Accra — Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has now been in office for one year. To mark the occasion, he invited representatives of the Ghanaian media to question him on his performance so far.
Twelve months ago, President Mahama promised a new dawn to governance in Ghana. He won an election that was, however, disputed by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The case went to the Supreme Court and after almost nine months, the judges ruled in Mahama’s favor. In his inaugural speech he promised to fight against corruption and to build 200 senior high schools within four years, saying 50 would be built during his first year of office.
A year on, none of those schools have materialised. In his exchange with journalists on Tuesday January 7, the president conceded that his first year had been difficult.
He said the need to allocate funds to other sectors, such as the energy sector, had meant some projects, like the schools, had suffered.
“Governance is a difficult business, difficult decisions need to be made and the mark of leadership is you take difficult decisions when they need to be taken,” he told the journalists, adding “That is what I have done. I believe 2014 is going to be a good year.”
Tackling corruption and terrorism
President Mahama has come in for considerable criticism for his handling of corruption. He gave an assurance that a number of directives aimed at curbing corruption within politics were on course and would take effect shortly.
“I want to re-state my commitment to fighting corruption. I don’t have any qualms about the fight against corruption. We will take the steps that are necessary to ensure that the good people of Ghana’s money is not squandered frivolously,” he declared.
President Mahama also touched on the issue of terrorism, both in an African and global context. He stressed the importance of regional cooperation, saying “We have committed in West Africa to work on an anti-terrorism plan and so together all our countries are contributing to work on preventing terrorism.
And the way to do that is not to be afraid to talk about it, but to talk about it and find how we can achieve solutions to the plague of terrorism.”