All is set for the investiture of Ghana’s third President under the Fourth Republican Constitution on Wednesday, January 7 at the Independence Square in Accra.
The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood would swear in President-elect, Professor John Evans Atta Mills and Vice-President-elect John Dramani Mahama.
Wednesday’s investiture is considered by political experts as another step on the road to strengthening the country’s multi-party democracy, as outgoing President John Agyekum Kufuor hands over to Prof. Mills of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). The ceremony is the second time in Ghana’s 52-year political history that an elected leader would be handing over power to another elected leader.
Former Vice President Mills sets a personal record of being the first Ghanaian democratic leader to lose power, stay in opposition for eight years and then win power back from an incumbent. Meanwhile, vigorous preparations are underway at the Independence Square where Parliament would convene for the historic swearing-in of the President.
The Square is being draped in the national colours of red, gold, green and black.
The country is in a jubilant mood for the smooth transfer of power, as a tour of some principal streets of Accra on Tuesday by Ghana News Agency revealed.
Traders are making good sales of paraphernalia of the incoming National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, whilst that of the outgoing party have virtually disappeared.
Interesting coincidences at Wednesday’s coronation are that a John (President Kufuor) who took over from a John (Former President Jerry Rawlings) would be handing over to a John (President-elect Mills) while a Vice President Mahama hands over to another Mahama (Vice-President Aliu Mahama to Vice-President-elect John Mahama).
“For the second time in the history of our nation, a president has been elected through universal adult suffrage to take over from a democratically elected leader,” Mr Baffour Dokyi Amoa, President of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA), told the GNA. “By achieving this feat, Ghanaians have lived up to and probably surpassed the high expectations of the international community,” he said.
Political experts have described Ghana’s Election 2008 as a sign of the maturity of politicians and that the vigilance of the electorate has proved that Ghana was capable of determining the fate of its leaders through democratic means.
This is reflected in the results of the elections where the parliamentary majority of the ruling NPP slumped from 128 in 2004 to 107, while that of the minority NDC jumped from 98 to 114 seats. (Two seats are yet to be declared).
When the country approved the Fourth Republican Constitution in 1992, it said very loudly that it was bidding farewell to military rule. And the people proved conclusively during Elections 2008 that they are abiding by this pledge.
Leading members of the NDC have appealed to Ghanaians to participate fully in the swearing-in of President-elect Prof. Mills to make it a national event that would unify Ghanaians after the partisan elections. Ms Hannah Tetteh, NDC Communication Director, told the GNA that after the successful general election, the swearing-in ceremony should be ‘like an icing on the cake’ to complete the success story.
She appealed to those, who would be at the Independence Square, to cooperate with the security agencies and comport themselves to avoid any hitches and embarrassment.