Ghana’s vice president sworn in hours after President Atta Mills dies at 68 before term ends - The Washington Post
ACCRA, Ghana — President John Atta Mills’ election victory secured Ghana’s reputation as one of the most mature democracies in West Africa, a position further solidified Tuesday when the vice president took over only hours after the 68-year-old president died five months before finishing his first term.
John Mahama’s swift inauguration underscored Ghana’s stability in a part of the world where the deaths of other leaders have sparked coups.
“We are deeply distraught, devastated as a country,” Mahama said after his swearing-in ceremony, where he raised the golden staff of office above his head.
Ghanaian state-run television stations GTV and TV3 broke into their regular programming to announce the president’s death Tuesday afternoon. Government officials did not release the cause of his death, which came three days after his 68th birthday.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “President Mills will be remembered for his statesmanship and years of dedicated service to his country,” according to a statement from his spokesman.
“At this time of national mourning, the secretary-general renews the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the government and the people of Ghana in support of their efforts to consolidate the country’s democratic and development achievements,” the spokesman said.
I think that as Westerners generally, and Americans specifically, we take for granted role of the Vice President. We never expect him or her to serve as President, though we may indeed make sure they're qualified just in case.
We don't expect anyone except for the Vice-President to jump in and take the reigns upon the death of a President. It's all very much ordered chaos. While things may be burning down around him/her, the Vice President is the clear successor.
African nations have not been nearly as successful at maintaining a clear line of succession. I'm glad to see that at least one African nation was able to keep it together. Good Luck President Mahama!