At midnight on 7th January, Ghana, a western African nation which has experienced democracy for 20 years, dissolved its 5th Parliament to make way for the new parliament. This was the first time Ghana swore in more 275 legislators to represent 26 million Ghanaians. The highlight of the day however was not until 10am when Ghana’s President-elect, John Dramani Mahama, was sworn in by the Chief Justice at a colorful ceremony at the Black Star Square in the capital, Accra.
Surprisingly enough, this had been the 4th consecutive time Ghana had sworn in a President who went by the name ‘John’ after Jerry John Rawling, John Agyekum Kufour, and John Evans Attah-Mills. Although members of the opposition National Patriotic Party boycotted the ceremony due to the fact that members of the same party had filed a write in Ghana’s Supreme court, the event went smoothly, started on time and ended on time. Many international and regional dignitaries attended the event and mounted the stage to congratulate the president who was born after Ghana’s independence.
As part of a social media project, the BBC Africa run a #dearMahama campaign which saw many individuals online writing on Twitter and/or Facebook about their expectations of the newly elected president. A tag cloud was derived from the various expectations and below is a highlight of the terms which appeared the most in the phrases used by the participants.
I got the opportunity to speak to a few attendees at the event, most of them expressed the need for John Mahama to unite the nation, especially since almost 48% of the electorates did not vote for him during the December elections.
As a blogger who has documented this electoral process through the Ghana Decides project, there is no doubt, Ghanaians, home and abroad, have high expectations of the president and his team and thus expect nothing less than the fulfillment of the promises made on campaign platforms. At the moment, education seems to be the most discussed sector in the country with both the incumbent and the opposition listing different strategies to improve the sector, which has obviously seen a dip in terms of performance among students in junior high schools. As the president starts his first days in office, Ghanaians wish him well, whilst they await the outcome of NPP’s protest in the Supreme Court.