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“I am so certain of our stability through this process that I extend a warm welcome to any individual or organization that would like to come and monitor our elections,” he said in an address to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Re recalled that Ghana had held five successful elections since 1992 resulted in the smooth transfer of power from one democratically chosen leader to another.
“When it comes to transparency in the electoral exercise, Ghana is, in fact, held up as an example of excellence,” he said.
President Mahama said the commitment to peace that I had pledged in the past and was pledging anew was in keeping with a longstanding tradition that Ghana has established domestically and internationally.
He said Ghana’s consistent championing of peace was neither accidental nor coincidental.
“Rather, it is by design and by determination. We have always recognized that peace is critical to development and to the overall improvement and enrichment of people’s lives.”
President Mahama said in the past two decades, Ghana’s position on peace had been tested again and again as the West African sub-region was ravaged by one civil war after another, but the country “held firm to that position and will continue to do so”.
The President said because Ghana wished to co-exist harmoniously with all of its neighbours, it was ever-conscious of the importance of peace when legislating policies.
“When offering asylum or a safe haven to refugees, we are ever-protective of our borders, making certain that political conflicts and ethnic tensions do not cross over onto our soil.”
He said the unfolding tensions in Cote d’Ivoire and Mali were of particular concern and pledged that Ghana would not allow its territory to be used to destabilize other nations.
“We will not be the storehouse of any resources or weapons that will be used to disrupt the peace and development of another nation. We will not harbour any individuals or groups whose intent is to utilize Ghana as a base of operation to undermine the safety and security of another nation.”
President Mahama said Ghana would work under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol and utilise whatever other tools of diplomacy at its our disposal to ensure that security is restored to Mali and Cote d’Ivoire and that they found a place alongside their fellow African countries in the continent’s forward march towards prosperity.
The President said Ghana had a strong belief in the universal declaration of human rights and therefore restated the country’s support for an independent, prosperous Palestinian state, co-existing peacefully with a free, stable Israeli state.
Ghana also reiterated its opposition to the continuous blockade on Cuba and called for an immediate lifting of the embargo.
President Mahama said the 21st century was fast being described as the century for Africa citing figures which stated that last year, of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, 6 were African.
“Ghana, my own country, posted one of the highest GDP growth rates, with a final outturn of 14 per cent. Foreign direct investment amounted to some 1.5 billion dollars in various sectors.”
President Mahama said this type of sustained growth, in combination with security and democracy can only ensure an Africa that will bear no resemblance to the ghost of its former self.
“An Africa where we create equal opportunities for women to realize their full potential, and where there is respect for the rights of all human beings.
“This new Africa will wean itself off of handouts and humanitarian relief. It will not continue to succumb to the corruption and oppression of despots. This new Africa will stand on the world stage as a mutual partner.”
President Mahama stressed that true partnership must be based on equality and said the current realities in the world called for greater inclusion to consolidate our common security and therefore informed Ghana’s stand for an expansion of the Security Council to admit more members in order to make a meaningful impact on the many challenges the world faced.
" World leaders joined thousands of Ghanaians on Friday for the funeral of President John Atta Mills, who came to symbolize Ghana's maturing democracy in a region long plagued by coups and disputed votes. Atta Mills, 68, came to power in 2009 after winning the closest election in the country's history. The peaceful transition of leadership after that vote was lauded as was the swift and orderly inauguration of the country's vice president last month following Atta Mills' death."- AP
John Dramani Mahama, who was sworn in as Ghana's president after the death of Mills, and his wife arrive Wednesday to parliament to pay their respects.
Former Ghanaian president John Kufuor arrives to pay respect to Mills at the parliament in Accra on Wednesday.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan also arrived Thursday to Ghana, one of the many heads of state attending the burial of Mills.
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN (R) WITH HIS GHANANIAN COUNTERPART, JOHN MAHAMA ON HIS ARRIVAL FOR THE BURIAL OF LATE PRESIDENT JOHN ATTAH MILLS ON THURSDAY NIGHT (9/8/12) credit: NAN
Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is escorted by Ghanaian foreign minister Muhammad Mumunis upon her arrival Thursday in Accra to attend the funeral.
