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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Kobby Danzerl-Amedson from: Accra, Ghana
July 25, 2012 4:30 AM
We fail to notice a hero and good leader when his is alive. Its only after his/her death that we begin to understand his philosophy and ideals he stood for. I never enjoyed politics but can confidently say, that President Mills was the most selfless leader Ghana ever had. Nkrumah was over-ambitious about Africa but Mills over-ambition was for his nation, Ghana and its people.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 25, 2012 3:43 AM
I mourn the untimely death of sitting presitent of Ghana. I understand he was surely a faithful politician when I watched him speaking gently.


by: Jah Crucial from: Accra
July 24, 2012 11:54 PM
It is rather unfortunate that we lost him, he was a good man, but Ghanaians must use this medium to crave for a better leadership so far as their econo-political issues are concerned. RIP Mr President, Damirifa.

In Response

by: jamal from: tamale
July 25, 2012 2:38 PM
I mourn the untimely death of sitting presitent of Ghana. I understand he was surely a faithful politician when I watched him speaking gently.
may he rest in perfect peace ..?


by: Edward John from: Liberia
July 24, 2012 6:13 PM
Africa has lost another Legend, i think this is a sad day for us as Africans as we morn the death of such an icon,, my condolence goes out to all Ghanian especially the Family of the professor.


by: oko burgesson from: atomic hill estates,accra
July 24, 2012 4:42 PM
what a shock for ghanaians. may his soul rest in peace and God bless Ghana


by: clifford from: hackensack,nj
July 24, 2012 4:39 PM
president mills RIP, you are gone but not forgotten


by: lois from: accra
July 24, 2012 2:42 PM
actually, when he was president, other politicians took advantage of his illness to steal money.i'm sure he'll have more peace dead than when he was alive.


by: samuel from: Lashibi
July 24, 2012 2:22 PM
the presidents death is an untimely one.He was very useful to Ghana very much irespectful of the bad comments people give about him.GOD KNOWS BEST


by: Lartey from: Accra
July 24, 2012 1:50 PM
He was a great president Ghana and the whole of Africa has lost.He took our presidency to a higher level.He will be missed greatly.

In Response

by: mary from: uganda
July 25, 2012 3:03 AM
What a loss, we the people of Africa will surely miss him. He was a role model not only to the people of Ghana but to the entire African Continent. I pray that other leaders will emulate him, a man of integrity, humility and God fearing. To me i looked at him as the King David of this generation. May God strengthen the people of Ghana and bring you a better leader....

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid