A former Ghanaian president, Jerry Rawlings, is dead, major Ghanaian newspapers including Citi News are reporting.
The 73-year-old Mr Rawlings died Thursday morning at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana, Citi News reported.
Mr Rawlings was born on June 22, 1947, and led a military junta in Ghana from 1981 to 1992 after he led a military coup. In 1992, he contested and was elected Ghana president after which he served two terms as democratic president until the year 2000.
One of the strides Mr Rawlings was notable for in Ghana was the Economic Recovery Program, a feat that berthed policy adjustments in price control, currency devaluation among other moves which aided the country’s economy.
His regime as a military head also witnessed the privatization of some government-owned enterprises.
While some praised his government, many painted him as a populist without a clear vision for the people he incited.
He was identified by a Ghanaian activist and socialist, Explo Nani-Kofi, as one of the beneficiaries of the dreaded Sani Abacha’s loot as he received financial gifts from the latter during his dictatorial reign.
Born to a Ghanaian mother and Scottish father in 1947, he was a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force that led an unsuccessful coup against the ruling military government on May 15, 1979, just five weeks before scheduled democratic elections.
He was court-martialed and was awaiting execution when a group of mutinous soldiers freed him to lead another coup that ousted Fred Akuffo’s military government at a time when military rule was popular in Africa.
He handed over to a civilian government headed by Hilla Limann in that same 1979.
But two years later, he unseated Mr Limann for a failing economy in 1981 and became the chairperson of the Provisional National Defence Council.
He led the military junta till 1992 where he resigned from the military and founded the National Democratic Congress.
He became the first president of the fourth republic and was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.
He held an honorary doctor of law degree from Medgar Evers College, City University of New York, and Lincoln University doctorate degree for Diplomacy and Development.
He was the joint recipient of the 1993 World Hunger Prize.
In 2013, he received the Global Champion for People’s Freedom award by the Mkiva Humanitarian Foundation.
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