Former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings Dies, Aged 73

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Former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings has reportedly died from Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related health complications.

TheCable reports that the ex-President drew his last breathe at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, the Ghanaian capital on Thursday morning.

Close family sources said he had been on admission at the hospital for about a week for an undisclosed ailment, which insiders claimed were COVID-19 related.

Reports said Rawlings, who was born on June 22, 1947, felt sick after his mother’s burial about three weeks ago.

Fearless and smooth talking, the former military ruler turned politician led a military junta that held sway between 1981 and 1992. He then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana from January 7, 1993 to January 6, 2001.

A Flight Lieutenant in the Ghanaian Air Force, Rawlings first staged military coup d’etat as a young revolutionary on May 15, 1979 against the government of General Fred Akuffo, five weeks before scheduled elections to return the country to civilian rule.

When it failed, he was arrested by the Ghanaian Military, imprisoned, publicly court-martialed and sentenced to death, “though his statements on the social injustices that motivated his actions won him civilian sympathy” according to Wikipedia’s account.

However, while awaiting execution, mother luck smiled on Rawlings as he sprung from custody on June 4, 1979 to lead a group of young officers that took over the reins of power in the West African country.

“Shortly afterwards, Rawlings established and became the Chairman of a 15-member Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), primarily composed of junior officers. He and the AFRC ruled for 112 days and arranged the execution by firing squad of eight military officers, including Generals Kotei, Joy Amedume, Roger Felli, and Utuka, as well as the three former heads of state: Afrifa, Acheampong, and Akuffo.

“The executions were dramatic events in Ghana history, which had suffered few instances of political violence. Rawlings later implemented a much wider “house-cleaning exercise” involving the killings and abduction of over 300 Ghanaians”, Wikipedia recounted.

After initially handing power over to a civilian government, he took back control of the country on December 31, 1981 as Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

Resigning from the military, Rawlings founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and became the first President of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. He was re-elected in 1996 for another four years.

Serving out his two terms in office, the limit allowed by the Ghanaian constitution, Rawlings threw his weight behind his then Vice President John Atta Mills as the NDC’s presidential candidate in year 2000.

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