Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings has died at the age of 73.
He led two coups, first in 1979, before twice being elected president in multiparty polls.
A charismatic figure, he first seized power railing against corruption and was responsible for executing several former heads of state for their alleged graft and mismanagement.
He was also seen as a champion of the poor, but came to be criticised for alleged human rights abuses.
He died in hospital in the capital, Accra, after a short illness.
The hero is no more but his legacy lives forever.
Below are some gathered facts by Ghsplash.com about the former President;
Jerry John Rawlings attended Achimota school where he acquired his certificate in education ‘O’ level in 1966. In August 1967, he enlisted as a flight cadet in the Ghana Air Force, earning him a selection at the Ghana Millitary Academy and Training school in Teshie, Accra.He was to work in Takoradi, in the Western Region in March 1968, where he continued pursuing his course. Came January 1969, the former head of state passed out as a commissioned pilot officer.
His dedication and hard work earned him the position of a Flight – Lieutenant in 1978 April. He had a good rapport with his colleagues and showcased the highest form of efficiency in his line of work. During his time at the Ghana Air Force, he witnessed the moral decay and decline of discipline, and so much corruption from Supreme Military Council (SMC). It was the body in charge of ensuring Ghana efforts towards development was upheld.
His diligence in the force earned him a promotion, giving him the opportunity to associate with the privileged people in the society. This made him realize more about the social injustices thus being regarded as unease by the SMC. He discussed political and social scheme with a growing circle of colleagues and friends, who were in agreement with his plans, while reading widely.
Jerry John Rawlings family
Jerry John Rawlings parents
Jerry John Rawlings is the son to Victoria Agbotui, who hails from the Volta Region of Ghana. Jerry John Rawlings father is James Ramsey John, a chemist from Castle Douglas in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. His father married someone else in England, and his descendants now live in Newcastle London.
Jerry John Rawlings wife
The wife to the former president of Ghana is Nana Konadu whom they met when attending Achimota school. They got married in 1977, and they have four children together. While serving the country as the first lady, her work of women emancipation at every level of development level was recognized globally. She was also in the forefront to ask countries abroad to invest in Ghana. This was during tours she took with her husband to the United States in the 90s.
Jerry John Rawlings daughters
Despite being extremely active in politics, Jerry John Rawlings managed to balance fatherhood. After getting married to his wife in 1977, they were blessed with their first child, Emanatory Rawlings in 1978. Later two daughters Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings and Amina Rawlings were born. Their only son was named Kimathi Rawlings, and they have succeeded in leading a quiet life, away from the public domain.
Currently, JJ Rawlings daughters are affluent people in the society, each succeeding in the different fields they chose. Zanetor Ageman Rawlings is known for championing for the rights of women and children in Ghana.Through her, several foundations have come up to ensure the rights of women and children are upheld. Unlike her father, she kept away from politics, and found solace in humanitarian work. During the unfortunate Gol Oil flood and fire incident, she was at the forefront of ensuring the affected families got relief food.
The apple does not fall far from the tree, she vied for the parliamentary seat for Klottey Korley constituency and won. Could she be following in the footsteps of her dad? Time will tell.
Jerry Rawlings son
Dedan Kimathi Rawlings was named after Kenyan freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi. He is he last born and only son to the former president of Ghana Jerry John Rawlings. Despite being the president, he ensured to keep his family away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi and the public.
Jerry John Rawlings quotes
Jerry John Rawlings was the head of state in Ghana from 1982 to 1992, and the president from 1993 to 2001. During his reign, he made some memorable and powerful quotes as listed below:
“It is not the absence of military interventions that we have restored, which will bring back our democracy, development, justice, and freedom. What is needed is the ability to empower the people and integrity of leadership. Leadership should not be used to intimidate our citizens, rather it should empower them.”
“Nothing beats logic than a government that forces itself on its citizens. A genuine conducted electoral process should be without the harsh use of the armed forces, and without fear of intimidation. This is the best way to assure people that their will has prevailed, thus produces a cleansing effect in the society.”
“The most dangerous mistake of any political force is to forget its roots.”
