Skip to main content

Ghana mourns as President John Atta Mills is buried

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
World leaders and mourners gathered Friday in Accra for the funeral service of late Ghanaian president John Evans Atta Mills, who died at a military hospital on June 24 after a period of illness. World leaders and mourners gathered Friday in Accra for the funeral service of late Ghanaian president John Evans Atta Mills, who died at a military hospital on June 24 after a period of illness.
HIDE CAPTION
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
Meeting U.S. president Barack Obama
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
John Atta Mills funeral held in Ghana
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Doves are released into the air as mourners pay respects to their late leader
  • NEW: Mills is laid to rest near Osu Castle in Accra, the capital of Ghana
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among the visiting dignitaries
  • John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as the new president within hours of Mills' death

Accra, Ghana (CNN) -- Thousands of mourners gathered Friday in the West African nation of Ghana to pay their respects to the late President John Atta Mills, as his funeral was held in the capital, Accra.

Mills died last month at age 68, prompting outpourings of grief from many Ghanaians.

Ghanaians from all walks of life, many dressed in the traditional black and red of mourning, thronged Independence Square in Accra to witness the ceremony, in a show of national unity.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among the many foreign dignitaries who traveled to Ghana for the funeral.

Ghana in mourning after president dies

Ghana's Deputy Minister of Information Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa said 67 foreign delegations were represented from all over the world.

More than 15 heads of state, including almost all the West African leaders, attended the ceremony, which ended with the release of 100 doves into the air.

Can Ghana's economy prosper against the odds?

After the ceremony, the casket was laid to rest near Osu Castle, the seat of government where Mills had lived and worked since he became president.

The late president's body was laid out for public viewing Wednesday and Thursday. Some of the visiting heads of state took turns to file past the body Friday morning.

Giant screens were set up around the country for those who could not travel to Accra to watch the ceremony.

One Ghanaian mourner at the funeral said he prayed for the sense of unity that has followed Mills' death to continue.

"I'm confident we will have an even more peaceful election this December because most Ghanaians I have spoken to say they enjoy the atmosphere and will urge the politicians to keep it that way", he said.

Mills died suddenly at a military hospital a few hours after becoming ill, his Chief of Staff John Henry Martey Newman said in a statement at the time. The president had denied rumors about his health for months before his death.

John Dramani Mahama, formerly Ghana's vice president, was sworn in as the country's new president within hours of his death on July 24.

Ghana swears in new president after leader's death

Taking office, he paid tribute to Mills as a "prince of peace" who "brought a distinctive insight into Ghanaian politics."

Mills, a former law professor and a tax expert, was Ghana's vice president from 1997 to 2000.

He became president in 2009, narrowly winning a runoff vote, having unsuccessfully run for the top office in 2000 and 2004.

Before his political career, he taught at the University of Ghana and also was a visiting lecturer at Temple University in Pennsylvania and Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Mills' death came several days after he celebrated his 68th birthday. He had said he would run for re-election in December.

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Mills when he visited Ghana in July 2009. Obama praised the country as a model for democracy and stability when Mills visited Washington this year, saying that it had become "a wonderful success story economically on the continent."

British Prime Minister David Cameron described Mills as "a tireless defender of democracy in West Africa and across the continent."

Part of a former British colony, Ghana was among the first African countries to gain independence, in 1957. It endured a series of coups before a military dictator, Jerry Rawlings, took power in 1981. Rawlings led Ghana through a transition to democracy about 10 years later.

Journalist Israel Laryea contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
African Voices
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Australia's Tim Cahill appeals to the linesman after a disallowed goal during the Group B match between Chile and Australia at Arena Pantanal on June 13, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Kenya's national football team may not have made it to the World Cup Finals in Brazil -- but one man will be there for his African nation.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1044 GMT (1844 HKT)
African contemporary art is thriving, says author Chibundu Onuzo.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Mulenga Kapwepwe
Mulenga Kapwepwe has single-handedly created an explosion of arts in Zambia.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Wegkruipertjie, a short film playing at the Durban International Festival
From Ghanaian rom-coms to documentaries celebrating 20 years of South African democracy, festival-goers are spoiled for choice at this year's Durban Film Fest.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Kalibala with one of the children she supports.
In 2010, Ugandan journalist Gladys Kalibala embarked on a mission to bring attention to her country's lost and abandoned children.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Sunset at Camps Bay with one of Andrew van de Merwe.
A trip to the beach is usually for lounging in the sun. But for Andrew van de Merwe, the sand stretches in front of him as an enormous blank canvas.
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Esther Mbabazi, Rwanda's first female pilot
Esther Mbabazi wheels her bag towards the airstairs of the Boeing 737 sitting quietly on the tarmac at Kigali International Airport.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1122 GMT (1922 HKT)
Jun 1978: Filbert Bayi #42 of Tanzania rounds the bend during the 5000 Metre event at the AAA Championships in Crystal Palace, London.
He's smashed world records and revolutionized running during his career. And yet the name of Filbert Bayi has largely been forgotten.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Nelson Mandela
Adrian Steirn and the 21 ICONS team have captured intimate portraits of some of South Africa's most celebrated. Here he reveals the story behind the photographs.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0926 GMT (1726 HKT)
Explore a series of artistic street portraits designed to pay tribute to the people of the Sudanese capital.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
A growing list of popular African authors have been steadily picking up steam --and fans -- across the globe over the last several years.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
South Africa Music Legends stamps
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic musical legends from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
David Kinjah njau and Davidson Kamau kihagi of Kenya in action during stage 2 of the 2007 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race.
He's one of Kenya's premier cyclists but David Kinjah's better known as the man that trained Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
Each week African Voices brings you inspiring and compelling profiles of Africans across the continent and around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT