His Excellency John Dramani Mahama is a writer, historian, communications expert, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State, and sitting Vice President of the Republic of Ghana. Mr. Mahama was born in 1958 in Damango, which is in the Northern Region of Ghana. His father, Mr. E.A. Mahama, was the first Member of Parliament for the Gonja West Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during Ghana's First Republic.
Mr. Mahama earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history at the University of Ghana, after which he taught history at the secondary school level. He received graduate degrees in Communication Studies from the University of Ghana's School of Communication Studies, and in Social Psychology from the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow. An eloquent champion of the underprivileged, in 1996, Mr. Mahama was elected to the Parliament of Ghana for a four-year term to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency in the oft-overlooked Northern Region of the country. He was re-elected twice more and served until 2008, when the New Democratic Congress (NDC) won their presidential bid and Mr. Mahama became vice-president-elect.
In 1997, Mr. Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications; within the year he rose to become the substantive Minister of Communications, a position he held until January 2001, when the NDC government handed over power to the newly elected New Patriotic Party (NPP). During his tenure as Minister of Communications, Mr. Mahama also served as the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, as a member of the National Economic Management Team, and as a founding member of the Ghana AIDS Commission.
From 2001 to 2004 Mr. Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications. In 2002, he was appointed the Director of Communications for the NDC. That same year, he also served as a member of the team of International Observers selected to monitor Zimbabwe's Parliamentary elections. Expanding his interest and involvement in international affairs, in 2003 Mr. Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairman of the West African Caucus. In 2005 he was, additionally, appointed the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He served in these capacities until 2008, when he was handpicked to become the vice-presidential candidate.
A writer as well, he penned "Mahama's Hammer," a popular semi-regular column in a local Ghanaian newspaper. He has also had essays published in the Louisville Courier-Journal and TheRoot.com. A staunch environmentalist and activist against single-use plastic waste, he was recently a featured speaker at the TEDx Great Pacific Garbage Patch conference in Santa Monica, California, USA.