GHANA: FORMER PRESIDENT RAWLINGS’ STATE FUNERAL CONTINUES WITH FILING PAST

By: Richard Fiebor/www.africanakua.com, Ghana.

The funeral rites of late former President Jerry John Rawlings began on Sunday, January 24, 2021.

He would continue to be laid-in-state from Monday January 25 to Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at the foyer of the Accra International Conference Centre from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

As scheduled, he was laid in state today Monday January 25, 2021. The general public along with some dignitaries including the heads of security agencies, leaders of political parties, the staff of the Office of former President Rawlings, and traditional/religious leaders were given the opportunity to file past his body to pay their last respect to him.

On Tuesday, January 26, the President and the Vice-President, their respective spouses and other high ranking members from the Judiciary and the Legislature, will also get the opportunity to file past the body of the former statesman. They will include The Chief Justice, former Chief Justices, Justices of the Supreme Court, The Speaker of Parliament, former ministers of state and members of the diplomatic corps.

They will be followed by Former Presidents and former Vice Presidents spouses together with their spouses, the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, and heads and former heads of constitutional bodies.

The state funeral for the late former President Rawlings will be held at Independence Square in Accra from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

BACKGROUND

Rawlings was born in Accra on June 22, 1947. Little is known about his family background except that it was unusual—his mother was a Ghanian of the Ewe ethnic group, his father was from Scotland. This heritage accounts for both Rawlings’s European facial features and his immense popularity with the Ewe people in Ghana. He was educated at the Achimota School, where he earned the equivalent of a high school diploma in 1966. After that he enrolled at the Ghana Military Academy at Teshie.

He became a military and political leader in Ghana who twice (1979, 1981) overthrew the government and seized power. His second period of rule (1981–2001) afforded Ghana political stability and competent economic management.

He and his Armed Forces Revolutionary Council ruled for 112 days, during which time the former heads of state, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Lieut. Gen. Frederick W.K. Akuffo, were tried and executed. Rawlings then yielded power to a freely elected civilian presidentHilla Limann, who promptly retired Rawlings from the air force.

Rawlings continued to be a popular figure, however, and on December 31, 1981, after two years of weak civilian rule during which Ghana’s economy continued to deteriorate, Rawlings overthrew Limann’s government, accusing it of leading the nation “down to total economic ruin.” Rawlings established a Provisional National Defense Council as the new government and imprisoned Limann and some 200 other politicians. “Peoples’ Defense Committees” were set up in neighbourhoods, as were workers’ councils to monitor production in factories. When the failure of these and other populist measures had become clear by 1983, Rawlings reversed course and adopted conservative economic policies, including dropping subsidies and price controls in order to reduce inflation, privatizing many state-owned companies, and devaluing the currency in order to stimulate exports. These free-market measures sharply revived Ghana’s economy, which by the early 1990s had one of the highest growth rates in Africa. In 1992, in the first presidential elections held in Ghana since 1979, Rawlings was chosen as president. He was reelected in 1996 and stepped down from the presidency in early 2001.

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