Former President John Dramani Mahama turned 60 years today November 29, 2018.
John Mahama was a vice president under the Mills administration but took over as president when Mill passed on in 2012.
He contested for the presidency on the ticket of the NDC and won in 2012 but lasted only a term as the NPP and President Akufo-Addo took over in 2016.
He is currently vying to become the flagbearer of the NDC ahead of the 2020 general elections.
John Dramani Mahama (born 29 November 1958) is a Ghanaian politician who served as President of Ghana from 24 July 2012 to 7 January 2017.
He previously served as Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 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.
Mahama is the first vice president to have ascended to the presidency due to the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills and is the first head of state of Ghana to have been born after Ghana’s independence. He was elected to serve a full term as President in the December 2012 election.
He contested re-election for a second term in the 2016 election but was defeated in the first round by New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, whom he had defeated four years prior. This makes him the first president in the history of Ghana to not have won a second term.
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. In 1993, he participated in a professional training course for Overseas Public Relations Staff, organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo.
He also participated in a management development course organized by Plan International (RESA) in Nairobi, Kenya.
As 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.
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.
As Minister and Vice-President
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).
Continuing to expand his interest and involvement in international affairs, 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 the 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). He said in parliament upon being sworn in:
This is the saddest day in our nation’s history. Tears have engulfed our nation and we are deeply saddened and distraught and I’m personally devastated, I’ve lost a father, I’ve lost a friend, I’ve lost a mentor and a senior comrade. Ghana is united in grief at this time for our departed 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’s declaration of independence on 6 March 1957.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) held a Special National Delegates Congress on 30 August 2012 and endorsed President John Dramani Mahama as its 2012 presidential candidate. President Mahama, the sole candidate of the party, polled 2, 767 votes, representing 99.5% of total votes cast, to pick the slot for the party.
Mahama has stated that his administration is deeply committed to continuing the Better Ghana Agenda started under President Mills.
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.
In addition, Mahama won the majority of valid votes cast in eight out of Ghana’s ten administrative regions. Thirteen African Heads of State, one Prime Minister, two Vice-Presidents and 18 government delegations across the world attended his inaugural ceremony at the Black Star Square in Accra on 7 January 2013, when Mahama was sworn-in to begin his own four-year term.
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.
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.
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 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.
Personal life and interests Mahama is married to Lordina Mahama (née Effah, 6 March 1963). Mahama has five children named Shafik, Shahid, Sharaf, Jesse and Farida. He is a Christian, born and raised a Presbyterian but is now a member of the Assemblies of God, Ghana by marriage.
His family is multi-faith, consisting of Christians and Muslims.
Being a staunch campaigner for sustainability, he has a keen interest in environmental affairs, particularly the problem of single-use plastic waste pollution in Africa, which he committed himself to addressing during his tenure as Vice President.
Over the course of his career, Mahama has written for several newspapers and other publications both locally and internationally. As a Parliamentarian, Mahama wrote Mahama’s Hammer, a semi-regular column in a Ghanaian newspaper. His essays have also been published 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.
Apart from his hobby of reading, Mahama also has a passionate interest in innovation particularly the use of technology in agriculture being a farmer himself.
In particular, he is interested in finding the most effective ways to improve agricultural productivity and works to encourage more young people to see farming as a viable business and not a subsistence activity.
This has translated into his passion to see the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) create new opportunities for people living in the Savanna areas of the country, which includes the three Northern Regions, and the Volta Region.
Even on official assignments outside of country, Mahama likes to take advantage of opportunities to visit agricultural establishments and update himself on current trends and developments. He also takes keen interest in the opportunities for simplifying and making tasks easier with the use of information and communications technology, and considers the ICT industry one of the sectors that can play a significant role in economic transformation and job creation.
He’s an avid fan of motor biking and owns about 5 of them.