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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December 2004, 11:32 GMT
Profile: Ghana's 'gentle giant'
President John Kufuor
President Kufuor towers over his friends and opponents alike
Ghana's re-elected President John Kufuor accepts that he may not be the world's most charismatic politician but remains unapologetic.

"If boredom gives us peace and stability for people to go about their normal businesses and live in dignity," he told the BBC's Mark Doyle earlier this year, "then I would say let's have more boredom."

Most of Ghana's West African neighbours have experienced long, brutal civil wars, military coups or are struggling with grinding poverty.

If this is "interesting", "boring" could well be the better option, Mr Kufuor believes.

His predecessor as Ghana's leader, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, was certainly "interesting".

A man known for speaking his mind, he twice seized power in military coups and his regimes are accused of orchestrating human rights abuses, including torture and the killing of its opponents.

Mr Rawlings did, however, restore multi-party elections and stepped down in 2000 after two terms in office.

Even Mr Kufuor's re-election campaign slogan, "So far, so good", hardly seems designed to inspire strong emotions.

But again, in an African context where many voters fear that elections equal violence, that may have been deliberate.

Football chairman

Mr Kufuor, known as the "gentle giant" as he towers over his friends and opponents alike at 1.82m (6'4"), has had a good week.

He celebrated his 66th birthday on the day between polling day and the day his victory was confirmed.

Mr Kufuor's supporters celebrating
Kufuor's team will now focus on fighting poverty
During his first term in office, his reforms led to an improvement in Ghana's economic situation, with inflation down from 40% to 12% and national income growing by 5% a year.

But many ordinary Ghanaians have not felt the benefit of these reforms, as the president's press secretary Kwabena Agyepong acknowledged.

"We need to work much harder to bring the fruits of economic progress to the people of Ghana," he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Kufuor's peaceful presidency combined with the promise of spreading prosperity was enough to convince a majority of the electorate that "boring is best".

He also increased his share of the vote from the 2000 election, when he needed a second round to defeat John Atta Mills, from Mr Rawlings' National Democratic Congress.

Mr Kufuor studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University in the UK, before becoming a lawyer.

However, he did not have the time to practise much before returning home to become an MP and deputy foreign minister at the tender age of 30.

He becomes from the central town of Kumasi, base of one of Ghana's biggest ethnic groups, the Ashanti.

He is married with five children and is a former chairman of one of Ghana's biggest football clubs, Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

Q&A: Ghana votes
03 Dec 04 |  Africa
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28 Sep 04 |  Africa
Taking the pulse of Ghana
18 Oct 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Ghana
17 Jul 04 |  Country profiles

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