Former Ghana President Rawlings Dies

The late former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings

During Liberia’s dark days, Rawlings and other prominent Ghanaians demonstrated their humanitarian gesture to host Liberians in Ghana, where some stayed and integrated into the society of that country. – Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh

Several African leaders, including President George Manneh Weah, have paid tributes to fallen former Ghanaian President, Jerry John Rawlings, who died Thursday morning in Accra, Ghana.

Ghana’s current President Nana Akufo-Addo, who is from a rival political party, announced seven days of national mourning for the fallen former president.

“A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss,” he said in a statement.

Africa, yea the world, was shocked during the early part of yesterday when they heard about the demise of former Ghanaian President, Jerry John Rawlings.  President Rawlings died at the age of 73 at a Hospital in Accra, following a brief illness.

Rawlings, a retired Flight Lieutenant in the Ghanaian Air Force, led two coups in Ghana and won two elections in multiparty polls. History records him for taking steps to fight corruption in Ghana, but at the same time criticized for human rights abuses, some of which involved the executions of military leaders for corruption.

Ghana’s Daily Graphic reports that a statement issued Thursday and signed by the daughter and Member of Parliament for the Korle Klottey Constituency, Zenator Agyemang-Rawlings, announced the passing of Ghana’s first president for the fourth republic.

“It is with deep sadness that the family of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings (rtd) informs the general public that the former president of the Republic, passed away on Thursday morning after a short illness.”

“The family requests privacy at this difficult moment,” the statement said.

Condolences pour in

“Ghana, Liberia and Africa will miss a great leader,” Liberian President George Weah tweeted. “Liberia remembers his immense contribution to the attainment and sustainment of peace during [the] dark days of our own history.”

“The entire African continent will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said. “The passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond.”

African Union Commission chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said “Africa has lost a stalwart of Pan-Africanism and a charismatic continental statesman.”

Rawlings the Pan-Africanist

At the level of Pan Africanism and the Movement for Justice in Africa, Rawlings was a key player that the likes of Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh will remember.

In his tribute to the families of Rawlings and the people of Ghana, Dr. Tipoteh acknowledged that the fallen Ghanaian former President was one of those who responded to the calls for Pan African action to alleviate perennial and pervasive poverty for his people.

In Dr. Tipoteh’s account about Rawlings, he stated: “President Rawlings took over State rule in a coup d’état, then stepped down and ran successfully to be President through elections. Then he stepped down once again when his term was over. Such action surprised many people because President Rawlings had come from being a Flight Lieutenant and was considered to be for dictatorial rule. In the tradition of the late former President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, he worked for democratic rule, although coming from the military.”

Military leadership is perceived and considered as counterproductive to democracy, and anyone taking power through that means may not be welcomed in the global leadership realm for the fact that such a person’s ascendancy has no democratic ingredient, and this might have been with Rawlings when he, on two occasions, claimed the presidency of Ghana through military coup d’état.

However, with what Dr. Tipoteh remembers about the Ghanaian leader, he believes that Rawlings proved contrary to perceptions people had that since he was a military man, his leadership would be one of the worst in history.    

“It is clear that we have in Africa examples of good people in the military, looking at the good works of the late President Rawlings and the late President Sankara, respectively, and examples of bad people in the military, looking at the work of the late Mobutu Sese Seko of the ‘Democratic’ Republic of the Congo (DRC), who spearheaded the murder of another Champion of Pan Africanism, Patrice Lumumba of the DRC. It is not at all surprising that Rawlings became a Leader in the restoration of Sankara as a democratic leader in the DRC by unearthing his mortal remains and doing an honored reburial with an appropriate Monument.”

During Liberia’s dark days, Dr. Tipoteh recalls, Rawlings and other prominent Ghanaians demonstrated their humanitarian gesture to host Liberians in Ghana, where some stayed and integrated into the society of that country.   

“The Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) remains in alliance with the work of President Rawlings to alleviate poverty, corruption and injustice in Ghana and other parts of Africa. In terms of Liberia, President Rawlings was pivotal in arranging accommodations for Liberians who fled to Ghana on account of the Civil War in Liberia. Let us recall how the Buduburam Area was cleared up for Liberians to live in. Through working with Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana at Legon, and Professor Kwesi Botchwey, former Finance Minister of Ghana, both Lawyers and Pan Africanists, we knew President Rawlings and we worked together. Senator Conmany Wesseh of Liberia was a Pan Africanist Student Leader with the All African Student Council and he collaborated with the Council’s members who were in the government of Ghana to establish the Buduburam Center. His wife, Medina, now Head of the Mano River Union Headquarters, worked closely with her husband,” recalled Dr. Tipoteh.

With President Rawlings’ pivotal role in Pan Africanism, Dr. Tipoteh noted in his eulogy:  “So, we come here today to celebrate the sustainable democratic institution-building work of President Rawlings and not to mourn on account of his Passing Away.” On the rationale of the Pan Africanism in remembering Jerry John Rawlings, Dr. Tipoteh wrote:  “Perennial and pervasive poverty in any African country calls for Pan African action to alleviate it because the source of the Poverty Pandemic is the Transnational Corporate Entity in alliance with State actors who benefit from the Poverty Pandemic, as seen in the poor getting poorer as the rich get richer (see data from Reports of the United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Essentially, it was within the context of the Struggle to alleviate poverty that we come to make this Tribute to honor the Memory of Former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana, who Passed Away this morning.”


  1. Rawlings was seen by most Africans as a role model of how effective African leaders can be. Some Ghanaians believe that Rawlings was a gift from above! But strangely, there are thousands of Ghanaians who say boldly that Rawlings had a darker side that the outside world is unaware of. Irrespective of how some critics of his may have disparaged his character, I think Rawlings meant well for his country.

    • Well said Mr. Hney. No doubt about that. This is in comparison to Samuel Doe’s led brutal coup, just as the one led by the former Ghanaian military head of state. After all was done and the dust has settled, Ghana changed for the good and betterment of both the citizens and their country. There perhaps has not been a coup attempt or actual coup since then, or handing over to civilian government,(stand to be corrected). On the other, and in comparison to Samuel Doe and his military regime, and his so-called civilian government lacking every structured of governmental system and institutions, it was possible for all Hell to break loose again. Since then, Oh Well, The Rest Is History. A long long history.
      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
      And the nation of Liberia and its citizens do not seemed able to close that potion of the history books, and move on. Just as the various Ghanaian governments have done in assisting other countries. But that God Forsaken Land called Liberia, it is so hard to learn from experienced. What A God Forsaken Land ? What A God Forsaken Land ? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ?
      Mr. Hney says that it is not funny. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

      • So according to James Davis, the semi apartheid dictatorships “civilian governments of the settlers TWP TYRANNIES had ”every structure of governmental system and institutions“?

        That is,, amid the reality of the inhumane, degrading discriminations, gross cultural and political and human rights violations, offenses, and abuses directed against the indigenous population the majority or the masses which ranged from the aforementioned to non voting rights, positions of government allotted generally for only the settlers, forced labor akin to slavery, selling of the indigenous population as slaves for Fernado Po etc such tyrannies and dictatorships ANTI DATING THE GREAT AND HISTORIC APRIL 12 REVOLUTION had ”every structure of governmental system and institutions“?

        You must be out of your mind, running mad, or naively believing the epistemological erudition of political history is a privilege set aside for the elites, anti incumbent haters, and media cheerleading zombies..

        Or the prohibition of unions within the major sources of the economy and the work force of the nation, massive ritualistic killing directed and inflicted generally on the 98 percent indigenous who were or are the majority were all the good and betterment of both the citizens and their country according to that shell on your shoulders???

        My friend, following the birth of the nation which was in the grips and ownership of the caste grouping mulattoes who were ousted by the rue Whigs in 1869, all the population of Liberia and the world saw about Liberia were the marks of TYRANTS AND PLUNDERERS with their semi apartheid and racial undertones which were doomed to explode, and sure enough exploded on April 12 1980 .

        A revolution which awakened the patriotic and revolutionary consciousness of the incumbent democratic leadership under the presidency of Dr. George Manneh Weah which on top of prioritizing ””the good and betterment of both the citizens and their country”.

        A ””the good and betterment of both the citizens and their country”.realistically made manifest with overwhelming evidence and proof beyond all reasonable doubts by and through the good governance realities of New Millennium Challenge Compact Scorecard Shows Improvement in Rule of Law in Liberia under the George Manneh Weah Government, and far far far less corruption …good governance and semi corruption free polity UNTHINKABLE UNDER civilian governments of the settlers TWP TYRANNIES.


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