​Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh_Life Bio



2nd President of The Gambia

Incumbent

Assumed office

22 July 1994

Vice President

Isatou Njie-Saidy

Preceded by

Dawda Jawara

Succeeded by

Adama Barrow (Elect)

Personal details

Born Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jammeh

25 May 1965 (age 51)

Kanilai , Gambia

Political party

Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction

Spouse(s) Zeinab Soumah

Alima Sallah (possibly divorced) [1][2]

Children 2

Alma mater Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

Religion Sunni Islam

Military service

Allegiance Gambia

Service/branch

Gambian National Army

Years of service

1984–1996

Rank Colonel

Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh (born 25 May 1965)[3] is the outgoing President of the Gambia. As a young army officer, he took power in a 1994 military coup .

He was elected as President in 1996 ; he was re-elected in 2001 , 2006, and

2011 . He was defeated by Adama Barrow in the 2016 election . [4] Although he initially conceded defeat, on 9 December 2016, he rejected the result citing “unacceptable abnormalities”. [5] He subsequently announced he had annulled the result, pending a new vote. [6] He then filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the Gambia to contest the result. [7]

Biography

President Jammeh joined the Gambian National Army in 1984, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1989, [8] and in August 1992 became commanding officer of the Military Police of Yundum Barracks. [9] He received extensive military training in neighboring Senegal, [10] and military police training at Fort McClellan ,

Alabama. [11]

Rise to power

On 22 July 1994, Lt. Yahya Jammeh with a group of young officers in the Gambian National Army seized power from President Sir Dawda Jawara in a military coup by taking control of key facilities in the capital city, Banjul .[12] The coup took place without bloodshed and met with very little resistance. [12] The group identified itself as the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), with the 29-year-old Jammeh as its chairman. [12]

The AFPRC then suspended the constitution, sealed the borders, and implemented a curfew. While Jammeh’s new government justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, army personnel had also been dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions, and prospects for promotion. [12]

Elections

Jammeh founded the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction as his political party. He was elected as president in September 1996. [13] Foreign observers did not deem these elections free and fair.[13] He was re-elected on 18 October 2001 with about 53% of the vote; this election was generally deemed free and fair by observers, [14] despite some very serious shortcomings ranging from overt government intimidation of voters to technical innovations (such as raising the required deposit to stand for election by a factor of 25) to distort the process in favour of the incumbent regime. [15]

A coup attempt against Jammeh was reported to have been thwarted on 21 March 2006; Jammeh, who was in

Mauritania at the time, quickly returned home. Army chief of staff Col. Ndure Cham, the alleged leader of the plot, [16] reportedly fled to neighboring

Senegal, while other alleged conspirators were arrested [17] and were put on trial for treason.[18] In April 2007, ten former officers accused of involvement were convicted and given prison sentences; four of them were sentenced to life in prison. [19]

Jammeh ran for a third term in the

presidential election held on 22 September 2006; the election was initially planned for October but was moved forward because of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. [20] He was re-elected with 67.3% of the vote and was declared the winner of the election; the opposition candidate

Ousainou Darboe finished second, as in 2001. [21]

In November 2011, Jammeh was again re-elected as president for a fourth term in office, reportedly having received 72% of the popular vote.

Ahead of the 2016 presidential election a number of opposition members, including United Democratic Party leader Ousainou Darboe, were sentenced to three years in jail for staging pro-democracy protests. In a public address, Jammeh called members of the opposition “opportunistic people supported by the West,” adding that “I will bow to only Allah and my mother. I will never tolerate opposition to destabilize this country.” [22] The election itself took place on 1 December 2016 and, in a surprise result, Jammeh was defeated by Adama Barrow leading a coalition of opposition parties.[23] Jammeh stated that he would not contest the result. [24]

Peacekeeping

Senegal peace talks

According to The Daily Observer, on 10 December 2012, Jammeh secured the release of Senegalese soldiers who had been held as hostages by rebels in Senegal. [25] He sent a delegation to meet with Senegalese President