Ghana has a new president, John Dramani Mahama, former vice president who was sworn in by Chief Justice Theodora Georgina Wood after the sudden death of President Atta Mills. President Mahama, the new Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces will complete late President Mills remaining term that will elapse after the fortcoming December election.
John Dramani Mahama was born in 29 November 1958. He is a writer, historian and activist, who was known for fighting for the underclass. He also devoted his time in championing the cause of environmental enlightenment and campaigning against environmental degradation brought by plastic litering and discarding in West Africa.
"He was Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012, and he took office as President on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor, President John Atta Mills.A communications expert, historian, and writer, he was a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009; he was also Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001.
He attended the Achimota Primary School and the University of Ghana, receiving a bachelor's degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate degree in communication studies in 1986. Following this, Mahama traveled to the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, Soviet Union for further studies," Wikipedia reported.
Recently he was in United States and Britain to promote his book 'My First Coup d'État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa.'
John Dramani Mahama (seated) being sworn in as President of Ghana
According to news report by AFP:
Mahama, according to a recently published memoir, grew up as a child of privilege. In the book, "My First Coup d'Etat -- And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa," he describes his experiences at an elite boarding school in the capital Accra, where he was drilled in the customs of Ghana's former colonial power, Britain.
"The history and prestige (of the Achimota boarding school) did not stop me from hating it," he wrote.
In the book's first chapter, he vividly recalls the day in 1966 when he learned Ghana's founding president Kwame Nkrumah was ousted in a military coup.
"When I look back on my life it's clear to me that this moment marked the awakening of my consciousness. It changed my life and influenced all the moments that followed," he wrote. His father, who served as junior minister in Nkrumah's government, was briefly detained and interrogated by the coup leaders.
Mahama described his journey around Accra, accompanied by an official from his school, in search of his father, who was later released unharmed.
John Mahama is a christian and a family man, who has been married to Lordina Mahama and blessed with seven children.
Mills was 68. The unexpected death of the leader of the world's No. 2 cocoa grower comes months before he was due to stand for re-election in December.
Ghana, also a major African gold producer, started pumping oil in 2010 and posted double-digit growth in 2011, burnishing its image as an increasingly attractive investment destination on the continent. It was praised for its healthy democracy.
"It is with a heavy heart ... that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana," a statement sent to Reuters by the president's office said.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama would be sworn in to replace Mills under Ghana's constitution, officials said.
The president's office said that Mills, who celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday, died a few hours after being taken ill, but no further details were given.
A presidential aide, who asked not to be named, said the president had complained of pains on Monday evening and died early on Tuesday afternoon when his condition worsened.
Mills had returned from medical checks in the United States a few weeks ago.
Ghana's election commission said December's presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned.
"The election calendar remains unchanged - it's purely a party matter," election chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told Reuters, explaining that it was up to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to find a candidate to replace Mills.
PRAISE FROM OBAMA
Trained as a lawyer and taxation expert, Mills had overseen Ghana's emergence as one of Africa's newest oil producers two years ago, winning plaudits both at home and abroad for his sound economic policies and commitment to democracy and good governance.
In March, U.S. President Barack Obama received the Ghanaian president in the Oval Office and praised him and his country as "a good-news story" in Africa.
Previous rumors about Mills's possible ill health had swirled in the last few weeks and he traveled last month to the United States for medical treatment.
On that occasion, he had joked with reporters on his departure from the capital Accra about rumors of his death, asking them: "Are you seeing a person who has died?"
Mills, who won a close-fought, two-round election in 2008 by beating off rival Nana Akufo-Addo of the then-ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), was preparing to bid for a second term in polls set for December, once again against arch-foe Akufo-Addo.
Mills and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party have had to manage high expectations among ordinary Ghanaians awaiting benefits from the country's oil production.
But he had always made a point of stressing the need for political stability in an often turbulent region - coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau this year have blotted the continent's advances in democracy and governance.
"We are going to ensure that there is peace before, during, after the (December) election, because when there is no peace, it's not the elitists who will suffer, it's the ordinary people who have elected us into office," Mills told Obama in March.
Neighbor Ivory Coast has not been so peaceful, suffering months of violence last year after a disputed election. Near-neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone suffered years of war.
Ghana has seen democratic elections decide its leadership no fewer than four times since the last military coup in 1981, a rare feat in a region where power is still just as often determined by the bullet as by the ballot.
