ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Ghana’s new president is facing criticism after passages in his inauguration speech appeared to be lifted from speeches given by American leaders, an embarrassment for a country that long has been praised as one of Africa’s strongest democracies.
President Nana Akufo-Addo took the oath of office Saturday after he won election on his third bid for the presidency.
One line in his speech is nearly identical to a phrase used by former President Bill Clinton in his 1993 inaugural address. Another phrase in Akufo-Addo’s speech is almost the same as one in the inaugural speech given by former President George W. Bush in 2001.
The Ghanaian presidency refused to comment Tuesday on the similarities that went viral on social media after the inauguration.
Akufo-Addo’s speech contained the following phrase: “Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. Ghanaians have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people. And we must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who came before us.”
In 1993, Clinton said: “Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. And Americans have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people. We must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who came before us.”
Akufo-Addo’s speech also contained this phrase: “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation.”
At his 2001 inauguration, Bush said: “I ask you to be citizens: Citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.”
The 72-year-old Akufo-Addo was declared winner of the Dec. 7 election after defeating incumbent John Dramani Mahama.