Macky Sall in early December 2012. The delegation’s goal was to discuss a resolution to the ongoing civil unrest in Senegal’s southern region of Cassamance. [26] Members of the delegation included the Minister of Presidential Affairs, the U.S. Ambassador to the Gambia, and members from the Red Cross and Red Crescent. [26]

Jammeh Foundation for Peace

The Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) was created by Jammeh to help eradicate poverty among Gambians, improve agricultural production, and sponsor educational opportunities for needy students. The foundation has a hospital that is sponsored by the president and provides medical services to the general public. [27]

Charitable giving

Donations in 2012 included $2,563,138 to the National Youths Conference and Festival (NAYCONF), [28] and “two truckloads of turkey” to the Gambia Christian Council for delivery to the Christian community. Jammeh also bankrolled the university of education for less privileged Gambians and non-Gambians alike both home and abroad. [29]

Views


Yahya Jammeh.

Women’s rights

Jammeh announced a ban on child marriages in The Gambia and has banned female genital mutilation in the country as well, this was a result of the fact that 46% of Gambian girls are married under-18 and the majority have undergone FGM. Jammeh announced the ban on child marriage after the end of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr in July 2016. Jammeh has labelled the practice of FGM as having “no place in Islam or in modern society” [30]

Homosexuality

Further information: LGBT rights in the Gambia

On 15 May 2008, Jammeh announced that his government would introduce legislation that would set laws against homosexuals that would be “stricter than those in Iran “, and that he would “cut off the head” of any gay or lesbian person discovered in the country.[31] News reports indicated his government intended to execute all homosexuals in the country.[31] In the speech given in Tallinding, Jammeh gave a “final ultimatum” to any gays or lesbians in the Gambia to leave the country. [31]

In a speech to the United Nations on 27 September 2013, Jammeh said that “[h]omosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which, though very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah, is being promoted as a human right by some powers,” and that those who do so “want to put an end to human existence.” [32]

On 18 February 2014, Jammeh called homosexuals “vermins” by saying that “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively,”. He also went on to disparage the

LGBT by saying that “As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for

Leprosy , Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and

Tuberculosis , all of which are detrimental to human existence”. [33]

[34]

Claims of medical treatments and cures

In January 2007, Jammeh claimed he could cure HIV/AIDS and asthma with natural herbs. [35][36] His claimed treatment program includes instructing patients to cease taking their anti-retroviral drugs. [37][38] His claims have been criticized for promoting unscientific treatment that could have dangerous results, including the infection of others by those who thought they had been cured by the method. [35][36] In December 2011, he restated during an interview that the alleged cure for HIV/AIDS was “going very well”.[39]

Fadzai Gwaradzimba, the country representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the Gambia, was told to leave the country after she expressed doubts about the claims and said the remedy might encourage risky behaviour. [40] In August 2007, Jammeh claimed to have developed a single dose herbal infusion that could treat high blood pressure. [41] Jammeh has also claimed to develop a treatment for infertility in women as part of what is called the President’s Alternative Treatment Program (PATP). [42][43][44]

Historical claims

According to the Daily Observer newspaper, Jammeh claimed on 26 July 2010, that Gambia had played an important role in the aviation industry, specifically, “that the first Atlantic flight and the first flight from Eastern Europe landed in the Gambia.” [45] At the same time Jammeh also stated that “this country is one of the oldest and biggest countries in Africa that was reduced to a small snake by the British government who sold all our lands to the French.” [45]

In 1996, Jammeh institutionalized The International Roots Festival. Since then, the festival has attracted hundreds of Africans from the Diaspora to the Gambia to reconnect with their African Ancestry and to immerse themselves in the culture of Africa and to come back to their roots.

[46] In 2011, Jammeh renamed James Island to Kunta Kinte Island at the request of American Artist Chaz Guest.

Religion

Jammeh, like the majority of Gambians , [3] practices Islam. [47]

In July 2010, Jammeh stressed that people should believe in God: “If you don’t believe in God, you can never be grateful to humanity and you are even below a pig.” [48]

In 2011 he told the BBC, “I will deliver to the Gambian people and if I have to rule this country for one billion years, I will, if Allah says so.”[49]

On 12 December 2015, Jammeh declared the Muslim-majority country to be an Islamic republic, saying the move marked a break with the Gambia’s colonial past. Jammeh told state TV that the proclamation was in line with Gambia’s “religious identity and values.” He added that no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practice freely. [50]



Criticism

An electoral sign supporting Yahya Jammeh.

