|Birth Day:||June 22, 1947|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He was an army pilot and was sentenced to death for plotting a coup on the government of General Fred Akuffo but was spring from custody by a group of soldiers before he could be executed.
Jerry John Rawlings was born Jerry Rawlings John on 22 June 1947 in Accra, Ghana, to Victoria Agbotui, an Ewe from Dzelukope, Keta, and James Ramsey John, a chemist from Castle Douglas in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, with descendants living in Newcastle and London. Rawlings attended Achimota School and a military academy at Teshie. Rawlings was married to Nana Konadu Agyeman, whom he met while at Achimota College. They had three daughters: Zanetor Rawlings, Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings, Amina Rawlings; and one son, Kimathi Rawlings.
Rawlings finished his secondary education at Achimota College in 1967. He joined the Ghana Air Force shortly afterwards; on his application, the military switched his surname John and his middle name Rawlings. In March 1968, he was posted to Takoradi, in Ghana's Western Region, to continue his studies. He graduated in January 1969, and was commissioned as a pilot officer, winning the coveted "Speed Bird Trophy" as the best cadet in flying the Su-7 ground attack supersonic jet aircraft as he was skilled in aerobatics. He earned the rank of flight lieutenant in April 1978. During his service with the Ghana Air Force, Rawlings perceived a deterioration in discipline and morale due to corruption in the Supreme Military Council (SMC). As promotion brought him into contact with the privileged classes and their social values, his view of the injustices in society hardened. He was thus regarded with some unease by the SMC. After the 1979 coup, he involved himself with the student community of the University of Ghana, where he developed a more leftist ideology through reading and discussion of social and political ideas.
Rawlings grew discontented with Ignatius Kutu Acheampong's government, which had come to power through a coup in January 1972. Acheampong was accused not only of corruption, but also of maintaining Ghana's dependency on pre-colonial powers that led to economic decline and impoverishment.
Rawlings was part of the Free Africa Movement, an underground movement of military officers who wanted to unify Africa through a series of coups. On 15 May 1979, five weeks prior to civilian elections, Rawlings and six other soldiers staged a coup against the government of General Fred Akuffo, but failed and were arrested by the Ghanaian military. Rawlings was publicly sentenced to death in a General Court Martial and imprisoned, although his statements on the social injustices that motivated his actions won him civilian sympathy. While awaiting execution, Rawlings was sprung from custody on 4 June 1979 by a group of soldiers. Claiming that the government was corrupt beyond redemption and that new leadership was required for Ghana's development, he led the group in a coup to oust the Akuffo Government and Supreme Military Council. Shortly afterwards, Rawlings established and became the Chairman of a 15-member Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), primarily composed of junior officers. He and the AFRC ruled for 112 days and arranged the execution by firing squad of eight military officers, including Generals Kotei, Joy Amedume, Roger Felli, and Utuka, as well as the three former heads of state: Afrifa, Acheampong, and Akuffo.
The executions were dramatic events in Ghana history, which had suffered few instances of political violence. Rawlings later implemented a much wider "house-cleaning exercise" involving the killings and abduction of over 300 Ghanaians. Elections were held on time shortly after the coup. On 24 September 1979, power was peacefully handed over by Rawlings to President Hilla Limann, whose People's National Party (PNP) had the support of Nkrumah's followers. Two years later Rawlings ousted President Hilla Limann in a coup d'état on 31 December 1981, claiming that civilian rule was weak and the country's economy was deteriorating. The killings of the Supreme Court justices (Cecilia Koranteng-Addow, Frederick Sarkodie, and Kwadjo Agyei Agyepong), military officers Major Sam Acquah and Major Dasana Nantogmah also occurred during the second military rule of Rawlings. However, unlike the 1979 executions, these people were abducted and killed in secret and it is unclear who was behind their murders, though Joachim Amartey Kwei and four others were convicted of four of these murders, which involved all three Justices and Acquah, and were executed in 1982.
Believing the Limann regime to be unable to resolve Ghana's neocolonial economic dependency, Rawlings led a second coup against Limann and indicted the entire political class on 31 December 1981. In place of Limann's People's National Party, Rawlings established the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) military junta as the official government.
Rawlings hosted state visits from "revolutionaries" in other countries, including Dési Bouterse (Suriname), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), and Sam Nujoma (Namibia). More famously, Rawlings reversed Limann's boycott of Gaddafist Libya, allowing the Black Stars to compete in the 1982 African Cup of Nations. The team won the AFCON trophy for the fourth time, their last win as of 2020.
Although the PNDC claimed to be representative of the people, it lacked experience in the creation and implementation of clear economic policies. Rawlings, like many of his predecessors, attributed current economic and social problems to the "trade malpractices and other anti-social activities" of a few businesspeople. In December 1982, the PNDC announced its four-year economic program of establishing a state monopoly on export-import trade with the goal of eliminating corruption surrounding import licences and shift trade away from dependency on Western markets. Unrealistic price controls were imposed on the market and enforced through coercive acts, especially against businesspeople. This resolve to employ state control over the economy is best demonstrated by the destruction of the Makola No.1 Market. The PNDC established Workers' Defence Committees (WDCs) and People's Defence Committees (PDCs) to mobilize the population to support radical changes to the economy. Price controls on the sale of food were beneficial to urban workers, but placed undue burden on 70% of the rural population whose income largely depended on the prices of agricultural products. Rawlings' economic policies led to an economic crisis in 1983, forcing him to undertake structural adjustment and submit himself to election to retain power. Elections were held in January 1992, leading Ghana back to multiparty democracy.
Rawlings established the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) suggested by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 1982 due to the poor state of the economy after 18 months of attempting to govern it through administrative controls and mass mobilization. The policies implemented caused a dramatic currency devaluation, the removal of price controls and social-service subsidies that favored farmers over urban workers, and privatization of some state-owned enterprises, and restraints on government spending. Funding was provided by bilateral donors, reaching US$800 million in 1987 and 1988, and US$900 million in 1989.
Rawlings established the National Commission on Democracy (NCD) shortly after the 1982 coup, and employed it to survey civilian opinion and make recommendations that would facilitate the process of democratic transition. In March 1991, the NCD released a report recommending the election of an executive president, the establishment of a national assembly, and the creation of a prime minister post. The PNDC used NCD recommendations to establish a committee for the drafting of a new constitution based on past Ghanaian Constitutions, that lifted the ban on political parties in May 1992 after it was approved by referendum.
On 3 November 1992, election results compiled by the INEC from 200 constituencies showed that Rawlings' NDC had won 60% of the votes, and had obtained the majority needed to prevent a second round of voting. More specifically, the NDC won 62% in the Brong-Ahafo region, 93% in the Volta region, and majority votes in Upper West, Upper East, Western, Northern, Central, and Greater Accra regions. His opponents Professor Adu Boahen won 31% of the votes, former President Hilla Limann won 6.8%, Kwabena Darko won 2.9%, and Emmanuel Erskine won 1.7%. Voter turnout was 50%.
Between 1992 and 1996, Rawlings eased control over the judiciary and civil society, allowing a more independent Supreme Court and the publication of independent newspapers. Opposition parties operated outside of parliament and held rallies and press conferences.
The two major contenders of the 1996 election were Rawlings' NDC, and John Kufuor's Great Alliance, an amalgamation of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the People's Convention Party (PCP). The Great Alliance based their platform on ousting Rawlings, and attacked the incumbent government for its poor fiscal policies. However, they were unable to articulate a clear positive message of their own, or plans to change the current economic policy. As Ghana was heavily dependent on international aid, local leaders had minimal impact on the economy. The Electoral Commission reported that Rawlings had won by 57%, with Kufuor obtaining 40% of the vote. Results by district were similar to those in 1992, with the opposition winning the Ashanti Region and some constituencies in Eastern and Greater Accra, and Rawlings winning in his ethnic home, the Volta, and faring well in every other region. The NDC took 134 seats in the Assembly compared to the opposition's 66, and the NPP took 60 seats in the parliament.
Rawlings took office on 7 January 1993, the same day that the new constitution came into effect, and the government became known as the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
Kufuor succeeded in defeating Rawlings' vice-president John Atta Mills in 2000. In 2004, Mills conceded to Kufuor and Kufuor ran for another four years.
In November 2000, Rawlings was named the first International Year of Volunteers 2001 Eminent Person by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, attending various events and conferences to promote volunteerism. He established the constitution of 1988.
In accordance with his constitutional mandate, Rawlings' term in office ended in 2001. He retired in 2001 and was succeeded by John Agyekum Kufuor, his main rival and opponent in 1996.
In October 2010, Rawlings was named African Union envoy to Somalia. In November 2010, he attended the inauguration of Dési Bouterse as President of Suriname, and took a tour of the country. He was especially interested in the Ghanaian origins of the Maroon people.
He gave lectures at universities, including Oxford University. Rawlings continued his heavy support for NDC. In July 2019, he went on a three-day working trip to Burkina Faso in the capacity of Chairman of the Thomas Sankara Memorial Committee.
In September 2019, he paid a tribute on behalf of the president and people of Ghana, when he led a delegation to the funeral of Robert Mugabe, the late former president of Zimbabwe.
Rawlings died on 12 November 2020 at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, a week after being admitted for an undisclosed ailment. His death came nearly two months after that of his mother, Victoria Agbotui, on 24 September 2020. President Nana Akufo-Addo declared a seven-day period of mourning in his honor and flags flown at half-mast. His family members appealed to the Government of Ghana to bury him in Keta in the Volta region.
Currently, Jerry Rawlings is 74 years, 1 months and 14 days old. Jerry Rawlings will celebrate 75th birthday on a Wednesday 22nd of June 2022.
Find out about Jerry Rawlings birthday activities in timeline view here.