Jerry John Rawlings remembered two years after his death
Two years ago, Thursday, November 12, 2020, Ghana was greeted with the shocking news of the death of former President Jerry John Rawlings, who was dedicated to the nation’s development during his 19 years rule as Head of State and President of Ghana.
“The shock was deep and the sadness, overwhelming. The grief was interspersed with utter disbelief,” the J.J. Rawlings Foundation said in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of his passing.
“To many who took inspiration from his leadership, he was looked upon as a father figure, and a man who stood by his principles with such deep commitment that never wavered.”
It said as Head of State and President of Ghana, he introduced, just by virtue of his nature, a unique element to leadership that endeared him to most Ghanaians.
A case in point was when he joined workers to rehabilitate Ghana’s railroads; inspection of infrastructural development projects personally and taking time to speak with the workers.
It said when a national disaster occurred, he would join the Ghana Armed Forces in their emergency relief efforts.
The statement, signed by Mr Kobina Andoh Amoakwa, the Executive Secretary at the former President’s Office, said in Ghana, when there were ethnic conflicts, President Rawlings would be there physically to help engender peace.
It said during civil unrests in countries in the sub-region, his background as an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces played a significantly strategic role in the country’s conflict resolution protocols.
In the 1980s, J.J. Rawlings insisted that Government institutions mounted the Ghana Coat of Arms of Freedom and Justice and not his picture.
However, there were some secretaries of the PNDC (ministers) at the time that defied that and placed Rawlings’ picture in their offices.
J.J. Rawlings stood for the welfare of Ghana and for the people of Ghana throughout his life, the statement said, with support to many who required varied help, particularly educational and medical assistance.
“Today, it is a common occurrence to see a photograph of him at the back of taxis, trotros and commercial buses. This act holds its own symbolism – he was ‘The Man for the People, and The People remember him,” it said.
“They remember his courage and his unwavering duty to speak on pertinent national issues that resonated directly with the ordinary Ghanaian.”
“He did not hesitate to ‘say what needed to be said’ even if he went against the political grain – as long as it was for the common good of the People of Ghana.”
The statement said Rawlings’ administration was credited with the institutionalisation of participatory governance through the establishment of the municipal and district assemblies; rural development programmes; and the expansion of electricity across the country, which contributed to bridging the north-south divide of Ghana.
The National Development Planning framework; ensuring food security; implementation of aggressive policies on the exportation of gold, cocoa and other cash crops; the free zones concept and a host of other nationalist policies to mention but a few, were all testament to his time as Head of State and President of Ghana, it said.
“On November 12, 2022, exactly two years after his passing, we remember JJ for his courage, his commitment, his leadership. We remember JJ for living a life of purpose that is yet to be fully understood.”
“Rest in peace Sir. You are fondly remembered by your family; by those who believed in your vision and contributed to effecting it; by people in Ghana and Africa who are inspired by your life.”