Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

BBC is reporting Ghana’s former president Jerry “J.J. Rawlings has died after a brief illness at a hospital in Accra. Rumors are swirling that the charasmatic leader who came to power after leading two coups and then being elected President twice, died of complications from Covid-19, although an official cause of death has not been announced.

Jerry John Rawlings was born on June 22, 1947, in Accra to James Ramsey John, a Scottish chemist, and Victoria Agbotui. He was educated at Achimota, a prestigious boarding school in the British model in Accra. He enlisted in the Air Force, where he excelled in airmanship, and reached the rank of flight lieutenant.

Although he was a Socialist during his early political career, Rawlings eventually made free market reforms, eventually becoming a founding father of democracy in Ghana. Following his presidency, Rawlings campaigned for African Nations to have their debts forgiven.  

Photo: Twitter Screenshot

Several African Presidents expressed grief while announcing Rawlings death on Twitter.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who is from a rival political party and currently running against Rawlings’ wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, announced seven days of national mourning.

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

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

While Liberian President George Weah said “Ghana, Liberia and Africa will miss a great leader”.

“Liberia remembers his immense contribution to the attainment and sustainment of peace during our dark days of our own history,” he added in a tweet.

Rawlins is survived by his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, a candidate for president in next month’s elections; his daughters Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings and Amina Rawlings; and his son, Kimathi Rawlings.
He was 73.
Read more about Rawlins at BBC or Africa News.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.
Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.
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