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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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 Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid