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Jerry John Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings was a Ghanaian military officer, aviator, and politician, initially governed briefly in 1979, followed by a longer tenure from 1981 to 2001, initially through a military junta and subsequently as the democratically elected president, notably contributing to Ghana's political stability and proficient economic management during his second period of rule.

1947

Early Life and Military Career
22 June 1947

Early Life and Military Career

Born on June 22, 1947, in Accra, Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings is the child of Victoria Agbotui and James Ramsey John. He completed his secondary education at Achimota College in 1967 and subsequently enlisted in the Ghana Air Force, where his middle name, Rawlings, preceded his last name, John. In January 1969, he graduated as a pilot officer and gradually climbed the military hierarchy.

1979

1979 Coup and First Period of Rule
20 October 1979

1979 Coup and First Period of Rule

In 1979, operating as a flight lieutenant, Rawlings instigated a coup against the government of General Fred Akuffo. Following this bold move, he found himself sentenced to death but managed to escape custody in June 1979. He went on to establish the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and assumed control for a span of 112 days before relinquishing power to President Hilla Limann on September 24, 1979.


1981

1981 Coup and Second Period of Rule
31 December 1981

1981 Coup and Second Period of Rule

On December 31, 1981, Rawlings orchestrated another coup, ousting President Hilla Limann and inaugurating the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). His leadership continued until 2001, offering Ghana a period of political stability and effective economic management.


1984

Awards and Honors
20 October 1984

Awards and Honors

In July 1984, Fidel Castro bestowed upon him the Order of Jose Marti. Further acknowledgments include an honorary degree from the University for Development Studies in northern Ghana in October 2013, the title of Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa, in August 2014, the Marcus Garvey Awards in August 2018, and in December 2018, Rawlings was enstooled as the Togbuiga Nutifafa I of Anlo.


1992

Transition to Democracy
20 October 1992

Transition to Democracy

In 1992, Rawlings officially parted ways with the military and went on to found the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He was subsequently elected as Ghana's initial president within the Fourth Republic and secured re-election in 1996, adhering to the term limits dictated by the Ghanaian Constitution.


2000

African Union Envoy to Somalia
20 November 2000

African Union Envoy to Somalia

Rawlings took on the role of the African Union's envoy to Somalia, actively engaging in diplomatic efforts.


2001

Post-Presidential Activities
20 October 2001

Post-Presidential Activities

He expanded his horizons into academia, delivering lectures at various universities, including the prestigious Oxford University. Rawlings retained steadfast support for the NDC and held diverse international roles, including attendance at the inauguration of Suriname's President Dési Bouterse.

2020

Death and Mourning
12 November 2020

Death and Mourning

On November 12, 2020, Jerry John Rawlings passed away at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. Speculations suggest that his death might have been linked to complications arising from COVID-19. In honor of his memory, President Nana Akufo-Addo declared a seven-day period of mourning, accompanied by the lowering of flags to half-mast. There were appeals for his burial in Keta, Volta Region.


2021

State Burial
27 January 2021

State Burial

From January 24 to 27, 2021, a series of funeral ceremonies and tributes were meticulously organized in Accra. The pinnacle was a state funeral held at the Black Star Square, graced by the presence of national and international dignitaries. Jerry John Rawlings was interred at the Military Cemetery at Burma Camp, accompanied by full military honors.

2023

Family and personal life
05 July 2023

Family and personal life

Jerry John Rawlings, the former President of Ghana, was married to Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and had four children together:


2023

Educational Legacy
20 October 2023

Educational Legacy

Recognizing his substantial contributions to its establishment, there have been proposals to rename the University for Development Studies after Jerry John Rawlings. His enduring impact on Ghana's political landscape and education system remains palpable.




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