The death of former President, Jerry John Rawlings,73, has sent shockwaves across the Ghanaian populace.
News of his demise on Thursday spread like wildfire, with many Ghanaians taking to social media to commiserate and eulogise the first President of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.
Many people expressed their shock at his passing, while others who had the opportunity to meet the maverick former military leader spoke of how much they had been in awe of his larger than life persona.
His death was confirmedby sources close to the family.
The reports indicate that the former President had been battling with ill-health over the past few weeks and passed on at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on November 12, 2020.
As Rawlings’ legacy extended well beyond the shores of Ghana, the news of his death has been received with equal astonishment across the African continent and globally as well.
Tweets have also been pouring in from Nigeria, where the name ‘Rawlings’ is currently among the top trends, as well as a number of other countries.
He was Ghana’s longest-serving Head of State.
Former President Rawlings was rushed to the intensive care unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
The founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was last seen in public on October 19, during the final funeral rites leading to the burial of his mother, Victoria Agbotui.
The former military leader was born Jerry Rawlings John on June22, 1947. He 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 May 15, 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 December 31, 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 1992 Constitution, former President Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as a presidential candidate in 2000.