Restrictions to press freedom

Jammeh has been accused of restricting freedom of the press . Harsh new press laws were followed by the unsolved killing of Deyda Hydara , editor of The Point tabloid. Hydara, who had been mildly critical of the Jammeh regime, was brutally gunned down in December 2004. [51]

Alhagie Martin, one of Jammeh’s closest military aides, has been named in connection with Hydara’s killing. It has, however, not been possible to verify the allegation linking Martin with Hydara’s slaying. It is widely believed that Jammeh is responsible for Hydara’s murder. [51] Jammeh has denied that security agents were involved in the killing.[52]

In April 2004 he called on journalists to obey his government “or go to hell”. In June 2005 he stated on radio and television that he has allowed “too much expression” in the country. [53]

In July 2006, journalist Ebrima Manneh of The Daily Observer was reportedly arrested by state security after attempting to republish a BBC report criticizing Jammeh shortly before an

African Union meeting in Banjul; his arrest was witnessed by coworkers.

[54] Though ordered to release Manneh by an Economic Community of West African States court, the Gambian government denied that Manneh was imprisoned. [55]

According to AFP , an unnamed police source confirmed Manneh’s arrest in April 2009, but added he believed Manneh “is no longer alive”. [55]

Amnesty International named Manneh a prisoner of conscience and a 2011 “priority case”. [56] The Committee to Protect Journalists has also called for his release. [54]

Alleged human rights abuses

Shooting of students

On 10 and 11 April 2000, the government was accused of the killing of 12 students and a journalist during a student demonstration to protest the death of a student in the Gambia. Jammeh was accused of ordering the shooting of the students, but the government denied the allegations. A government commission of inquiry reportedly concluded that the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers were “largely responsible” for many of the deaths and other injuries.[57]

The commission also said that five soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion were responsible for the deaths of two students at Brikama. The government stated that the report implicated several PIU officers in the students’ deaths and injuries, but those responsible were not prosecuted. [57]

Disappearances and imprisonments

Newspaper reports list dozens of individuals who have disappeared after being picked up by men in plain-clothes, and others who have languished under indefinite detention for months or years without charge or trial. [58] The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court ordered the Gambia government to produce one journalist who was disappeared. [59][60][61] In April 2016, at least 50 people were arrested during a demonstration, and there were fears that Solo Sandeng, an opposition politician, died alongside two others while being held in detention. In July 2016, a Gambian opposition leader and another 18 people were sentenced to three years in jail for participation in the April demonstration. A Gambian diplomat publicly denied that Solo Sandeng had died in custody.[22]

Witch hunting campaign

In March 2009 Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 Gambians had been abducted by government-sponsored “witch doctors” on charges of witchcraft, and taken to detention centers where they were forced to drink poisonous concoctions. [62] On 21 May 2009, The New York Times reported that the alleged witch-hunting campaign had been sparked by the President Yahya Jammeh, who believed that the death of his aunt earlier that year could be attributed to witchcraft. [63]

Massacre of migrants

Jammeh has also been linked with the 2004 massacre of 44 Ghanaian migrants and 10 other ECOWAS nationals The information was relayed to Mr. Jammeh, who was then celebrating the bloody coup that brought him to power. Without any proper investigation, the coup maker ordered his men to kill the Ghanaians.

The soldiers, acting upon the instructions of their Commander in Chief, handcuffed the Ghanaian immigrants and took them to a location, which was later identified as the family home of the man who calls himself President, and were subjected to severe torture.

During this time, two of the Ghanaians managed to escape, but one of the escapees was later arrested and slashed into pieces by one of the soldiers, using a machete. The soldiers then collected the pieces of human flesh and put them in a sack, apparently as evidence to show to Yahya Jammeh that the job had been successfully executed.

The rest of the so-called Ghanaian mercenaries were transported into a forest and killed. One of them, however, managed to escape to Senegal, and later returned to Ghana to break the news about the killings.

President Yahya Jammeh, initially, denied knowledge of the massacre, but after intense diplomatic pressure, admitted that his soldiers were behind it, but failed to tell the international community that he himself ordered the killings.

He offered to pay $500,000 as compensation to the family of the victims. He would, however, not accept claims that the victims numbered forty four (44), and insisted that only six Ghanaians were massacred.

The bodies of the six were subsequently brought home for burial. Six years after the slaughter of the Ghanaians, information filtering in indicates that the number of people that were actually killed was forty-four, and not six, as indicated by Yahya Jammeh.

A soldier in the Gambian Army has come out to make a chilling confession that it was President Jammeh who ordered the killing of the Ghanaians.

He also told the local media, on condition of anonymity, that President Jammeh also ordered the killing of the Associated Press (AP) correspondent in Banjul, Deyda Hydara, some years ago.

Below is the confession made by the soldier, who is still serving in the Gambian Army, about the killing of the journalist and Ghanaians. In an interview he granted the local media, he pleaded for anonymity.

I have been sitting on this information for a while now. Since you have proven to be a credible and dependable journalist, I’m comfortable to relate to you about the people, who were responsible for the killings of the Ghanaians.

Ghanaian Killers Named

While the 22 July 2005 Anniversary (Jammeh’s Coup) was in progress in Banjul, we received word that some mercenaries, who plotted to attack the country, were captured and detained by the Navy in Banjul.

The suspects were transported to the late Baba Jobe’s residence in Kotu for further processing. This is the residence where the President’s Mom lives.

The first batch of suspected Ghanaian mercenaries was later taken to Kanili. On arrival at the President’s home, two of the suspects escaped, while the third suspect was shot by WO 2 Malick Jatta, during his struggle to escape from custody.

One of the escapees was later apprehended at a village called Bambara in Foni, behind Kanilai. The village is situated near Allah-Kunda. The suspect was cut into pieces with a cutlass by Sana Manjang, before putting his remains into a bag locally known as ‘SAKO’. The bag, containing the murdered foreign national, was dumped near the outskirts of Buiam Santangba.

Pa, if you can recall, there was a time an unidentified dead body was found in the said locality. The body was wrapped in a bag. The body in question was part of the suspected murdered mercenaries. The man was killed by Sana Manjang. He was cut into pieces and wrapped in a bag by Manjang.

The story about the unidentified dead body found in the area was reported by the Daily Observer and GRTS. It was our men who perpetrated the killing.

The remaining suspects were shot and killed at close range at a place in Kanilai (location withheld for now). WO2 Malick Jatta and Sana Manjang carried out the killings, with the help of others named herein.

Both Malick and Sana were armed with MAB PISTOLS during the execution of the detainees. The suspects have been buried in Kanilai (location withheld for now), due to national security issues.

No one here dares disobey his orders. We normally act on instructions given to us by our superiors. He (the President) delegates authority, and we execute the secret killings, tortures and burning of media houses. . [64][65]

[66]

Death penalty

Though previously regarded by Amnesty International as “abolitionist in practice”, having had no executions since 1985, [67] on 27 August 2012, the Gambian government confirmed that nine prisoners were executed by firing squad. [68] This followed President Jammeh’s stated intention to carry out all death penalties before mid-September amid protests from the

European Union countries and others.

[69]

Calls for anti-gay violence

In May 2015, in defiance of western criticism Jammeh intensified his anti-gay rhetoric, telling a crowd during an agricultural tour: “If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat – if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”[70]

This prompted a fresh round of condemnation from international human rights leaders. US National Security Advisor Susan Rice released a statement of condemnation on 16 May 2015: “We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia,” said Rice. “We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.” [71]

Personal life



Colonel Yahya Jammeh and Mrs. Zeinab Jammeh with Barack and

Michelle Obama in the White House , August 2014.

