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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs