The events leading up to the first peaceful transfer of power between democratically elected administrations since Ghana’s independence in March 1957 have been the subject of several stories and narratives.
The nation had a hotly contested general election in December 2000 between John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party and the incumbent National Democratic Congress, which was led by the late former professor John Evans Atta Mills.
The election, which required a run-off, was held on December 28, 2000, with J.A. Kufuor winning in the end.
J.J. Rawlings and J.A. Kufuor were seen meeting at the Osu Castle in a video of the events that took place following the run-off. Due to numerous arguments and charges made against one other during their political careers, the two are said to have maintained chilly ties.
The late former president John Evans Atta Mills speaks at the beginning of the video, though. Vice president to J.J. Rawlings at the time was JEA Mills.
Former Vice President JEA Mills greeted J.A. Kufuor and his entourage to the Osu Castle with his customary elegance and composure. He said the following things after exchanging pleasantries with them:
“Your Excellency the incoming President and Your Excellency the incoming Vice President, Members of the Council of State, and all colleagues, I consider it a great privilege to be here at this momentous gathering. This gathering takes place at a moment when Americans are starting to understand the need of building a solid alliance and doing our best to foster the bipartisan spirit this nation needs, according to Prof Mills.
“Congratulations to you all once more….We [the NDC] wish you well, we [are] always ready to aid you in government, we [are] ready to put our expertise at your disposal, and we [all] pray that the good Lord himself would help you in this mission of nation building,” he continued.
On his part, former president J.J. Rawlings remarked, “Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. J.A. Kufuor, the president-elect, and members of your team on the election win that will usher in a new administration that will rule us for the next four years on behalf of my colleagues and the whole country.”
There is no question in my view that Ghanaians would assist you during the next four years, he said, should things go smoothly. JJ continued as the two and everyone else in the room laughed and applauded, “That I would to welcome you to our home and the troubles that come with this household.
John Agyekum Kufuor took office as president on January 7, 2001, and spent his first year in office focusing on the failing national economy.