(AFP) – Ghana Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as the west African nation’s new president on Tuesday, hours after the sudden death of president John Atta Mills.
Ghana’s chief justice swore in Mahama before an emergency session of parliament following Mills’ death.
Speaking before parliament shortly after his swearing-in, Mahama pledged to maintain stability and paid tribute to his predecessor.
“I wish Ghanaians to be assured that all is well,” he said. “We are going to maintain the peace, unity and stability that Ghana is noted for.”
Mills’s death came five months before he was to run for re-election in the country seen as a bastion of democracy in west Africa.
The 68-year-old Mills, who oversaw the start of large-scale oil production in Ghana in December 2010, had recently traveled to the United States for a medical check-up, but the cause of his death was not given.
He had recently shown signs of illness, including losing his voice and dropping weight.
Mills died as he was being treated for an unspecified illness at a hospital in the capital Accra. His successor
Mahama was due to give a speech later on Tuesday.
Obama hails Ghana leader for rights, economy work
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama paid tribute to Ghana President John Atta Mills on Tuesday after his sudden death, hailing him as a “strong advocate” for human rights and a tireless champion of his people.
The 68-year-old Mills died Tuesday hours after being taken ill. He had recently traveled to the United States for a medical check-up. The cause of death remained unclear.
“It was with great regret that I learned of the passing of President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana,” Obama said, in a White House statement.
“I will always remember my trip to Ghana in 2009, and the hospitality that President Mills and the people of Ghana showed to me, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and our entire delegation,” he said, also recalling Mills’ US visit this year.
“President Mills tirelessly worked to improve the lives of the Ghanaian people. He helped promote economic growth in Ghana in the midst of challenging global circumstances and strengthened Ghana’s strong tradition of democracy.”
Obama also praised Mills as a “strong advocate for human rights and for the fair treatment of all Ghanaians,” as he offered his condolences to the people of Ghana on behalf of all Americans.
Presidential elections are set for December in Ghana, a country seen as a rare example of stable democracy in West Africa and which recently joined the ranks of the world’s large-scale oil producers.
Mills was set to seek re-election.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Twitter: “Saddened by the death of President John Atta Mills. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and the great people of Ghana.”
Ban Ki-moon praises ‘statesmanship’ of Ghana president
UN leader Ban Ki-moon praised the “statesmanship” of Ghana’s President John Atta Mills who died on Tuesday.
Ban is “saddened” by the announcement of Mills’ death and offered “heartfelt condolences”, said a statement released by his spokesman Martin Nesirky.
“President Mills will be remembered for his statesmanship and years of dedicated service to his country,” the UN leader added in the statement in which he offered UN assistance to Ghana “in support of their efforts to consolidate the country’s democratic and development achievements.”