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Rawlings Passes Away

Ghana's First President of the Fourth Republic, Flight Lietenant Jerry John Rawlings (rtd) has passed away. He passed away at about 10. A.m. at the nation's biggest referral hospital, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. He was 73.

Rawlings' death took almost every Ghanaian by surprise because most people were not aware he had fallen ill and had thus been admitted to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital where he was said to have been rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after his condition deteriorated.

Just a couple of weeks ago, he buried his mother, Madam Victoria Agbotui who passed away at the ripe age of 101. The burial and funeral took place at Dzelukofe in the Volta Region. Video footages of the burial and funeral ceremony with Rawlings in attendance made the rounds. In one of the video footages which captures his vote of thanks to the gathering after the funeral, Rawlings could be seen and heard pleading with the crowd not to mob run along his victory while he was leaving as is usually the case because of the pandemic times.

In a press statement on behalf of her family to announce the demise of the former President, Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, the Rawlings' eldest daughter said he died after a short illness. The family later met President Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House to inform him of his death.

Until recently, the two were sworn enemies. However, in the run up to the 2012 election, the two became good friends, a friendship they both basked in before Rawlings' demise yesterday.

Rawlings will be remember by Ghanaians for the June 4th revolt which catapulted him into the political lime light and the 'house cleaning 'exercise which followed later. He would also be remembered for the 1981 31st December coup that toppled the Hilla Limann PNP government and saw him at the help of affairs as Head of State of Ghana until 1992 when he ushered in the fourth Republic, and became its first President on the ticket of the NDC, serving two four year terms. He stepped down in 2000 after completing his two terms, handing over power to J A. Kufuor who had led the NPP to win the election that year.

Many will also remember Rawlings for the massive facelift he gave Ghana's collapsed infrastructure after coming onto the political scene. Un motorable roads with gaping potholes, schools and classrooms with no teachers and furniture, hospitals with no beds, medicines, nurses or doctors, collapsed state enterprises from Black Star Line, State Fishing Corporation and State Hotels through Ghana Publishing Corporation to Ghana Airways and an over-staffed civil and public service among many others was the lot of Ghana. People had to travel to Togo to buy such items as cake soap, medicine and clothes. But thanks to his leadership, Ghana slowly rose from the ashes until it finally returned to multi-party democracy which he led till 2000.

His rule saw the extension of electricity and potable water to many rural communities throughout Ghana. By the end of his rule, Ghana was totally declared free of Guinea worm disease.

In 2000, listeners throughout Africa to Gabonese Radio Station, 'Number Un', named him AFRICAN OF THE Millennium ahead of Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela in a poll.

He left behind a wife and four children.

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