John Atta Mills dead
President John Atta-Mills died in hospital in Accra yesterday afternoon having suffered from throat cancer. His Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, was sworn in within hours as the new President in accordance with the requirements of the constitution.
Mr Atta-Mills had been nominated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to stand as their presidential candidate in the presidential elections due to take place on 7th December 2012. Although there had been rumours that Mr Atta-Mills had been ill he had insisted that he was doing well. In recent weeks he had been seen less and less, causing the rumour mill to speculate further about his health.
The nomination for the candidacy of the NDC will now be wide open. Even before John Atta-Mills had been confirmed as the NDC presidential candidate there had been a split in the party with wife of former leader Jerry Rawlings, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings leading a faction critical of the work of the president.
The new president, John Dramani Mahama (53), has a history degree and a postgraduate degree in communications studies. He was first elected in 1996 and in 1998 was made Minister for Communications until 2001. After a period in opposition he was confirmed as John Atta-Mills’ Vice president in 2009, a post he held until yesterday.