Jammeh is a member of the Jola people . [72] His first marriage ended in divorce. [73] Jammeh married his second wife Zeinab Suma Jammeh, in 1999. [73] They have two children as of 2007, a daughter, Mariam Jammeh, and a son, Muhammed Yahya Jammeh. The latter was born in late 2007, when his daughter was eight years old. [74]

On 30 September 2010, Jammeh announced his marriage to a 21-year-old (or possibly 18-year-old [1] ) additional wife by the name Alima Sallah, daughter of Omar Gibril Sallah, Gambia’s current Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Zahra Sallah. [73][75] It was announced that his new wife would officially be referred to as Lady Alima Yahya Jammeh, and would not be referred to as a “first lady”, since Zeinab Suma Jammeh is the official “first lady”. [75]

According to at least one source, his marriage to Ms. Sallah was a shock to his other wife Zeinab Suma Jammeh, and the additional marriage led to strains in their relationship and even plans for their divorce. [76] Zeinab Jammeh had reportedly already been living in the U.S. separately from her husband for some time. [76] Ms. Sallah reportedly also left Gambia for the U.S. in June 2010. [76] According to the same publication, he then divorced Ms. Sallah in early 2011. [1][2]

Titles and styles

The official title used is His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Awal Jemus Junkung Jammeh Naasiru Deen Babili Mansa.

[77] He is Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces and Chief Custodian of the Sacred Constitution of the Gambia.

[78]

On 16 June 2015, a statement from the State House stated that President Jammeh should be addressed as “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh Babili Mansa”.

[79] The title Babili Mansa , which the President decided to drop in December 2014, is a phrase in the

Mandinka language that could be translated as either “Chief Bridge Builder” or “Conqueror of Rivers”. [80]

[81] Two months before, he had already removed the title “Nasirul Deen”, which had been conferred to him by the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council . [82]

Awards and honours

Jammeh has received honorary Doctorates from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2004, [83][84] Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, Norman Academy, [85] and National Taipei University of Technology. [86]

He has received awards through the

unrecognised higher education accreditation organisation the

International Parliament for Safety and Peace, including a peace award, [87] the honorary title of Kentucky colonel

[88] and the tongue-in-cheek award of

Nebraska Admiral. [89][90][91][92] Jennifer Rae Hein, a spokeswoman for the Governor of Nebraska, acknowledged that Jammeh was granted an admiralship in the Nebraska Navy, [93] but later stated “We regret that this individual has attempted to embellish a certificate for a Nebraska admiralship, claiming that it was a high honor bestowed upon him by the governor, when to the best of our knowledge, this person has no relationship with or ties to Nebraska.” [94]

​Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Biography 

Name Akufo-Addo
Other Names Nana Addo Dankwa

Date of Birth 1944-03-29

Place Ghana

Detailed Biography

Introduction

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is a legal luminary, politician and a businessman. He’s the Presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2016 polls in Ghana. He contested and lost in 2008 and 2012. Nana Addo was elected three times between 1996 and 2008 as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. He served his nation from 2001 to 2007 as Cabinet Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and later as Foreign Minister during the government led by President John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor.

Background on Presidential Bid

In October 1998, Nana Akufo-Addo competed for the presidential candidacy of the NPP and lost to John Agyekum Kufuor, the man who eventually won the presidential election in Ghana in December 2000 and assumed office as President of Ghana in 2001.

Akufo-Addo was the chief campaigner for candidate Kufuor in the 2000 election and became the first Attorney General and Minister for Justice of the Kufuor era. Akufo-Addo resigned from the Kufuor government in July 2007 to contest for the position of presidential candidate of his party, the NPP, the then ruling party of Ghana, for the 2008 elections.

Competing against 16 others, he won 48% of the votes in the first round of that election, but was given a unanimous endorsement in the second round, making him the party’s presidential candidate. In the 7 December 2008 presidential race, he received, in the first round, more votes than John Atta Mills, the eventual winner.

In the first round, Akufo-Addo received 4,159,439 votes representing 49.13% of the votes cast, placing him first, but not enough for the 50% needed for an outright victory. In the run-off, Mills received 4,521,032 votes, representing 50.23%.

Akufo-Addo again contested in the 2012 national elections against the NDC candidate, John Mahama, and lost. That election generated considerable controversy, and was finally decided by the Supreme Court in a narrow 5/4 decision in favour of John Mahama.

