MEET YOUR HERO.
HIS EXCELLENCY. JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA.
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 January 2009 to July 2012, and took office as president on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor John Evans Fiifi Attah Mills. Mahama is a communication expert, historian, and writer. A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), he was Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi from 1997 to 2009 and served as Deputy Minister for Communication between 1997 and 1998 before becoming the substantive Minister for Communications from 1998 to . Dramani is the first vice president to take over the presidency from the death of his predecessor, John Evans Atta Mills, and is the first head of state of Ghana to have been born after Ghana’s independence. He was elected after December 2012 election to serve as full-time President. He contested re-election for a second term in the 2016 election, but lost to the New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, in 2012. This made him the first President in the history of Ghana to not have won a second term and handed over successfully to his challenger in the spirit of Democracy.
A member of the Gonja ethnic group in the Savanna region of Ghana, Mahama hails from Bole in the Savanna Region. Mahama was born in Damongo in the Damango-Daboya constituency of Northern region 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 the First Republic under Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah. Mahama’s father also served as a senior presidential advisor during Ghana’s Third Republic under Hilla Limann who was overthrown in 1981 by Jerry Rawlings.
Mahama had his primary education at the Accra Newtown Experimental School (ANT1) before going to boarding school at Achimota Primary School. He completed secondary school at Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern region). He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate diploma in communication studies in 1986. As a student, he was a member of Commonwealth Hall (Legon). He also studied at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow in the Soviet Union, specializing in social psychology; he obtained a postgraduate degree in 1988.
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.
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.
Mahama served as the Deputy Minister of Communications between April 1997 and November 1998. During his tenure as Minister for 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 after John Evan Atta Mills won the 2008 Ghana general Elections. 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:
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%.
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.
Mahama sought a second full term at the December 2016 general election. He was eligible for a second full term since he ascended to the presidency with only six months remaining in Mills’ term. In Ghana, a vice president who ascends to the presidency is allowed to run for two full terms in his own right if more than half of his predecessor’s term has expired. He was defeated by main opposition leader Akufo-Addo in a rematch from four years earlier, and conceded defeat on election night. Mahama polled 44.4% of the valid votes cast compared to Akufo-Addo’s 53.5%.
In December 2016, he was 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.
On Saturday 14 May 2023, John Mahama won and was confirmed during the NDC presidential primary as the candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress to contest in the 2024 General elections.
Mahama is married to Lordina Mahama (née Effah, 6 March 1963). Mahama has five children named Shafik, Shahid, Sharaf, who formerly played for Rostocker FC as a striker, 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.
Mahama received an honorary doctorate in the field of Public Administration, from the Ekiti State University of Nigeria, formerly affiliated to the Obafemi Awolowo University in “recognition of his politico-socio economic development of Ghana and Africa at various stages of his political career.” Later the same university passed a resolution to name its Faculty of Management Science after him.