Ghanaian President Mills sadly passes away
Ghanaian president, John Evans Atta Mills, has sadly died this week aged 68. He had been suffering from throat cancer and was taken to hospital on Tuesday at midday, but later died of cardiac arrest.
Across the political divide and the country as a whole, people expressed their grief and paid their respects. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, the Chair of the opposition New Patriotic Party said:
This is our president who has died in office, we join all Ghanaians in mourning, we send our deepest condolences to his wife and family.
Following closely fought rounds of elections between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the former opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mills was inaugurated on 7 January 2009. During his term Mills presided over one of the fastest growing economies in the world and initiated Ghana's first ever oil production, but did face some criticism that Ghana's economic boom has yet to include average citizens who face high rates of unemployment and poverty.
Colourful Radio Presenter Henry Bonsu reflecting on Mills’ passing believes that after eight years of stability under NPP’s John Kufour, and having to contend with the shadow left by the NDC’s long-serving leader Jerry Rawlings, Mills had to establish his own vision and had plans to continue his work in his second term.
Bonsu believes that his detractors criticised him for squandering Ghana’s golden goose oil production and his proponents noted his promotion of stability and the unification of the nation. He further argues that we should not get carried away with this issue; Mills was an erudite and educated man, but Ghana is still a country with much poverty and suffering; perhaps his vision did not quite embody the hopes the economic boom created for the people.
Over the coming days and weeks, Ghana will mourn the loss of their President. No president has ever died in office since independence, and the former vice president, John Dramani Mahama, has been sworn in to Ghana’s Parliament House as the interim leader, until the December presidential election.
I am looking ahead with great anticipation of a robust political battle between the NPP and NDC at the next election with the spirit of energy and decency with the overriding concerns and will of the Ghanaian people expressed.
After reflecting on the condolences and the legacy of Mills, the new leader will need to move decisively to establish a vision not just for the people in Ghana, but for the Diaspora too.