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Mahama sworn in as Ghana president

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Image: John Dramani Mahama

John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as Ghana’s new president last night, hours after the death of President John Atta Mills, who won international praise for presiding over a stable model democracy in Africa.

At a solemn ceremony in the capital Accra, Chief Justice Theodora Georgina Wood swore in Mahama, who will complete Mills’ term that was due to expire at elections in December.

Moments after he was sworn in, the new president described Mills’s death as “an unprecedented tragedy.”

“The President was taken ill around noon today and he was rushed to the 37 Military Hospital, and try as the military team did they were not able to avert this tragic loss,” Mahama said.

“The President passed away at 14.15 hours this afternoon. This is the saddest day in our country’s history….Ghana is united in grief,” he added.

Mills had celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday and his unexpected death at a hospital in Accra came months before he was due to stand for re-election in December.

No details were officially given on what caused the death of Mills, but a presidential aide, who asked not to be named, told Reuters news agency the president had complained of pains on Monday evening.

In line with Ghana’s constitution, Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, who is 53, took the oath of office as head of state before a sombre parliament hours after the announcement of Mills’ death.

Amid swirling rumours about his ill health, Mills had returned from medical checks in the United States a few weeks ago. Some reports by local newspapers speculated he had throat cancer, other reports mentioned a sinus-related affliction.

Ghana’s election commission said December’s presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned.

Some analysts questioned whether Mills’ death might open up a presidential candidacy battle inside the ruling National Democratic Congress party before the elections. The party will hold an emergency congress to elect a new presidential candidate to contest the vote.

Trained as a lawyer and taxation expert, Mills had overseen Ghana’s emergence as one of Africa’s newest oil producers two years ago, earning respect at home and abroad for his economic policies and commitment to democracy and good governance.

Ghana has seen democratic elections decide its leadership no fewer than four times since the last military coup in 1981, a rare feat in a region where power is still just as often determined by the bullet as by the ballot.

The new caretaker president, Mahama, has just published a book entitled “My First Coup d’Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa”, a memoir of his early years in the often turbulent events that followed Ghana’s 1957 independence from Britain

Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, sent his condolences to the government and people of Ghana on the passing on of President Mills.

“He was a good man. A patriotic man, highly committed to the progress of his country and its people,” Tinubu said in a statement in Lagos. “He was dedicated to the ideals of democracy and the development of his country.”

Article Credit:Dailytrust News

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Updated 6 Years ago

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