In March 2014, Akufo-Addo announced his decision to seek his party’s nomination for the third time ahead of the 2016 election. He secured 94.35% of the votes in the party’s presidential primary in October, 2014, in a contest of 7 competitors.

Akufo-Addo served as Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the South African elections in 2014.

Political Career

Akufo-Addo once served as the General Secretary of People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ).This group led the “NO” campaign in the UNIGOV referendum of 1978, designed to solicit popular support for a one-party military-led State.

In 1991, Akufo-Addo was the chairman of the Organising Committee of the Danquah-Busia Memorial Club. Akufo-Addo travelled throughout Ghana to establish branches of the Club all over the country. These branches eventually transformed into local organs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) prior to the elections of 1992.

In 1992, he was the first National Organiser of the NPP and, later that year became campaign manager of the party’s first presidential candidate, Prof. Albert Adu Boahen.

In 1995, he led the “Kume Preko” (Kill me already) demonstrations of the Alliance For Change (AFC), a broad-based political pressure group to protest the harsh economic conditions of the Rawlings era.

Akufo-Addo was elected three times between 1996 and 2008 as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. Between 2001 to 2007, he served as Cabinet Minister, as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and later as Foreign Minister under the government of President Kufuor John Kufour .

Legal and Business Career

Akufo-Addo stayed in France for five years as a lawyer at the now-defunct New York-based international law firm, Coudert Brothers. In 1975, he returned home to Accra to continue with his legal career. He joined the chambers of U.V. Campbell from 1975 to 1979. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co.

Akufo-Addo has served on the boards and committees of a number of political, legal, commercial, and social organizations in the country. He was the first Chairperson of DHL (GH) Ltd; Chairperson, Kinesec Communications (Co) Ltd., publishers of The Statesman; and the first Chairperson of the Ghana Committee on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He was responsible, through his association with the US Company, Millicom, for introducing mobile telephony into the country.

Educational Background

Akufo-Addo received his primary education first at the Government Boys School, Adabraka, and later at the Rowe Road School (now Kimbu), both in Accra Central. He went to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations at Lancing College, Sussex. He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at Accra Academy Secondary School, before going to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964, earning a BSc(Econ) degree in 1967. He subsequently studied law in the UK, and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971. Akufo-Addo was called to the Ghana bar in July 1975.

Family

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was born and raised in Ga-Maami (Accra Central) and in the Nima area of Accra. His father’s residence, Betty House at Korle Wokon in Accra, was effectively the headquarters of the country’s first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), after it was formed at Saltpond on 4 August 1947.

Three of the ‘Big Six’ – the founding fathers of Ghana – were his relatives: J.B. Danquah (grand uncle), William Ofori-Atta (uncle) and Edward Akufo-Addo – the third Chief Justice of Ghana and later ceremonial President of the Republic from 1969 to 197 – his father.

Nana Addo is married to Rebecca Akufo-Addo (née Griffiths-Randolph). They have five daughters and five grandchildren.

President John Dramani Mahama – Biography

      JOHN Dramani Mahama (/məˈhɑːmə/; born 29 November 1958) is a Ghanaian politician who has been President of Ghana since July 2012. He was the 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. He was elected to serve his first term as president in December 2012 following a peaceful election. A communication expert, historian, and writer, Mahama was a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001.

    Early years

    A member of the Gonja ethnic group, he hails from Bole. Mahama was born in Damongo, in the Damango-Daboya constituency of Ghana into a political tradition dating back to the country’s First Republic. 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 Ghana’s First Republic under his first president, Kwame Nkrumah.

    Mahama had his early education at Achimota School and then proceeded to Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern Region of Ghana) and the University of Ghana, Legon, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate diploma in communication studies in 1986. He also studied at the Institute of Social Sciences, Moscow in the then Soviet Union, specializing in social psychology, obtaining a postgraduate degree in 1988.

    Early career

    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. He credits this period in his life for instilling in him the Japanese work ethic which reinforced in his mind the importance of focus and commitment and reflects in his actions, effort and dynamism. 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, Japan. He also participated in a management development course organized by Plan International (RESA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Political appointments 

    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 became the substantive Minister of Communications in November 1998; a position he held until January 2001 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the then ruling party, 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 Minister and Vice-President 

    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.[6] 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.

