Jerry John Rawlings is a former Ghanaian military Head of State and politician. He came to power through a coup in 1982 and was re-elected twice, 1992 and 1996 respectively. He is known for the killing of past Ghanaian leaders as Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council in his war against corruption.
Jerry Rawling is of mixed origin with his mother being Ghanaian and Father British. He was born in 1947 in Accra to James Ramsey John, a Chemist, and Victoria Abgotui. His parents were never married; his father had a wife in England. He grew up under the Ghanaian cultural influence as he was brought up as the only child of his mother. He finished his secondary education in Achimota College in 1967.
Rawlings joined the military, the Ghana air force. After joining the air force in 1967, he was sent to Takoradi to continue his military education. He was commissioned a Pilot Officer in January 1969 upon graduation, and having excelled he was awarded Speed Bird Trophy as the best cadet in flying.
By April 1978, he became Flight Lieutenant, during his time in the military he alleged the political class of high level of indiscipline and corruption. The reason he gave for leading the 1979 coup. In the Coup, he tried to overthrow Archeampong and General Fred Akuffo’s governments with the intentions to clean up the polity months before the elections, the coup failed and Rawlings was arrested. He was then sentenced to death. There was a prison break on June 4th, 1979 by a group of soldiers who freed Rawlings. Later that year, he led another coup and this time they succeeded in ousting Akuffo’s government. Rawlings became Chairman of a 15 member Armed Forces Revolution Council (AFRC) with most of its members being junior officers. He executed military officers, and Supreme Court justices in what, he later called a house cleaning exercise. He handed power to a civilian President, Hilla Limann on September 24th, 1979.
Rawlings was unhappy with the way Limman ran the government especially with the economic reforms which he felt encouraged new form of colonialism and he led another coup against Limman in December 1981. He displaced Limman’s People’s National Party and established his own, Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) introducing a one party system.
In December 1982, Rawlings in a bid to run a government that represents the interests of the people used some economic measures that sent the country into economic crisis. In March 1991, his party after carrying out a survey came up with recommendations for an election of an executive president, establishment of a national assembly, and the creation of a prime minster position.
In 1992, He was left with no choice but to allow elections. Before that election, Rawlings re-introduced multi party politics and established National Commission on Democracy (NCD). By May 1992 the ban on political parties was lifted after the recommendations were approved by a referendum.
In the November 3rd, 1992 election, the electoral body compiled results from 200 constituencies that showed that Rawlings had won 60% of the votes. The Commonwealth Observers said it was free and fair. The angered oppositions boycotted the other Parliamentary elections with Rawlings party winning majority seats.
The 1996 elections were a great improvement over the 1992. There was fresh registration of voters; there were more organized local election observers in the country and there was a massive turnout of voters. Rawlings was said to have won 57% of the votes and his main challenger Kufuor had 47%.
His tenure ended in 2001 and he handed over to John Kufour. Jerry Rawlings is married to Nana Konadu Agyeman and they have four children; three daughters and a son. His net worth is said to be about 50 million U.S dollars.
He was reported dead on November 12, 2020 at Korlebu Teaching Hospital. Rawlings had been on admission at Korle Bu for about a week. He dead of Corona Virus