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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs