Ghana has long been one of Africa’s bright spots, politically speaking. It is stable, if not prosperous, and has seen peaceful transitions of power since it became a democracy in 1992. And Saturday, Ghanaians gathered in Independence Square, to witness another: the inauguration of Nana Akufo-Addo as the country’s fifth elected president.
But the moment of pride was tarnished when Akufo-Addo lifted lines in his 30-minute speech word for word from the inaugural addresses of two U.S. presidents.
The first came from George W. Bush’s speech in 2001. “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation. Let us work until the work is done,” he said — or, well, they both said.
And then came a line straight from Bill Clinton’s 1993 speech, substituting Ghanains for Americans: “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.”
The president’s aide apologized.