- "A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss," thus mourned the current Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo, in a statement.
- The Presidency also announced seven days of national mourning, half-mast flags, and promised a "proper" state funeral for the deceased politician.
- Rawlings led two military coups and also won two presidential elections.
Ghana’s former President, Jerry Rawlings, has died, his party said in a statement Thursday. Rawlings, a long-serving Ghanaian President, who led the West African state for two decades, died at the age of 73 in a hospital in the nation’s capital, Accra. He had been battling an undisclosed illness.
Official sources confirmed Thursday that the veteran politician had been admitted therein for the past week. “A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss,” Ghana’s current President, Nana Akufo-Addo, said in mourning.
In a statement, he reported that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) temporarily suspended his campaigns ahead of the country’s next general elections, scheduled for December 7.
The Presidency also announced seven days of national mourning, half-mast flags, and promised a “proper” state funeral for the deceased politician.
According to the Ghanian local media, Graphic Online, Rawlings began to feel unwell after his mother’s funeral, about three weeks ago, and finally perished on Thursday at the Korle Bu University Hospital (KBTH).
The former president’s mother, Madam Victorial Agbotui, died in September 2020 at age 101, and was buried on October 24, 2020. That was the last time that the ex-president, Rawlings was seen in public.
“I have announced the suspension of my tour of the Ashanti Region and all NDC campaigns across the country following news of the passing of our founder and former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings. May his soul Rest In Peace,” the former President, John Dramani Mahama, confirmed on Twitter.
Rawlings, the son of a Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother, led two military coups and also won two presidential elections following the restoration of democracy to Ghana in the 1990s.
Winning with great popular support in the first multi-party elections held in Ghana in 1992, Rawlings was re-elected four years later for a second term, until he stepped down in 2001 on the expiry of his term as president.
Rawlings previously served in the Ghanian air force as a senior officer. He first came to power in a brief military uprising between June and September 1979, the date on which he gave way to a civilian government that he himself again overthrew at the end of 1981.
In those three months that he led the country in 1979 through a military council, he was responsible for executing three former heads of state and at least five army generals, after accusing them of corruption and mismanagement.
However, from the beginning, he was widely acclaimed by ordinary Ghanaians for his socialist ideals and policies, which later gave way to free-market reforms.
In his legacy, Rawlings leaves behind an extensive period of political stability in the country that lasts to this day, after a tumultuous series of coups d’état perpetrated in the 1960s and 1970s.