News / Africa

Ghana's President John Atta Mills Dead at 68

Ghana's President John Evans Atta Mills.
Ghana's President John Evans Atta Mills.
Anne Look

DAKAR — Ghana's president, John Atta Mills, died Tuesday at a military hospital in Accra shortly after falling ill.  Officials did not give a cause of death.  Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in to finish Mills's term.  

President John Atta Mills died five months short of finishing his first term in office and only days after celebrating his 68th birthday.  He was set to run for a second term in elections planned for December 7.  His death has taken the nation by surprise.

Shopkeeper Teresa Ayerakwo closed her shop early on Tuesday.  "In fact, today I am sad.  I won't eat today.  Never.  My husband is dead, but today's death is very, very paining for me.  He is a Christian.  He was nice to everybody, how he speak, he's very gentle, you see, and he care for us.  I don't think I can vote again.  Never.  Very painful for me," she said. 
 

  • 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.
Mills was elected president in 2009, following a close runoff election that was praised by observers as a free, fair and peaceful transition of power.  It was his third and only successful bid for the presidency. 

The Ghanaian leader reiterated his commitment to political stability during a visit with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in March. 

"We have an election this year, but we are going to ensure there is peace before, during and after.  When there is no peace, it is not the leaders who suffer, it is the ordinary people who have elected us into office.  So we have a big challenge, and we know that some of our friends in Africa are looking up to us, and we dare not fail them," he said. 

Watch VOA's Shaka Ssali's '09 interview with President Mills


During the past two years, Mills presided over one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  But he faced some criticism that Ghana's economic boom has yet to include average citizens who face high rates of unemployment and poverty. 


Supporters like Efua Mensima say they are sad Mills will not be able to finish what he started.

"I miss him, I miss him.  I miss him personally and I miss his visions for Ghana.  I miss what he lived for, for everybody to create an enabling environment; for everybody to work, earn a living; for everybody to get free access to education, to health, to social activities like recreation and, well, for everybody to live and enjoy as a human," he said. 

A distinguished law professor and taxation expert, Mills taught at the University of Ghana for more than 25 years.

He served in various financial posts in government before taking on the role of vice president from 1997 to 2000 under Ghana's military dictator and later elected president, J.J. Rawlings.

Mills was known to be a soft-spoken politician, a devout Christian and an avid hockey player.

Laura Burke contributed reporting from Cape Coast, Ghana.
 

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Mataesanqua from: South Africa
August 06, 2012 7:20 AM
shwame i wanda what's the cause but his death should teach others countries a lesson not to elect elderly people now it's the time for the youth to rule the world.........may his soul rest in peace......my condelences to his family


by: Daniel Aniekwe from: Enugu, Nigeria
July 30, 2012 5:15 AM
May His gentle soul rest in perfect peace. RIPP.


by: Sweetie from: Tabora
July 28, 2012 12:24 PM
I believe strongly deep down within my heart that my only President Fiifi is not dead.


by: Ophelia from: kumasi Ghana
July 25, 2012 10:56 AM
The death of our president is a big blow to us all. it is not easy at all accepting it.God help Ghana.

In Response

by: P. FourStars from: USA
July 25, 2012 11:41 AM
I just recievied news this Wednesday mourning from two of my closest Ghanian friends that Mr President Mills has passed earlier today. Sad news indeed. My heart goes out to all of Ghana and it's respected citizens. Much love to all of you. Please keep God close to your hearts. You must pray for Gods protection and for a stable society,


by: John Adams from: UK
July 25, 2012 10:28 AM
Pay tribute to John Evans Atta Mills memory on his online memorial! http://www.memmento.com/Memorial-at-Memmento/737/John-Atta-Mills


by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 7:11 AM
how did he die


by: katty from: tema
July 25, 2012 7:08 AM
how did this sad event occur



by: Zigah from: Accra
July 25, 2012 6:47 AM
A very humble and hardworking president who had great love for his country. We will surely miss this great man


by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,vihiga.
July 25, 2012 6:43 AM
may he rest in christ please whilst waiting to meet again with those of us still on earth.death is never untimely,its only unexpected..and the reason we might feel sorry is because death is no different from being lonely...only GOD allows death even when targeted by people..may ghanians be strong during this unavoidable fact in mans life cycle.


by: Miss Attah from: Accra
July 25, 2012 5:00 AM
I am not an NDC sympathizer, but his death is something I never anticipated.... I'm still overwhelmed and shocked by this event.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid