International leaders have described the late president of Ghana John Atta Mills as a champion of democracy in a turbulent region. The remarks come as condolences pour in following the death of Mills in the capital Accra.
The Ghanaian president's office says 68-year old Mills died last night. In a statement, British Prime Minister David Cameron described Mills as a tireless defender of democracy in West Africa and across the continent.
When he met with Mills earlier this year, US President Barack Obama praised the country as a model for democracy and stability. Also joining world leaders in sending their condolences, President Jacob Zuma has said in a statement that: “Our hearts and prayers are with the family of president Mills.”
Zuma says South Africa and Ghana enjoy strong relations at both bilateral and multilateral levels, saying under Mills' leadership, there were genuine efforts aimed at deepening the historical relations between the two nations.
Ghana's presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for December, will not be affected by Mills’ sudden death
South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, has expressed its shock and sent condolences to the Ghanaian leadership and nation, on Mills’ passing. ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza has described Mills as a good leader who spearheaded the growth of Ghana's economy.
Meanwhile, Ghana's presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for December, will not be affected by Mills’ sudden death. Ghana's Electoral Commission has indicated that the polls will go ahead as scheduled. Elections chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has told news agencies that it's up to the ruling National Democratic Congress to replace Mills.
Mills was inaugurated as president in January 2009 and was due to stand for re-election later this year. His deputy, John Mahara, has been sworn in. According to the Constitution, he's to serve Mills's outstanding term until the next elections.