President John Atta Mills dead at 68
Ghana is a nation in shock after learning that President John Atta Mills, who was allegedly suffering from throat cancer, has died in hospital in the capital, Accra. This is the first time that a president has died while in office in Ghana. Although there had been persistent rumours of the president’s ill health his sudden death has taken many people by surprise.
A statement from the president’s office read; “ it is with a heavy heart… that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,”
Hours after the death of Atta Mills an emergency session of Parliament was held. John Dramani Mahama, his vice-president, has been sworn in as his replacement in a ceremony in the capital. All flags were flown at half mast as Ghana began a national period of mourning.
US President Barack Obama who historically visited Ghana in 2009 paid tribute to the President, praising Mr Atta Mills as a “strong advocate for human rights and for the fair treatment of all Ghanaians”, according to a White House statement. Other tributes came in from the Presidents of Kenya and Liberia.
Ghana is hailed as a solid democracy in Africa, so Atta Mills’ sudden death should not spark a political crisis but will certainly test the country’s democratic institutions. As Vice-President John Dramani Mahama steps in as interim head of state, the question people are asking in the Ghana is: “Who is going to run for president with the ruling NDC party in December?” The obvious choice would be Mahama but who knows.
Now I have to admit I have not been a supporter and the NDC. However it is a sad day when your head of state passes. Ghanaians should use his death as a catalyst for increased unity especially in light of the upcoming elections at the end of year.
Thus the best tribute Ghana can give to Atta Mills is peaceful elections in December. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the late president.
Any comments and condolence messages will be welcomed. God bless our homeland Ghana
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (Kwesi)