“What form of government e adopt as citizens to suit our peculiar circumstances, our basic tenet is our common yearning and concern for every person, for politics, whatever its colour must be an avenue to serve our fellow men.”
“Food is a political weapon…Africa’s foremost defense is self-sufficiency in food. Until we attain a substantial measure of freedom from food dependency, we are vulnerable to manipulation by the wealthier nations.”
“The test of religious belief is not in pious platitudes and cautious charity, but in positive and creative action.”
“Democracy is not realized merely by having a machinery for registering voters and getting them to vote every four years, but also by there being a machinery for identifying the needs of those voters in between the election periods, and monitoring the realization of those needs.”
“People with conscience are sometimes appalled by the extreme insensitivity displayed by some political appointees. The unprecedented levels of corruption, offensive show of power and opulence by some at a time when our country requires prudence and frugality is something that I call on President Mahama and his vice to set their eyes on”
He is arguably the most charismatic president Ghana has ever had. Initially, he came to power as a flight lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force. Following a failed coup in 1979, power was officially handed over to the civilian government. Knowing JJ Rawlings for his zeal in what he desires to achieve, he took back control of the country on 31 December 1981.
He became chairman for the Provisional National Defence Council, and spearheaded Ghana to its revolution. Some of the notable photos of him include:
- President Jerry John Rawlings and Muammar Al Gaddafi.
- Several photos of him on the internet show how he publicly declared his affection for his wife Nana Konadu, he must have been a very romantic president.
- There was one moment when the deceased superstar singer Michael Jackson presented a gold sword on behalf of Saudi Arabian prince Alawleed Bin Talal Al-Saud to JJ Rawlings. This event took place at Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills.
- During his years in the military, photos of him standing in front of his troop was evident of the kind of leader he was.
Achievements of Jerry John Rawlings
During his regime, Jerry Rawlings managed to accomplish the following:
- According to the World’s bank development report of 1999-2000, the introduction of the NDC agricultural program and policy from 1994 to 2000 saw Ghana on the map as one of the leading food producers in the world. It came after Jordan at 157%, and China who were at 156%. This was the third highest achievement to be experienced in the country.
- Both Queen Elizabeth II and the former US president Bill Clinton visited Ghana during the tenure of Jerry John Rawlings to highlight the successes of the country.
- Expanded electricity to Northern parts of Ghana – hitherto ignored by ruling elites since 1957.
- JJ Rawlings played a significant role towards peacekeeping and dispute resolution in various unstable countries in the sub-Saharan West African region, and the entire African continent.
- Came to the rescue of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians living in Nigeria who were expelled. He ensured they got somewhere to stay at El-Wak stadium in 1983 and then assisted them to relocate to their family homes. These help saw some advanced economies such as Germany suffer because of this integrated reunification.
- Created 110 districts, through non-partisan district level elections. Education, infrastructure developments, and healthcare all devolved to the district level. Annual government subvention by law goes to the district — unthinkable in many other African countries.
- Achieved economic and political stability in a region rife with conflicts (for example Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone).
- Ghana’s huge reputation in international peacekeeping, coupled with the ability of H. E JJ Rawlings to get the illustrious son of Ghana, Kofi Annan, elected as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- He significantly improved the health sector by constructing the modern regional hospitals at Sunyani Cape Coast, and Cape Coast. So many district hospitals were built during his time as president, to cater for the medical needs of the citizens of Ghana.
- Established the University for Development Studies, and used his Hunger Award Prize Money to buy books for the University’s Library.
- The sprawling housing sector in Lashibi, Sakumono, Adenta, and the ones on Spintex Road, all came up during his era. The SSNIT estates found all over Ghana were built during his rule
- By the end of his tenure, so many Ghanaians had access to clean water. This played a big part in the eradication of Guinea worm in Ghana.
- He spearheaded the policy of allowing the establishment of private tertiary institutions, including Universities, to cater to the public, for each Ghanaian to be involved in higher education. He introduced the administration of one region, one Polytechnic.
- In 2001 after the general elections, there was a smooth transition from the NDC, which had ruled the country for many years to NPP.
- In spite of the hitherto elites having ignored the distribution of electricity in the whole of Ghana, JJ Rawlings ensured the Northern part of the country had access to electricity.