Africa bids farewell to Ghana’s late leader

By IndepthAfrica
In Ghana
Aug 10th, 2012
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The coffin of late President John Atta Mills is carried to the parliament in Accra August 8, 2012. Ghana on Wednesday began three days of funeral rites for Mills, with his body to lie in state ahead of his August 10 burial. REUTERS/Yaw Bibini (GHANA – Tags: POLITICS OBITUARY)

Ghana’s late president John Atta Mills is being laid to rest in a service attended by international dignitaries and African leaders. Mills died suddenly in July, reportedly with throat cancer.

Mills’ death on July 24 came five months ahead of a planned bid for re-election. He came to power in 2008 and was credited with helping build Ghana’s oil wealth in a transparent way.

His burial on Friday will end a three-day funeral in the capital Accra, but around the country, districts and groups have held their own services to bid farewell to the popular 68-year-old.

Ghana’s new President John Dramani Mahama arrives at the funeral of late President John Atta Mills.

John Dramani Mahama was named as Ghana’s new president

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is finishing an 11-day tour of Africa, was due to attend the main service. Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Senagal’s Macky Sall and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe are also expected to attend the ceremony.

“He was like a brother to me. I will surely miss him,” Gnassingbe said.

Tens of thousands of people were expected to gather in central Accra’s Independence Square for the service, and around the city giant screens were installed at key points.

Thousands filed past Mills’ open casket on Wednesday and Thursday, as his body lay in state at the government’s State House.

Mills was widely known in the country of 25 million people as the so-called ‘prince of peace’ for his dedication to human rights.

He died suddenly after reportedly battling throat cancer, which he did not disclose to his supporters. Ghana’s new president has been named as John Dramani Mahama, a former historian and journalist, who is expected to stand for election in the place of Mills.

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