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General News of Friday, 10 August 2012

Source: GNA

Profiles of some foreign dignitaries attending Mills' funeral

The following is an update of the profiles of some of the foreign dignitaries who attended the funeral of President John Evans Atta Mills.


Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, born June 6, 1966, was sworn into office as Togo’s President on May 4, 2005. A son of the late legendary President, Gnassingbe Eyadema, he was appointed to the government by his father to serve as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications from 2003 to 2005.

When President Eyadéma died on February 5, 2005, Gnassingbé was immediately installed as President with support from the Army.

Doubts regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the succession led to heavy regional pressure being placed on Gnassingbé, and he resigned on February 25. However, he won a presidential election on 24, 2005, and was sworn in as President again.

He was re-elected for a second term as the President of Togo in 2010. President Gnassingbé is the National President of the ruling party, Rally of the Togolese People.


Macky Sall is became the Senegalese President in April 2012 when he won the backing of other opposition candidates and defeated his predecessor, President Abdoulaye Wade, in the second round of voting, held on 25 March 2012.

Under his predecessor, Mr Sall was Prime Minister from April 2004 to June 2007. He was the President of the National Assembly of Senegal from 2007 to November 2008.

He was the Mayor of Fatick from 2002 to 2008 and has held that post again since April 2009.

Sall was a long-time member of the Senegalese Democratic Party. After coming into conflict with Wade, he was removed from his post as President of the National Assembly in November 2008; he consequently founded his own party and joined the opposition. He placed second in the first round of the 2012 presidential election.


Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba, born Alain Bernard Bongo on 9th February, 1959, who has been President of Gabon since October 2009.

President Bongo is the son of Omar Bongo, who was the President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009.

He was the candidate of the Gabonese Democratic Party in the August 2009 presidential election, which followed his father's death and won the poll. During the presidency of the late Bongo, Ali Bongo was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991 and represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999; subsequently he was Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009.

He is married to Sylvia Valentin.


Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, born 7th October 1950, is the 4th President of Tanzania having been sworn into office in December 2005.

Before then, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1995 to 2005. President Kikwete was also the Chairman of the African Union from 31 January 2008 to 2 February 2009.

He was born at Msoga, located in the Bagamoyo District of Tanganyika. Graduating with a Degree in Economics in 1975, he opted for a low-paying job as an executive functionary/officer of the ruling Party (TANU later CCM). This gave him the opportunity to work at the grassroots in rural regions and districts of Tanzania.

He is married to Salma Kikwete.


Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba is the second President of Namibia. He won the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections overwhelmingly as the candidate of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) ruling party, taking office in March 2005. He has also been the President of SWAPO since November 2007. President Pohamba was born on 18th August 18, 1935.

Until the achievement of Namibian independence, Pohamba represented SWAPO across Africa, although he studied politics in the Soviet Union for a time in the early 1980s.

On January 26, 2001, he was appointed Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation,[8] in which position he remained until becoming President in 2005.


In 2008, Mr Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku was recalled from his 10-year job at the Food and Agriculture Organisation to become the Deputy Prime Minister of Swaziland.

He holds a BSC. in Agronomy and a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Mechanization from the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, Diploma in General Agriculture (Swaziland), Diploma in Industrial Relations (South Africa), Diploma in Business Management (South Africa).

In 1998, Mr. Masuku joined FAO as Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Geneva (LOGE), focusing his work on the WTO Agriculture Trade negotiations of the Doha Round, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Development of International Labour Conventions and Human Rights Issues.

In 2007 Mr. Masuku was re-assigned to head the FAO Liaison Office in New York, where he focused on Food Security, Climate Change and Millennium Development Goals.**