UPDATE: Prof Mills inaugurated president, promises to heal wounds
1/8/2009 2:07:04 PM -
Law Professor John Evans Atta Mills was on Wednesday sworn in as the sixth president of Ghana and the third under the Fourth Republic, promising to heal to nation's wounds and ensure national unity.
Swearing on the Bible, he took and subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and the Presidential Oath, administered by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
The inauguration took place before a milling crowd of Ghanaians, including outgoing President John Agyekum Kufour, and former President Jerry Rawlings, under whom he served as Vice President between 1996 and 2000, as well as some leaders who contested the last presidential elections.
Also among those who were present were Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, Dr Papa Kwesi Ndoum of the Convention People's Party and Dr Edward Nasigre Mahama of the People's National Convention (PNC), members of the Diplomatic Corps and Members of Parliament.
"I will be president for all Ghanaians, whether they voted for me or not. I'll heal wounds and strive to ensure unity. No Ghanaian should live in fear of armed robbery,' he said.
'Improvement in internal security would be top on my priorities," President Mills said in his inaugural speech at the Independence Square in Accra.
President Mills, who arrived at the grounds with his wife Naadu at 1418 hours, sporting rich kente cloth in red, yellow and green colours, on white jumper, with brownish yellow ahenema sandals to match, exchanged greetings with dignitaries on the presidential dais where presidents and representatives from West Africa sat.
After the big fontomfrom drums had heralded the taking of the oath, he was offered the state sword, which endorsed his mantle to lead the over 22 million Ghanaians for the next four years.
This was followed by a 21-gun salute in honour of the President who also promised to build a better Ghana on the four pillars of job creation, investing in people, expansion in infrastructure and open and honest government.
President Mills praised out-going President Kufuor for his rich and valuable experience.
He observed that the just-ended elections, which he won, were close to a tie, but the sovereign will of the people finally prevailed.
President Mills congratulated Nana Akufo-Addo on his fighting spirit, and, with a blink into memory lane, said the NPP candidate had been a tougher midfielder when they both played football in their days in the University of Ghana, Legon.
The President also congratulated the other contestants in the presidential race and harped on his message of change, but said the change was not just for the sake of change, but change in a new direction "so that we can move forward."
He reiterated his message on consensus building and pledged further to ensure audience to the citizenry without room for political vendetta, but respect for the principles of accountability.
President Mills assured Ghanaians of fairness and equity for all, and urged the judiciary, security agencies, and public servants to be loyal and committed to the larger interest of the nation.
He assured the business community that "our goal is to create a business atmosphere where local business would go hand in hand with the foreign," and avoid suffering of local business at the expense of cheap imports.
On his foreign policy, Prof Mills said the Government would collaborate with the African Union to help find solutions to the conflicts on the continent, and collaborate with the United Nations to ensure that there was a better and safer place.
Echoing the 'Gambaga to Accra" slogan of his alma mater, Achimota School, Prof Mills said: "From Gambaga to Accra, let's respond to the call to get mother Ghana on her feet. With strength of character, determination and with the blessing of God, we shall succeed... God uphold Ghana and make our country even greater and stronger."