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New Ghana President Akufo-Addo 'lifted' speeches by Bush and Clinton

By MOSES NYAMORI and Agencies | Updated Mon, January 9th 2017 at 11:45 GMT +3
Ghana's President elect Nana Akufo-Addo takes the oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony.

New Ghana leader Nana Akufo-Addo had an embarrassing start after he was accused of lifting major portions of speeches made by former US presidents and used them in his inauguration address.

Akufo-Addo gave the speech that has sent tongues wagging during the ceremony at the Independence Square in the country's capital Accra on Saturday.

Claims have emerged the speech contained portions of speeches delivered by Bill Clinton and George Bush.

The awkward incident has watered down the 72-year-old's greatest moment, making him a subject of online ridicule.

Video clips of Akufo-Addo's speech were circulated online alongside those of inauguration speeches by Bush on January 20, 2001 and Clinton on January 20, 1993.

In his speech, President Clinton said: "Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. Americans 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."

And on Saturday, President Akufo-Addo only replaced 'Americans' with Ghanaians, saying: "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 his speech, President Bush asked Americans to be active participants in the development of their country saying: "I ask you to be citizens, citizens not spectators; citizens not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character."

In a similar fashion, Akufo-Addo lifted the line as he took over his  country's presidency.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Opposition leader Raila Odinga and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

But he is not the first head of state to be caught in a plagiarism scandal. The Guardian also reported how Nigerian president was caught similar situation.

In September last year, while launching the "Change Begins with Me" campaign in his fight against corruption, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari found himself in an awkward position after his staff lifted President Barack Obama's speech of 2008. Buhari later fired his communications aide.

In the speech, Buhari said: "We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long. Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice. Let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves, but one another."

Obama in his speech said: "Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other. Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers."

US President-elect Donald Trump's wife, Melania, was last year also caught up in plagiarism after she lifted Michelle Obama's speech.

Meanwhile Akufo-Addo pledged to cut taxes to boost the economy protect the public purse. He beat John Dramani Mahama in the peaceful elections a month ago.

"We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy," said Akufo-Addo, wrapped in a traditional kaleidoscopic "kente" robe.

"Ghana is open for business again. I shall protect the public purse by insisting on value for money," he said. "Public service is just that: service," said the president.


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