News / Africa

Ghanians Question How President's Death Will Impact Elections

Supporters of Ghana's Ruling National Democratic Congress gather outside the ruling party headquarters in Accra following the death of Ghana's president,July 24, 2012.
Supporters of Ghana's Ruling National Democratic Congress gather outside the ruling party headquarters in Accra following the death of Ghana's president,July 24, 2012.
ACCRA — Ghanaian President John Atta Mills died Tuesday at a military hospital in Accra shortly after taking ill. Following a peaceful transition of power on Tuesday, focus is shifting to how the death of Mills will impact the upcoming elections.
 
Newsstands in Accra ran out of papers with the headline "What a shock: Mills Dead" on Wednesday morning, but life went as normal in the bustling capital of Accra. Analysts say the smooth transition demonstrates the strength of Ghana's democratic institutions.
 
Just hours after the death of Ghanaian President John Atta Mills Tuesday, Vice President John Drahami Mahama took the oath of office to finish out the remaining five months of Mill's term.
 
Mahama addressed the nation Tuesday night.
 
"This is the saddest day in our nation's history, tears have engulfed our nation and we are deeply saddened and distraught," he said. "I never imagined that one day that it would place our nation in such a difficult circumstance. I'm personally devastated - I've lost a father, I've lost a friend, I've lost a mentor and a senior comrade. Ghana is united in grief at this time for our departed president."
 
Mills is remembered for leading the country into a period of rapid economic growth and further solidifying the stability of one of Africa's model democracies.
 
The government's rapid adherence to constitutional protocols in the hours following his passing has won the nation praise both at home and abroad and bode well for the coming elections.
 
"Ghana actually has handled itself very well," said Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the chairman of the lead opposition party, the New Patriotic Party. "We have never been through this before. Yet the transition that we saw today in Parliament has been very well handled, very smooth. We are showing a maturity that must encourage all Ghanaians."
 
Mills was elected president in 2009, following a close runoff election. It was the law professor's third and only successful bid for the presidency.
 
Mills was set to once again face NPP candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, at the polls in December. The NPP said in a statement Akufo-Addo has temporarily suspended his campaign in order to mourn the late president.
 
The elections are expected to go forward as planned, but Mill's death has raised questions about who will replace him on the ruling party ticket.
 
The ruling party headquarters was buzzing with talk that now President Mahama may replace Mills as the party's nominee.
 
"Now that the vice president has taken over as the president he becomes the leader of our party," said Kwame Agyenim-Boateng, the NDC party chairman for expatriates living in the U.S. "So we have a national executive council and they will meet and they will see what to do, maybe to confirm him as the flag bearer."
 
Ruling party supporters like Oheneba Atuahene, 57, said they are ready to throw their support behind Mahama. 

 "We are going to rally around him," said Atuahene. "We are going to give him all the necessary support we give to Professor Atta Mills. So I think there is a bright future."
 
Party members said the meeting to nominate a new candidate should take place soon, but a date has not yet been set.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid