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General News of Friday, 8 January 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2017 and 2021 – What changed at Akufo-Addo, Bawumia’s inauguration

The remnants of 2020 arguably transferred into the early parts of 2021, with regards to Ghana and its post-elections.

From the election period, the process was characterized by elements of drama right up till the declaration of the electoral results by the Electoral Commission.

Even beyond the declaration, with disparities and disagreements about the outcome of the results, the country was obviously ‘coloured’ with political drama.

On the 6th of January 2021, from about 9 pm, processes began to close the 7th Parliament and then constitute the 8th. This also didn’t go without a fight from the NDC caucus. They took over the majority side as per the seating arrangement in the house, and there was a struggle over seats by some MPs including the NPP’s Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu Ekuful.

There was the bolting and booting with and of ballot papers and booths respectively and the presence of heavy military in the chamber but eventually, a Speaker was elected and from the NDC side; Alban Bagbin won and his first and second deputies were chosen and sworn in.

Shortly after, sitting was suspended and it was time to inaugurate the President and Vice-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

Within a brief period, the ceremony which had about 10 African Heads of State present came to an end and impressively, without any unforeseen events.

It is, however, worth noting that this year’s swearing-in ceremony was quite different from what the country experienced four years ago when the same personalities took the oath for their first term.

It was different for a number of reasons including the fact that there were significant and or notable first-time events that occurred.
This piece takes a look at a few of them:

Rawlings’s absence:

He was the first President under the Fourth Republic to hand over power after his military rule. He handed over power to then-President-elect, John Agyekum Kufuor in 2001.

After this, he had been at the swearing-in of every other President under the Fourth Republic, all 4. Sadly, he was absent at the investiture of the 5th President under the fourth republic, following his demise on November 12, 2020.



Mahama missing:

Former President, John Dramani Mahama handed over power to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017, January 7 after he lost to him in the 2016 polls.

After a keen contest in the December 7, 2020 elections, however, he was displeased with the outcome which he has described as ‘fraudulent’ and has hence petitioned the court to look into the issues and possibly declare a re-run.

He has been widely supported by the rank and file of his party.

It was therefore though quite surprising, but not unexpected that he failed to make an appearance at the inauguration of President-elect and Vice, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.



From kente to suit:

From the first to the fifth, all presidents under the fourth Republic had one thing in common, they all had the African touch in their line of clothing worn for their respective inauguration ceremonies.

With the exception of John Dramani Mahama, the fourth President under the Fourth Republic, who wore a white African overall, all other Presidents wore the Kente; a rich African cloth worn on big occasions.

This time was different, President Akufo-Addo chose the ‘western style’. He was clothed in a suit and tie to the surprise of many.

It is still unknown what informed the choice of dressing, but many have suggested he may have been wearing a bulletproof vest which would have been very visible if he had donned the Kente.



Minority’s boycott:

After establishing their presence in parliament and getting a Speaker from their side, Members of Parliament in the NDC caucus decided to go about their own businesses after the house suspended proceedings till Friday.

They boycotted the presidential inauguration, in solidarization with their Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama who has petitioned the court over what he has described as ‘fraudulent’ results.

This was different because all sides of the house were at the Presidential inauguration in 2017 for the handing over ceremony.

Speaker from the opposition:

In 2017, January 7, there was a speaker from the NPP, Prof. Mike Oquaye who oversaw together with the Chief Justice, the presidential investiture at the time.

This time, it was a speaker from the NDC, Alban Bagbin who had been sworn in a few hours to the event. He was subsequently congratulated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during his speech.



Barely lifted the Sword of State:

In 2017, during his transition ceremony and inauguration, the Sword of State was lifted very high by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, who moved it all around for a few minutes before it was returned.

This time, it was for just a few seconds and barely lifted, the President returned the Sword to its bearer and took his seat.



Quoting his sources - the plagiarism brouhaha:

It became a big issue after it emerged that portions of the inaugural speech in 2017 were plagiarized from speeches of U.S presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. After a public outcry, Director of Communications for the presidency, Eugene Arhin, apologized for the errors on Facebook, calling it a “complete oversight and never deliberate.”

In 2021 however, he rightly quoted and acknowledged the first president of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah whilst emphasizing the importance of unity and hard work for progression and development for all.

“In the words of the historic first leader of our nation, the celebrated Kwame Nkrumah, “it is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world,” he stated.

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