Former President of Ghana Jerry Rawlings is dead. He was 73.
President Nana Akufo-Addo announced his passing in a statement on Thursday, saying “a great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss.”
“The tragic event occurred at 10:10 a.m. on Thursday November 12, 2020, at the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital, where the former President was receiving treatment after a short illness,” Akufo-Addo said in a tweeted statement.
“I have directed that all national flags should fly at half-mast for the next seven days in all parts of the country, and have declared seven days of national mourning, from Friday November 13, to Friday November 20,” the President said.
He said he along with the Vice President were also suspending their political campaigns to honor the former President.
“Jerry Rawlings was an African giant. His tenure as leader of Ghana remains emblematic with the restoration of that country. Even after office, he stood tall for African unity and renaissance,” former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar said.
“He represented a generation of leaders who gave their all for the rebirth of his country and Africa at large. I pray for a pleasant repose of his soul and console with the people of Ghana; his contemporaries and current leaders in Africa on the loss of a worthy patriot.”
In a statement, the presidency in Nigeria said “President Buhari believes the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond.”
Jerry John Rawlings was born on June 22, 1947. He was a Ghanaian military officer and politician who led 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.
He was well known for crushing corruption in his West African country, and for turning the economy around.