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Politics of Monday, 6 December 2004

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Main competitors in presidential election

The following are brief introductions to Kufuor and Mills, who were regarded as major contenders for the top job.


    John Agyekum Kufuor was born on Dec. 8, 1938 in Kumasi, Ghana. After secondary education at home, he entered Britain's Oxford University where he earned his bachelor degree in 1964 in economics, philosophy and politics, and then a master's degree by the University.

    Kufuor's public service spans over thirty years. In 1967, he was appointed chief legal officer and town clerk of Kumasi, the second largest city of Ghana. He was a member of the 1968-69 and the 1979 Constituent Assemblies that drafted the constitutions of the country. In addition, he was a founding member of the Progress Party (PP) in 1969, the Popular Front Party (PFP) in 1979 and is a founding member of the now ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

    Kufuor was twice elected member of parliament. He has also beenin political detention on two occasions as a result of military coups.

    He has been a deputy minister of foreign affairs and in this capacity, he represented Ghana on several occasions.

    In January, 1982, Kufuor was appointed the Secretary for Local Government. As a secretary for local government, he authored the Local Government Policy Guidelines that were to be the foundation of the current decentralized district assemblies.

    In April 1996, he was nominated by NPP members to run for president. After campaigning for less than nine months, Kufuor polled almost 40 percent of the popular votes. On Oct. 23, 1998, he was re-nominated by the NPP not only to run again for presidency but also to officially assume the position of leader ofthe party. Kufuor won the presidential election in December, 2000.

    Kufuor is married to Theresa and has five children.

    Mills of the NDC:

    John Evans Atta Mills, the presidential candidate of the NDC, was born on July 21, 1944 and hails from Cape Coast in the Central region of Ghana.

    Mills attended the University of Ghana, Legon where he receiveda bachelor's degree and professional certificate in Law in 1967. While earning the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Oriental and African Studies from the University of London, Dr. Mills was selected as a Fulbright scholar at Stanford Law School.

    Mills began his teaching career as a lecturer on the faculty oflaw at the University of Ghana, Legon. He spent more than twenty years with students and rose from lecturer to associate professor.

    Also during those twenty years, Mills traveled as a visiting lecturer and professor to Temple University in the United States and Leiden University in the Netherlands.

    Mills has more than one dozen publications to his credit, most of which about revenue and finance. His expertise goes well beyond the classroom, and is evidenced by the various examiner positions he held with finance related institutions throughout Ghana.

    A track record of financial knowledge and strong professional credentials led to several important appointments. In 1988, Mills became the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service of Ghana and was named commissioner in September 1996.

    The victory of Jerry Rawlings in the 1996 president election won Mills, Rawlings' running mate, the post of vice president.

    Rawlings gave his support to Mills as the presidential candidate of the NDC for the elections in 2000.

    Mills lost the presidential competition with 47 percent of the total votes to Kufuor's 57 percent of the votes.

    In December, 2002 Mills was again nominated as the NDC' s presidential candidate for the election in 2004.

    He is married to Ernestina Naadu.