    As President 

    In line with Ghana’s constitution, Mahama became President of Ghana on 24 July 2012 on the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills. 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…. 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 (born in 1958) made political history by becoming the first Ghanaian leader to have been born after Ghana’s attainment of independence from British colonial rule on 6 March 1957. This passing on of the mantle of leadership to a relatively younger Mahama symbolised changing paradigms from the old paternalism characteristic of African politics to a new generation of post-independence born, innovative and entrepreneurial thinkers battle-ready to take on pressing challenges such as climate change and food security facing modern democracies in an idea-driven 21st century. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) held a Special National Delegates Congress, on 30 August 2012 and endorsed President John Dramani Mahama, as the 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.[10] Mahama has stated that his administration is deeply committed to continuing the Better Ghana Agenda started under late 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%. Thirteen African Heads of State, one Prime Minister, 2 Vice-Presidents and 18 government delegations across the world attended his inaugural ceremony at the Independence Square in Accra on 7 January 2013 when Mahama was sworn-in to begin his own four-year term.

    Mahama is Africa’s fourth most-followed leaders on Twitter, with 11,134 followers.

    Personal life and interests 

    He is married to Lordina Mahama and has seven children. He is a Christian, born and raised a Presbyterian but is now a member of Assemblies of God, Ghana due to marriage. His family is multi-faith consisting of Christians and Muslims. Mahama is also a polyglot, fluent in six languages, specifically, English, Akan (Twi and Fante), Ga, Gonja, Dagbani and Hausa and proficient in Ewe and Russian 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 he has written for several newspapers and other publications. As a Parliamentarian, Mahama wrote Mahama’s Hammer, a popular semi-regular column in a local Ghanaian newspaper. His essays have also been published in the Huffington Post, the Louisville Courier-Journal and TheRoot.com  Additionally, he was a featured speaker at the TEDx Great Pacific Garbage Patch Conference in Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.. Mahama is also a devotee of Afrobeat music and a big fan of Nigerian legend, Fela Kuti, explaining that the iconic musician’s criticism of corruption and military brutality “gave us an outlet for our outrage and frustrations.” Apart from his love of reading and acquiring knowledge, President 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 (known by the acronym 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 the country, the President 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.

    Books 

    Mahama’s first book, a memoir called My First Coup d’État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa, was published by Bloomsbury on 3 July 2012. A child of privilege, Mahama is the most promising son of a relatively affluent minister, spending his time shuttling in a chauffeur-driven car between his elite boarding school and his various houses.He recalls in its first chapter the day in 1966 when he learned of the ousting of Ghana’s founding president, Kwame Nkrumah, 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.”

    Awards and honours 

    Widely acclaimed both locally and internationally for his natural charisma, affable, down to earth personality and sterling leadership qualities, he is arguably the first Ghanaian leader to have served at all levels of political office (Ghanaian and Pan-African MP, Deputy Minister, Minister, Vice-President and President). He received an honorary doctorate in the field of Public Administration, by the Ekiti State University of Nigeria, formally known as the Obafemi Awolowo University in “recognition of his politico-socio economic development of Ghana and Africa at various stages of his political career.” The Cuban government, recognising his relentless advocacy for the Cuban cause, namely the lifting of the 50-year economic embargo on the communist country and for the freedom of the detained Cuban five by the United States government, conferred on him the Friendship Medal. The Graduate School of Governance and Leadership also awarded him the African Servant Leadership Award while the Institute of Public Relations recognized Mr. Mahama with a prize for his leadership acumen and technocratic flair.Furthermore, the General Council of Assemblies of God, Ghana honoured Mahama with its prestigious honour the “Daniel Award “for his exceptional leadership qualities. Mr. Mahama has also attended numerous conferences and won many fellowships, including a study as a visiting scholar at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. He is also a Gates Fellow. After the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills, his political supporters christened[clarification needed] him Ahobrasehene meaning ‘King of Humility’ in the Akan language to crown his accolades.