Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 11:35 PM EDT, 24 July 2012
Mills governed the country from 2009 to 2012 and had planned to run for a second term on 7 December 2012.
President Mills is the first Ghanaian head of state to die in office, and immediately following the announcement of his passing, Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in to finish the remaining five months of Mills' term.
Mills was a seasoned political official serving in various capacities within the Ghanaian government after a 25-year tenure as a law professor at the University of Ghana. Shortly before becoming president he served as vice president of President J.J. Rawlings who was widely regarded as a military dictator.
The 2009 election was Mills’ third run for the highest office in the nation, and though the election was extremely close, independent observers praised the process as free and fair which resulted in a peaceful transition of power. Under Mills’ leadership Ghana experienced strong economic gains to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
According to Reuters, Mills reiterated his commitment to political stability during a visit with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in March. Many Ghanaians are devasted by the loss of this pragmatic leader who recognized that success is not so much about power as it is about peace and mutual benefit.
”When there is no peace, it is not the leaders who suffer; it is the ordinary people who have elected us into office. So we have a big challenge, and we know that some of our friends in Africa are looking up to us, and we dare not fail them." (President John Atta Mills)Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias