President John Evans Atta Mills’ passing: Sustaining the gains of democracy

Today a dark shroud of sadness seems to have cascaded over the sub-Saharan nation of Ghana owing to a bright light in the person of H.E. Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, President of the Republic of Ghana being snuffed out today Tuesday 24 July 2012 (BBC, 2012). Condolences to all Ghanaians!

His presidency has been one of selfless leadership and lauded by World leaders like Barack Obama (Obama, 2012). Though leading a seemingly small nation, this year, President Mills was one of the few African leaders invited by President Barack Obama to the G8 summit. This gesture was no doubt a recognition of the strong leadership he has given this beacon of African democracy in a region fraught with conflicts and other anti-democratic forces.

He was set to run for elections late this year but his untimely death has thwarted this plan. Democracy in Africa is a priceless idea and not easy to cement at all. It takes a lot of guts and bravado to stand against the odds and put the interest of the people above all else. President Mills did not begin democracy in Ghana. He has his predecessors to thank for that. Nonetheless it is uncontested that he has sustained and advanced what he inherited.

At times like this when a nation not yet fully established on its feet with fully functioning institutions that uphold and run democracy experience such shocks, it has the tendency of leaving them in a very vulnerable state.

What’s more, shameless hyenas and vultures who prey on vulnerable democracies stand to “gain” from a disintegration of social order in a strategically positioned state like Ghana rich with resources like oil, Gold and Cocoa. These hyenas and vultures could be local and / or international actors and can manifest in and through a variety of avenues. They can manifest through opportunistic opposition parties, segments of disgruntled military, and other unenlightened members of society who live for self aggrandizement and place selfish individual agendas above the interests of the nation as a whole.

For local actors who sometimes are remote-controlled by external hyenas and vultures into withering the gains of democracy, it is this trait of greed and selfishness which forms a chink in their amour making them susceptible to manipulation. Whatever the case, be the hyenas and vultures solely within, without or a combination of both, it is my prayer as a Ghanaian that they  will be kept at bay and Ghana will emerge stronger, more stable, more democratic and prosperous out of this trying season.

The interest of blessed Ghana and her people must reign supreme in the psyche of all actors. If this mindset is adopted, then like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, Ghana will soar as the Eagle braving the storm using the storm’s resistance as leverage to soar high as the famed black star of Africa.


BBC, 2012. Obituary: Ghana’s President John Atta Mills. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 24 July 2012].

Obama, B., 2012. White House. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 July 2012].