Mills had served as vice-president to President Jerry Rawlings, a fiery former coup leader, who stood down in 2000 after two elected terms under the democratic constitution Rawlings himself had introduced.
Mills's 2008 victory was his third attempt at the presidency. He had lost twice to John Kufuor in elections in 2000 and 2004.
(Writing by David Lewis and Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Michael Roddy)
The FVPMAN chairman, Onitsha branch, Mr. Uzo Godson Nwosu who confirmed this development, said the decision became necessary following the position taken by their Ghanaian counterparts who have banned the distribution of Nigerian films in their country long time ago.
According to him “starting from the first week of August, no Ghanaian film will be allowed to enter the Nigerian market again. We have resolved that no Ghanaian film will be distributed within our controlled market. Our Ghanaian counterparts have long stopped distributing our films in their country, and given this development, we have no choice than to reciprocate the gesture.”
Nwosu who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Guinks Investment said any of their members who failed to compile with this new order will either be prosecuted or have his goods confiscated by the association.
The marketer said the association is finalising plans to storm Ghana any moment from now, particularly to confront those local television stations who are illegally airing Nigerian films without obtaining permission from the right owners.
Pete Edochie, Nollywood movie star
Also, given the problem associated with “second tier market”(where a producer is compelled to observe a three-month grace before releasing his film into the market in a large quality), Nwosu said the association has decided to reversed the trend.
Film owners, according to him, are now free to release their films into the market without necessarily observing the mandatory three months grace before doing so.
They will also be required to obtain censors’ board and copy right commission’s documents in addition to registering the film with the sum of N10,000 with the FVPMAN.
“In order to move the association forward, we have resolved to address the problem of second tier market.” FVPMAN boss further stated.
ACCRA, Ghana (MarketWatch) — In a light blue, three-story concrete house in the suburbs of Ghana’s capital, young entrepreneurs are developing online applications they hope will make them into the Mark Zuckerbergs of Africa.
They spend long days and nights coding, strategizing and preparing to launch new software companies in an environment where competition is becoming stiffer and more Ghanaians are striving to create Web-based offerings they dream might become the next Facebook.
These entrepreneurs are the top graduates of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, an academy at the center of one of the highest-profile efforts to boost software development in sub-Saharan Africa. At the school’s incubator, as well as in other classrooms and informal gatherings around the country, a burgeoning number of tech-savvy people are charting the future of the Web in Africa and hoping to influence the world’s online ecosystem. But they face high hurdles in a continent with low Internet penetration and poor infrastructure, as well as scant progress in literacy.
MEST, set up in 2008 by Jorn Lyseggen, a Norwegian tech entrepreneur and chief executive of the Meltwater Group, graduated its first 20 students in 2010 and 20 more last year. At the light-blue incubator next door, graduates are using seed funding of between $30,000 and $200,000 to develop software businesses that will reach both Ghanaian and global markets.
“What we are trying to do is create a demonstration effect through companies and illustrate that software is a medium to achieve great things,” said Michael Szymanski, MEST’s director of business development.
Transparency and probity to avoid oil curse
As President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills turned the wheel to officially lunched Ghana into the family of African oil producers, Ghanaian at home and abroad were overwhelmed with joy. Ghanaian friends, well wishers and oil companies were elated. It was a day that will be etched in the annals of the country’s history.
President John Evans Atta Mills joined with other former presidents of Ghana - Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor together with other dignitaries were on the board of the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Kwame Nkrumah vessel. On the vessel, President John Evans Atta promised his country men and women that they will not be victim of oil curse but rather oil will be a blessing to develop their country.
On the former presidents of Ghana, President Mills gave great compliments on their vision and fortitude on making oil search and discovery possible. On Jerry Rawlings, he said, "oil exploration was greatly intensified and requisite infrastructure and legislation were put in place," while on John Kufuor, President Mills continued, "It was during his stewardship that oil was struck in commercial quantity."
The former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings receiving Afripol Achievement Award from Afripol's Emeka Chiakwelu.
