News / Africa

Ghana Mourns Death of President After Peaceful Transfer of Power

Former Ghanaian Vice President John Mahama is seated after being sworn in as President, July 24, 2012.
Former Ghanaian Vice President John Mahama is seated after being sworn in as President, July 24, 2012.
VOA News
People across Ghana are mourning the sudden death of president John Atta Mills, as the country's vice president was sworn-in to serve out the remainder of his term.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama took the oath of office Tuesday evening, hours after officials announced the death of Mills.

In an address Tuesday night, Mahama described the death as "the saddest day in [the] nation's history." He added that Ghanaians are "united in grief" for their departed president.

No public announcement has been made about the cause of Mills death, or when a funeral will be held.

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, center, pays her respects after signing the guest book for Ghana's late President John Atta Mills' funeral in Accra, Ghana, August 10, 2012.
  • People walk to pay tribute to late President John Atta Mills at the parliament in Accra, Ghana, August 9, 2012.
  • A hearse carries the body of late President John Atta Mills to the parliament in Accra, Ghana, August 8, 2012.
  • Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama (C) arrives for the beginning of the three days of funeral ceremonies for late President John Atta Mills, Accra, Ghana, August 8, 2012.
  • Ghana President John Atta Mills attends the Chicago Council's Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, May 18, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama sits with Ghana's President John Atta Mills, right, and President Yayi Boni of Benin during a luncheon on Food Security at the G-8 Summit at Camp David, May 19, 2012.
  • John Atta Mills visits the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and talks with specialist Jennifer Klesaris December 15, 2011.
  • Ghana's President John Atta Mills, right, gestures as he speaks after being sworn in as the country's new president during a ceremony in Accra, Ghana, January 7, 2009.
  • John Atta Mills after he won the presidency of Ghana, January 3, 2009.

The smooth transition of power underscores Ghana's role as one of the continent's most stable democracies. It also is a large-scale oil producer, has vast gold mines and is the world's second largest cocoa exporter.

The 68-year-old Mills was elected in a 2008 vote and was expected to run in December's presidential election.

The main opposition New Patriotic Party has suspended its campaign to honor Mills and to help unite the nation.

Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey praised Ghana's handling of the crisis.

"We are showing a maturity that must encourage all Ghanaians," he said.

Political analyst Emmanuel Akwetey, executive director of the Institute for Democratic Governance, told VOA that he expects the ruling National Democratic Congress Party to name Mahama as its candidate. He noted that Mahama campaigned with the late president and the time remaining before the vote is short.

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