Economic Management Team, the Armed Forces Council of Ghana, the Decentralisation and Implementation Committee and the Police Council of Ghana in this capacity.
- In line with Ghana’s constitution, Mahama became President of Ghana on 24 July 2012 on the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills. In July 2012, he became Ghana’s first president to have served at all levels of political office (Ghanaian and Pan-African MP, Deputy Minister, Minister, Vice-President and President).
- As a result of his elevation to the presidency, Mahama made political history by becoming the first Ghanaian head of state to have been born after Ghana declared independence on 6 March 1957.
- Mahama won the December 2012 general election with 50.70% of the total valid votes cast and a 3% winning margin beating his nearest rival, Nana Akufo-Addo of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, who polled a close 47.74%. This was just barely enough to win the presidency without the need for a runoff.
- After his investiture, the opposition New Patriotic Party led by its 2012 presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the party chairman Jacob Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, challenged the election results, alleging irregularities, malpractices, omissions and violations. The petition was heard by nine justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana. After eight months of hearing, the Court on 29 August 2013 dismissed the petition by a majority opinion.
- 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.
- His administration as president was plagued with the erratic supply of power which is popularly called ‘Dumsor’, economic troubles and corruption. However, he is considered as one of the few presidents who brought massive infrastructural developments to Ghanaians
- On 9 December 2016, Mahama was defeated by the main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, to whom he conceded defeat earlier that day. Mahama polled 44.4% of the valid votes cast compared to Akufo-Addo’s 53.5%.
- In December 2016, he was 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.
- Mahama got married to former first lady Lordina Mahama on 6th March 1963. A marriage that has produced five children: Shafik, Shahid, Sharaf, Jesse and Farida.
- Mahama, although he has a Muslim name, is a devout Christian who used to worship with the Presbyterian but had to switch to the Assemblies of God church after marriage. His family is multi-faith, consisting of Christians and Muslims
- Mahama is an astute writer and communicator whose essays have been featured in the Daily Graphic, Ebony, Huffington Post, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the New York Times and The Root. Additionally, he was a featured speaker at the TEDx Great Pacific Garbage Patch Conference in Santa Monica. Mahama is also a devotee of Afrobeat music, especially that of Fela Kuti.
- Mahama received an honorary doctorate in the field of Public Administration, from the Ekiti State University of Nigeria, formerly affiliated to the Obafemi Awolowo University in “recognition of his politico-socio economic development of Ghana and Africa at various stages of his political career. Later the same university passed a resolution to name its Faculty of Management Science after him.
- Mahama has also attended numerous conferences and won many fellowships, including a study as a visiting scholar at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States. He is also a Bill Gates Fellow. He was awarded the Great Cross of the National Order of Benin, the highest award in Benin, by President Yayi Boni. In February 2017, Mahama received the 2016 African Political Leader of the Year Award from the African Leadership Magazine in South Africa.
- Mahama is one of the most followed African politicians with over 5 million social media followers. He has nominated Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang as his running-mate as they contest in the December 7 polls.
Will Mahama win the December polls? The voters have the answer and that will be determined after December 7.