Tullow Oil, an exploration firm in 2007 made the crude oil discovery at Jubilee Field and Kosmos Energy confirmed the discovery at Odum-2 appraisal well offshore Ghana . Both Tullow and Kosmos Energy are stakeholders of the oil wells at 22.8 and 30.8 per cent respectively. The well is about 4km northeast of the Odum-1 well, which lies approximately 18km east of Kosmos' Mahogany-1 exploration well and the Jubilee oil field.
“It marks a three-year journey which began with the announcement in June 2007 that crude had been discovered in commercial quantities offshore. The Jubilee Field is estimated to hold 1.8 billion barrels of crude, but there have since been other discoveries which would boost the reserves significantly once appraisal works are completed.”
“The well has encountered a gross reservoir interval of 153 metres containing 32 metres of net hydrocarbon pay in stacked reservoir sandstones, comprising a 17 metre oil bearing zone below a 15 metre gas-condensate bearing zone. A combined hydrocarbon column of at least 350 metres has been established between the lowest known oil in Tweneboa-2 and the top of the gas-condensate at Tweneboa-1, demonstrating this is a highly prospective and extensive turbidite fan system “
Ghana will generate up to 40-50 percent of its foreign revenues from the export of crude oil. Ghana is anticipated to drill 55,000 barrels of oil a day, increasing to 120,000 by next year
When oil was discovered in Ghana, the former president of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor proclaimed that “Ghana will fly” with the discovery and subsequent oil production. Kufuor implied that with the new found oil wealth, Ghana will develop and make life better for its citizen. Without being pessimistic, friends of Ghana desire greatly for Ghana to succeed and to show to the whole world that Africans can also be good managers of oil wealth. Many nations including Norway, Britain and other oil producing nations do not have monopoly on sound oil management and accountability, Ghana can do it too.
But it is easier to point fingers to other African oil producing countries, principally Nigeria and Angola, calling them corrupt and insincere for mismanaging their oil wealth. Without doubt these two largest oil producing nations were vulnerable due to paucity of strategic planning and lethargy. The resources they generated from oil exports were not prudently managed and invested for the greater good of their respective countries. Ghana can do better and prove to the world that Ghana can avert the so-called oil curse.
Ghana must be precautious, careful and not overconfidence. No country chooses to be corrupt, but when they failed to set up the civil and social infrastructures to curb and control corruption they may end up become a victim of corruption and lassitude.
Ghana needs strategic planning, transparency and accountability to avoid making the mistakes that comes with steady flow of revenues from oil export. Ghana does not necessarily need perfect individuals to manage their oil wealth but laws, social and civil infrastructures rooted in transparency and accountability to avoid mismanagement.
Transparency and open book
By this the Ghana National Oil company and the government will not hide anything from their citizens. No gimmicks and tricks in the name of national security to keep away the eyes of the people from not knowing the daily transactions by classifying records, data and in formations. The government should allow the people to have access to the information. The government can set up a website that shows the records of daily amount of crude lifted and total revenues derived from daily transactions.
The government of Ghana with the approval of the House of the legislature will nominate intelligent men and women from all walks of life from market women to seasoned business individuals and bureaucrats. These people will be empowered to come up with ideas on how to invest and utilize the oil wealth. The recommendations they give will be approved by the national House and signed into law by the president.
Legislation against corruption
Ghana does not need saints and perfect individuals to run the oil wealth. Ghana needs strong and implementable laws on the book to checkmate corruption and increase accountability. The laws must be enforceable which become check and balance on the system. The laws must have teeth and no individuals will be above the law. A law is necessary to prohibit kick backs and bribery from oil companies and transnational corporations.
Active and probing media
Local media in Ghana and Africa must rise to the challenge and report news without seeking approval from the ‘big’ men of Ghana. The media must be willing to go the extra mile with investigative journalism and keep the people fully informed with the latest developments. Media is the peoples’ last resort to know what the governing class is up to and when the media fails to do the job, it spells a bad omen to a nation.
Sovereign fund and Economic diversification
Ghana may eventually decide to open a sovereign fund to enable the country to invest in international markets with high appreciative returns. The strategic planners will run the fund together with country’s president and the finance minister of Ghana.
Economic diversification is necessary for economic growth and stability. Ghana will not want to suffer the fate of many oil producing countries that focus only on oil at the expense of other sectors of the economy. This is the time for Ghana to invest in agriculture and social infrastructures that will enable the country ‘to fly’ and soars without falling down.
Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.