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“It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the President of the Republic of Ghana- His Excellency, Professor John Evans Atta Mills,” reads the first paragraph of the press statement that announced the death of the 68-year-old president of Ghana.
President Mills studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and received a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He also earned another PhD in Law from London University’s School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS), for successfully completing a thesis about economic development.
President Mills had ruled the country since 2009. Vice-President John Dramani Mahama has taken his place. This sudden and sad death will not affect the December elections, and Ghana’s election commission assured citizens that elections would go as planned.
Mills ran three times for president before winning in the December 2008 elections, barely winning against the candidate from the governing party. He was also planning to run for reelection in the December elections.
The Chief of Staff of the country gave no details about the cause of his death, but it was well known that President Mills suffered from throat cancer. He had recently returned to Ghana after being in the United States for medical purposes.
Ghana in recent years has become one of Africa’s newest oil producers; President Mills won international praise as the leader of a stable democracy in Africa. President Obama even referred to President Mills and his country as a “good-news story” in Africa when Mills visited the White House in March.
During this visit, Obama also stated that ”Ghana has become a wonderful success story economically on the continent.” President Obama added it was “in part because of the initiatives of President Mills, you’ve seen high growth rates over the last several years. Food productivity and food security is up. There’s been strong foreign investment.”
Ghana’s officials have already have already sworn in the new president, who’s first order was that flags should be flown at half mast for a week.
The New Patriotic Party, the opposition party, has expressed its condolences for President Mills death in an official statement which states: “We join the nation in mourning this sad loss to Ghana and extend to his wife and family, our deepest condolences.”
Alfred Sanniez, news editor from Ghana, who works at Toonari Post, referred to President Mills as a leader of peace. Sanniez added that John Atta Mills had great plans for the nation but his health condition didn’t allow him to fulfill all of them because he frequently went to medical check ups. Sanniez explained that although President Mills was frequently criticized by the opposition, today everyone is very sad, both supporters and critics have shown great concern for the tragic loss.