Ghana’s Vice-President John Dramani Mahama has been sworn in as President hours after John Atta Mills’ untimely death.
On Tuesday Ghana’s President John Atta Mills (68) died in the capital, Accra, after a long battle with throat cancer. His death came five months before his term was due to end.
Mills, who won international praise for presiding over a stable model democracy in Africa, was succeeded by Vice-President John Dramani Mahama (53) just hours later.
“We are deeply distraught, devastated as a country,” Mahama said after his swearing-in ceremony, where he raised the golden staff of office above his head.
Mills is the second African president to have died in office this year. In April Malawian President Bingu Mutharika (78) succumbed to a heart attack. Joyce Banda, who succeeded him, is Malawi’s first female President and joins Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as one of two female Presidents in the history of Africa.
In the past five years, the Presidents of Guinea, Tongo, Nigeria, Gabon and Zambia have all died during their regimes. In Ghana’s case, the stability of the country was safeguarded by its constitution, which provides for the immediate appointment of the Vice-President in the event of the President being unable to complete his term for any reason.
Elections for a new Ghanaian President will be held in December.