Jerry Rawlings, Ghana's former president, dies at 73

Friday November 13 2020
Jerry John Rawlings .

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


Former Ghanaian president Jerry John Rawlings has died at the age of 73, the country's local media has reported.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.