Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings, who led the English-speaking West African country for 20 years following a coup d’état first as head of a military regime and then as elected president, died in Korlebu hospital at the age of 73, President Akufo-Addo announced.
Jerry Rawlings, a Charismatic and Integral Dictator
He was born on June 22, 1947 in Accra to a Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother. In 1967 he entered the military academy which he left a year later for the Air Force, where he led a brilliant career as a pilot.
Jerry Rawlings first became known for his image as a young “honest revolutionary” by seizing power by putsch twice in 1979 at the age of 32 and again in 1981 at the age of 34, combining a Che Guevara physique with a national-populist discourse and a “progressive” political lineage.
From 1981, he became head of the “Provisional National Defense Council” for eleven years and led a regime that did not bother about human rights, before having to give in to the multi-party wave at the beginning of the 1990s and create the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Thanks to its rigorous policies, Ghana entered an era of democratization.
Peaceful alternation in Ghana
Enjoying great popularity among the Ghanaian people, on December 7, 1992 he was elected President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, with more than 58% of the votes in a democratic ballot, tarnished by accusations of fraud. On December 7, 1997 he was re-elected in elections considered “transparent”.
After two consecutive terms in office, the alternation of power was carried out in a democratic and peaceful manner. Jerry Rawlings handed over the presidential chair to John Kufuor, candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Since the announcement of his death, a flood of tributes has been pouring in.
A monument has died, it is a great loss for Ghana,” said the president. Flags will be flown at half-mast throughout the country for a national mourning ceremony that will begin Friday and last seven days. The campaign for the presidential election to be held in December is also suspended.Nana Akufo-Addo – Current President of Ghana
“I am announcing the suspension of our political campaign following the news of the death of our party founder and former president of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings (…) May his soul rest in peace.”
John Mahama – National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate and former President of Ghana
“Africa has lost a pillar of pan-Africanism and a charismatic statesman, I extend my sincere condolences to his family, the people and government of Ghana.”
Moussa Faki Mahamat – Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU)