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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid