Former President Rawlings’ fight for social justice and the principles of probity and accountability ended coup d’etats in Ghana, the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, John Dramani Mahama added, “He is the Founder of our 4th Republic, which remains easily, the longest period of stable, democratic governance in the history of our beloved country, Ghana.
“President Jerry John Rawlings is no longer with us. Ghana has lost an icon.”
The founder of the NDC and the first President of the Fourth Republic, Rawlings died on Thursday, 12 November 2020, at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, where he was receiving treatment, after a short illness.
Mahama arrived in Accra Thursday night, following the suspension of his campaign in the Ashanti Region on hearing the news of the death of the founder of the NDC.
“Now, more than ever, we have a sacred duty to uphold and defend the values of the 4th Republic that President Rawlings held so dear – peace, democracy, probity and accountability, respect for human rights, freedom of the press, tolerance and inclusion.
“In doing this, we honour the man who brought us the gift of a free and democratic society,” Mahama said.
President Akufo-Addo directed all national flags to fly at half-mast for the next seven days in all parts of the country in honour of late former President Jerry John Rawlings.
The President also declared seven-day national mourning from Friday, 13th November to Friday, 20th November.
Who was Rawlings?
Jerry John Rawlings was born on 22 June 1947 is a former Ghanaian military leader and subsequent politician who ruled the country from 1981 to 2001 and also for 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 31 December 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 according to the Ghanaian Constitution, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as presidential candidate in 2000.
Until his death he served as the African Union envoy to Somalia.
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