Jerry Rawlings, Ghana's former president, dies

Former Ghanaian President Jerry John Rawlings during an interview held at Tribe Hotel on June 18, 2015.

Photo credit: File | Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings is dead, the country's local media has reported. He was 73-years-old.

He died on Thursday at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, where he had been admitted a week earlier.

Local media reports indicate that he succumbed to Covid-19 complications.

Jerry Rawlings

In this undated photo, Ghana's leader Jerry Rawlings walks back to the Presidential Pavilion shortly after his flight to Malaysia aborted due to a problem on his plane.
 

Photo credit: File | Noor Khamis

He was president between 1981 and 2001. Before that, he led junior Ghanaian army officers in an unsuccessful coup in 1979 in a bid to overthrow the government of General F.K. Akuffo.

He was imprisoned soon after but was released months later after junior military officers attempted another coup that succeeded. 

Jerry Rawlings

A newspaper clipping of Jerry Rawlings from 1979.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Rawlings led the country briefly as the leader of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. During this three-month period, the Council oversaw the execution of three former Heads of State - Akuffo, Ignatius Acheampong and Akwasi Afrifa.

Elections were held shortly after and Rawlings handed over power to President Hilla Limann, a former diplomat.

Hilla Limann

Ghana's ex-leader Dr Hilla Limann, seen at a press conference at Claridges Hotel, UK on May 15, 1981.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Two years later, however, Rawlings ousted President Limann on grounds that his government was ineffective and that Ghana's economy was in poor shape. It is during this period that Rawlings' rule began until he retired in 2001, handing over power to John Kufuor.

Former Ghanaian President John Kufuor

Former Ghanaian President John Kufuor talks to the Nation during an interview at Serena Hotel on August 26, 2010.

Photo credit: File | Peter Githaiga | Nation Media Group

Rawlings was widely seen as a champion of the masses, but also came under criticism for rights abuses and summary executions that happened under his watch.

He leaves behind his wife Nana and three children - Zanetor, Amina and Kimathi Rawlings.

Jerry Rawlings (right), his wife Nana and Kalonzo Musyoka (left) during the ex-Ghanaian President's past visit to Kenya.

Rawlings with former President Mwai Kibaki.

Jerry Rawlings with William Ruto

Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings (left) at a news conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in 2001. Looking on is Assistant Minister William Ruto.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

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