Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo has been sworn in as President of the 4th Republic of Ghana today, 7th January 2016.
Taking the presidential oath of office and oath of allegiance, Nana Akufo Addo said : “I Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, having been elected to the high office of President of the Republic of Ghana do (in the name of the Almighty God swear) (solemnly affirm) that I will be faithful and true to the Republic of Ghana; that I will at all times preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; and that I dedicate myself to the service and well-being of the people of the Republic of Ghana and to do right to all manner of persons.
“I further (solemnly swear) (solemnly affirm) that should I at any time break this oath of office I shall submit myself to the laws of the Republic of Ghana and suffer the penalty for it. (So help me God).
Clad in in a fine woven multi-coloured kente cloth at the swearing-in ceremony, The New Patriotic Party (NPP) leader takes over from the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, who served just one term. Akufo-Addo thwarted John Mahama’s plan of serving a second term beating him to secure 53.85% of the total valid votes cast, against Mahama’s 44.4%.
Akufo-Addo’s victory was described as historic in many ways, as it was the first time a sitting President was beaten in an election, and also the first time a total vote difference of more than 1 million was recorded, between the winner and his closest opponent in an election in Ghana. Many analysts who sought to explain Akufo-Addo’s victory attributed it to factors that include the general trend of public disaffection for sitting governments that have served 8 years in government, impunity and the perception of massive corruption in the NDC government among other things. 72-year-old Akufo-Addo, a lawyer, had earlier made two unsuccessful attempts at the presidency. He contested the NDC’s John Evans Atta-Mills in 2008 but lost. He again failed on his second attempt in 2012 against the NDC’s candidate John Mahama.
The NPP’s conviction that, the NDC rigged the election forced it to file a motion at the Supreme Court to challenge the results of the elections. An 8-month-long legal tussle over the matter, eventually saw the Supreme Court upholding the election results declared by the Electoral Commission in favour of the NDC.
This however led to some reforms in Ghana’s electoral laws. While on the campaign trail for the 2016 elections, Nana Addo announced policies that include setting up a factory in every district, building a dam in every village of the three Northern Regions, and providing a Ghc 1million development fund for every constituency, as some of the things he will do when he comes to power. He also pledged to reintroduce the payment of monthly allowance to nursing and teacher trainees in the country – something the NDC government stopped doing because it said it wanted to invest the money into educational infrastructure to enable it admit more trainees. Although Akufo-Addo has not explicitly given timelines to his pledges and policies, most Ghanaians are highly expectant of moves to implement them especially in his first year.