Former Ghana president Jerry John Rawlings dies aged 73

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FORMER Ghana president, Jerry John Rawlings has died.

According to local media reports, Rawlings died in the early hours of Thursday at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

He had been battling with ill-health over the past few weeks.

Jerry John Rawlings buried his late mother Madam Victoria Agbotui, who died at the age of 101, in October 2020.

Local media report that military personnel are currently manning the premises of Rawlings.

About Jerry John Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings was born June 22, 1947.

He was a former military leader and subsequent politician who ruled Ghana from 1981 to 2001 and also 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  December 31, 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 set by the Ghanaian Constitution, Rawlings endorsed his Vice-President John Atta Mills as presidential candidate in 2000.

Education and military career

Rawlings finished his secondary education at Achimota College in 1967. He joined the Ghana Air Force shortly afterwards.

In March 1968, he was posted to Takoradi, in Ghana’s Western Region, to continue his studies.

He graduated in January 1969, and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer, winning the coveted ‘Speed Bird Trophy’ as the best cadet in flying the Su-7 ground attack supersonic jet aircraft as he was skilled in aerobatics.

He earned the rank of Flight Lieutenant and in April 1978. During his service with the Ghana Air Force, Rawlings perceived a deterioration in discipline and morale due to corruption in the Supreme Military Council (SMC) government.

As promotion brought him into contact with the privileged classes and their social values, his view of the injustices in society hardened.

He was thus regarded with some unease by the SMC.

After the 1979 coup, he involved himself with the student community of the University of Ghana, where he developed a more leftist ideology through reading and discussion of social and political ideas.

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