Former President Jerry John Rawlings’ role in Ghana’s political history is ineffaceable, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said.
“… [And] his fight for the poor and his impact on national cohesion and discipline is unforgettable,” the Vice President added of the late former President in a short Facebook statement Thursday.
Former President Rawlings died at 10:10 am on Thursday, 12 November 2020, at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, where he was receiving treatment, after a short illness.
“Ghana has lost a colossus and his fond memories will forever live.
“My condolences to the former First Lady, Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the children, the allied families and the nation as a whole,” said Bawumia.
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo directed all national flags to fly at half-mast for the next seven days in all parts of the country in honour of late former President Jerry John Rawlings.
In a statement announcing the death of the former military ruler turned democrat, President Akufo-Addo also declared a seven-day national mourning from Friday, 13th November to Friday, 20th November.
He further added that “the Vice President and I have suspended our political campaigns for the same period.”
Who was Rawlings?
Jerry John Rawlings was born on 22 June 1947 is a former Ghanaian military leader and subsequent politician who ruled the country from 1981 to 2001 and also for a brief period in 1979.
He led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana.
Rawlings initially came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d’état in 1979. Prior to that, he led an unsuccessful coup attempt against the ruling military government on 15 May 1979, just five weeks before scheduled democratic elections were due to take place.
After initially handing power over to a civilian government, he took back control of the country on 31 December 1981 as the Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).
In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and became the first President of the Fourth Republic. He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.
After two terms in office, the limit according to the Ghanaian Constitution, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as presidential candidate in 2000.
Until his death he served as the African Union envoy to Somalia.