26 July 2012

John Dramani Mahama sworn in as new President of Ghana following passing of late President John Atta Mills

Ghana News Agency

Accra - Mr John Dramani Mahama was on Tuesday night sworn into office as the President of the Republic of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.

He takes over from the late President Evans Atta Mills, who died at the 37 Military Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after a short illness.

As stipulated by Article 60(6) of the 1992 Constitution, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood administered the Oath of Allegiance and the Presidential Oath to the former Vice President, whom, overwhelmed with emotion and grief, solemnly took the Oath, pledging to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of Ghana.

The event was after the Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford-Addo had summoned the house for an emergency sitting, informing the MP's of the death of the President.

She asked the House to observe a minute's silence in honour of the departed President, after which she called on the members to receive the Vice President into the Chamber amidst the sounds of the Police band that played the national anthem.

President Mahama after taking and signing the oaths, paid tribute to the late President, expressing deep sorrow and describing the incidence as an "unprecedented tragedy".

He said: "For the first time in the history of Ghana, we have lost a sitting president who worked tirelessly for his people".

President Mahama said he never imagined that he would address the nation "in such a difficult circumstance" adding "the event is a tragic one that should maintain the unity and stability of the nation".

He eulogised President Mills, referring to him as his mentor, father, friend and teacher, who dedicated himself to better the life of Ghanaians saying "he brought a distinctive insight into Ghanaian politics".

"He was a good leader and the best tribute to him is to maintain the unity and stability of the nation" and thus there was the need for all flags fly at half mast for the next one week.

The Majority leader, Cletus Avoka, said the House would at the appropriate time pay a befitting tribute to the late President adding "we are lost for words" and moved for adjournment of the House.

Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, in seconding the motion, said the suddenness of the event was a tragic one that had "rendered solemn the spirit of the nation" saying "let the event serve as a fulcrum to unite the nation".

Isaac Osei, MP for Subin, told the GNA tha t the late President was one of the most successful politician that Ghana has ever had because he served twice as Vice President and subsequently became president.

Hassan Ayariga, Flagbearer of the People's National Convention, described the late President Atta Mills as hero even though he was being mourned, saying, "Atta Mills was a man who wanted peace and unity for his people".

People from all sections of the society including diplomats, representatives of political parties, and top government functionaries filled the public and press gallery and the environs of the Parliament to watch the swearing in ceremony of President Mahama.

Both majority and minority members were in mourning clothes, with majority of them spotting red arm and neck bands to express their grief at the loss of the President.