Friday, July 27, 2012

John Dramani Mahama

John Dramani Mahama (born 29 November 1958) is a Ghanaian politician and the current President of Ghana. He was the Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012, and he took office as President on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor, President John Atta Mills. A communications expert, historian, and writer, he was a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001.

Early Years
Mahama was born in Damongo, in the Damango-Daboya constituency of Ghana. His father Emmanuel Adama Mahama was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during Ghana's First Republic.

He attended Achimota School, Primary Department and The University of Ghana, receiving a bachelor's degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate degree in communication studies in 1986. Following this, Mahama travelled to the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, Soviet Union for further studies.

Early career
After completing his education, Mahama returned to Ghana and, from 1991 to 1996, worked as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra.

From there he moved to the non-governmental agency (NGO) PLAN International's Ghana Country Office, where he worked as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager.

As President
In line with Ghana's constitution, Mahama became President of Ghana on 24 July 2012 on the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills. The ruling National Democratic Congress after a long debate on the party’s preparations toward who succeeds the late President J.E.A Mills as flagbearer for the December polls, has decided to go for congress on 1 September 2012. The party is expected to endorse President John Dramani Mahama as flagbearer in the 2012 General Elections.

Personal life and interests
He is married to Lordina Mahama, with whom he has seven children. He is a Christian. He has a keen interest in environmental affairs, particularly the problem of plastic pollution in Africa, which he committed himself to addressing during his tenure as Vice President.

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Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Kumar Mukherjee (born 11 December 1935) is the 13th and current President of India, in office since July 2012. In a political career spanning six decades, Mukherjee was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. Prior to his election as President in July 2012, Mukherjee was Union Finance Minister, and the Congress party's top troubleshooter.

In 1969, Mukherjee got his break in politics thanks to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's Parliament, on a Congress ticket. Following a meteoric rise in the early phase of his career, he became one of Indira's most trusted lieutenants, and a minister in her cabinet in 1973. Mukherjee's service in a number of ministerial capacities culminated in his first stint as Finance Minister in 1982–84. Mukherjee was Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985.

Mukherjee was sidelined from the Congress during the Prime Ministership of Rajiv Gandhi, Indira's son. Mukherjee had viewed himself, and not the inexperienced Rajiv, as the rightful successor to Indira following her assassination in 1984. Mukherjee lost out in the ensuing power struggle. He formed his own party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, which merged with the Congress in 1989 after reaching a compromise with Rajiv Gandhi. Mukherjee's political career revived when Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao appointed him Planning Commission head in 1991 and Foreign Minister in 1995. Following this, as elder statesman of the Congress, Mukherjee was the principal architect of Sonia Gandhi's (Rajiv's widow) entry into politics in the late 1990s.

When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came into power in 2004, Mukherjee, never a mass leader, won a Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) seat for the first time. From then until his resignation in 2012, Mukherjee was number-two in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. He held a number of key cabinet portfolios—Defence (2004–06), External Affairs (2006–09) and Finance (2009–12)—apart from heading several Groups of Ministers (GoMs) and being Leader of House in the Lok Sabha. After securing the UPA's nomination for the country's Presidency, Mukherjee easily bested P. A. Sangma in the race to Rashtrapati Bhavan, winning 70 percent of the vote.

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