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Ghana honours ex-president John Jerry Rawlings

Ghana’s former president John Jerry Rawlings has been laid in state at the Accra International conference centre.

Large numbers of Ghanaians and sympathizers as well as invited dignitaries are paying their last respects.

Mourners are respecting coronavirus social distancing measures and wearing face masks.

On Tuesday, January 26, the president and vice president, along with their respective spouses, other high ranking members of the judiciary and legislature will say their final goodbyes.

A Ghanian TV station is broadcasting the ceremony.

Rawlings passed away at Ghana’s premier public health facility, the Korle-Bu teaching hospital in the capital on November 12, 2020.

He was 73 years old at the time of his death. The reason for his passing has not been disclosed.

Who was Jerry Rawlings?

Born on 22 June 1947, he was the son of a Scottish farmer and a Ghanaian mother.

He became involved in politics and came to be known globally in 1979 when as an army lieutenant, he won wide popularity as a government critic.

He launched a coup attempt in May that year but it failed and he was arrested and sentenced to death.

He managed to escape from prison due to the help of junior officers and then overthrew the military leader Lieutenant General "Fred" Kwasi Akuffo.

He then relinquished power within four months of his coup and handed it to civilian rule.

The newly formed People's National Party, led by Hilla Limann, was then elected.

But the economy was hard hit with inflation at more than 140% and high levels of foreign debt, which then spiralled into public unrest.

But just two years later he orchestrated another coup, citing corruption and weak leadership.

A new government, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), then came to power.

The party headed by Rawlings then tried to turn Ghana into a Marxist country.

But it only lasted two years, as Rawlings then embraced the free market as the Soviet bloc neared its collapse.

Between 1983 and 1987 he survived five coup attempts. But he managed to turn his unpopularity around as, by the early 1990s, his reforms had led the country towards a strong economic recovery.

In 1992, Rawlings won Ghana's presidential election.


The burial service for the late former President will be held on Wednesday, January 27.

On Sunday, January 24, a vigil was held at the Armed Forces Mess in Accra. It was graced by his family, including his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and his four children.

His burial was partly delayed because of disagreements between Ghana's current political leaders.


Source: Africanews






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