“Whatever form of government we adopt as a people to suit our peculiar circumstances, our basic tenet is our common yearning and concern for every individual; for politics, whatever its colour must be an avenue to serve our fellow men”.Jerry John Rawlings (1947-2020)
Jerry Rawlings popularly called J.J Rawlings, former president of Ghana has been announced dead following reports of illness allegedly linked to complications from COVID-19.
An official statement from his family posted on his verified Facebook page confirmed that he died on Thursday from a brief illness. Rawlings’ family said it needed privacy at the moment and that a date will be announced later for his burial, according to the statement.
This is coming three weeks after Jerry Rawlings buried his mother, which ultimately lead to his illness and admission at the nation’s hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, the country’s capital. He died at 73.
Rawlings was a former Ghanaian military leader and subsequent politician who led a military junta from 1981 until 1992.
Born on the 22nd of June 1947, Rawlings served as the democratically elected President of Ghana from January 1993 to January 2001 for two terms.
Rawlings who has a Ghanaian mother and Scottish father attended Achimota School where he bagged a General Certificate of Education ‘O’ Level in 1966.
After his ‘O’ Level, Rawlings became a Flight Cadet at the Ghana Air force in 1967 where he joined the Cadet training unit at the Ghana Military Academy and Training School.
In 1969, he graduated as a commissioned Pilot Officer graduating with the “Speed Bird Trophy” as best cadet in flying and airmanship and in 1978 he progressed further to the rank of Flight-Lieutenant.
On May 28, 1979, Flight.-Lieutenant. Rawlings joined six military officers to present before the court on what was described as a failed coup attempt.
Jerry Rawlings’ Antecedents in Power
Before the former president came to power, he was said to have led an unsuccessful coup attack against the then ruling military government in 1979 which he said was corrupt.
Shortly after that, he overthrew the Supreme Military Council (SMC) government in a coup to oust the Akuffo Government and Supreme Military Council which became his first successful coup attempt after which he formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to take over power.
He handed over power to a civilian government led by Dr Hilla Limann afterwards.
Rawlings second coup was in 1981 when he removed the civilian government of Hilla Limann in replacement formed the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) which took over government.
Rawlings was the PNDC leader from 1982 to 1992 until the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded that the country operates as a democratic state.
Under democratic rule, Rawlings formed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which made Ghana hold a general election he won and became Ghana’s leader for eight more years from 1992 to 2000.
Sources say that Jerry Rawlings is widely cited by some people as one of Ghana’s best presidents. But on another had, his legacy is seen to complicated especially by his association with political violence as a military dictator who ushered neoliberalism.
Furthermore, While Rawlings’ political interventions have been said to have sought to address the economic hardships experienced by the vast majority of Ghana’s population, Rawlings’ rhetoric was ultimately moral rather than economic according politivial thought leaders.
However, Rawlings and the PNDC were hailed for their empowerment of Local Defense Committees (LDCs) to root out corruption at the community level.
The result was a form of democratic authoritarianism to which all citizens were subject.
Former President Rawlings death is happening in less than a month to Ghana’s 2020 Presidential election in which he is gunning support for former President John Mahama’s re-election plan for the December 7th election against current President Nana Akufo Addo.
African Leaders pay tribute to Ghana’s former president, Jerry Rawlings
A few African leaders upon receiving the news of Jerry John Rawlings’ death, have paid respect to the former President who has been described as a foremost African statesman.
George Weah, Liberia’s president has commiserate via a tweet on his official twitter page with the people of Ghana over the demise of their leader.
Weah’s tweet which confirms Rawlings death says he will be missed by Ghana, Liberia and Africa go miss a great leader.
In a tweet written in French by its President, Roch KABORE, Ghana’s Northern neighbour, Burkina has also described Rawlings’ demise as a big loss to Africa.
NIgeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar has described Rawlings an an African giant who still stood for African unity and renaissance even after he left office in 2001.
Kenya’s Former Anti-Corruption Commission and Pan-Africanist, Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba (Popularly called Professor PLO) in his commiseration tribute to Rawlings called on all to honour the Ghana’s longest serving leader by emulating his courage and candour.
In the spirit of mourning Jerry Rawlings, Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani has suspended his campaign tour which is expected to last for six (6) days in the Ashanti region with immediate effect following the death of the Ghana’s former president.
This is according to a statement released by his campaign team release, which stated the reason as being the news of Rawlings’ demise.
The campaign team has described Rawlings as an iconic figure and founder of the NDC.