In less than some 24 hours, it would be exactly a year since the passing of Ghana’s former President, Jerry John Rawlings.
In memory of the late former president and in commemoration of the first anniversary of his passing, GhanaWeb brings to you some famous quotes of the founder of Ghana’s Fourth and current constitutional Republic.
1. I, Rawlings will not turn round and commit the very crime for which another man lost his life.
2. The most dangerous mistake of any political force is to forget its roots
3. The test of religious belief is not in pious platitudes and cautious charity but in positive and creative action.
4. Food is a political weapon…Africa’s foremost defence is self-sufficiency in food. Until we attain a substantial measure of freedom from food dependency, we are vulnerable to manipulation by the wealthier nations.
5. I would dare you to go and line up some of your finest policemen, some of your finest head of states, some of your finest, what you call it “judges”, make any allegations against me. You included. One of the questions you want to ask. Take me through a chemical interrogation, I will be the one who will pass. I wonder how many of you will pass.
- Whatever form of government we adopt as a people to suit our peculiar circumstances, our basic tenet is our common yearning and concern for every individual; for politics, whatever its colour, must be an avenue to serve our fellowmen.
- It is not the absence of military interventions, which we seem to have achieved that will restore democracy, freedom, justice and development. What is required is the integrity of leadership and the ability to empower the people. Leadership should have confidence in our people and not feel intimidated by empowering them”
About Jerry John Rawlings
Jerry John Rawlings (22 June 1947 – 12 November 2020) was a Ghanaian military officer and politician who led the country from 1981 to 2001 and also for a brief period in 1979.
He led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana.
Jerry John Rawlings was born in Accra on 22nd June, 1947, to a Ghanaian mother from Dzelukope, near Keta, in the Volta Region, and a Scottish father.
He was educated at Achimota School where he obtained his General Certificate of Education ‘O’ Level in 1966. He enlisted as a Flight Cadet in the Ghana Air Force in August, 1967, and was subsequently selected for officer cadet training at the Ghana Military Academy and Training School, Teshie, in Accra.
In March, 1968, he was posted to Takoradi in the Western Region to continue his course. He passed out in January, 1969, as a commissioned Pilot Officer. He won the coveted “Speed Bird Trophy” as the best cadet in flying and airmanship. He earned the rank of Flight-Lieutenant in April, 1978. He was an efficient officer with a close rapport with his men.
During his service with the Ghana Air Force, he witnessed the deterioration of discipline and morale, reflecting the corruption of the regime of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) at that time. As promotion brought him into contact with the privileged classes and their social values, his awareness of the injustices in society was sharpened. He was thus regarded with some unease by the SMC.
He read widely and discussed social and political ideas with a growing circle of like-minded friends and colleagues.
On May 28, 1979, Flt.-Lt. Rawlings, together with six others, appeared before a General Court Martial in Accra, charged with leading a mutiny of junior officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces on 15th May, 1979.
There was strong public reaction, especially after his statement had been read in court, explaining the social injustices that had prompted him to act. The ranks of the Armed Forces, in particular, expressed deep sympathy with his stated aims.
When he was scheduled for another court appearance on 4th June, 1979, Flt.-Lt. Rawlings was sprung from custody. With the support of both military and civilians, he led a revolt, which decisively ousted the Supreme Military Council from office and brought the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) into being.
The AFRC, under the chairmanship of Flt.Lt. Rawlings, carried out a “house-cleaning exercise” aimed at purging the Armed Forces and society at large of corruption and graft as well as restoring a sense of moral responsibility and the principles of accountability and probity in public life.
Meanwhile, following the programme already set in motion before the 4th June Uprising for civilian administration, general elections were held. On 24th September, 1979, the AFRC handed over to the civilian Government of the People’s National Party (PNP) under President Hilla Limann.
On 31st December, 1981, Flt. Lt. Rawlings led a section of the Armed Forces to overthrow the PNP administration. A Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), composed of both civilian and military members, was established, with Flt-Lt. J.J. Rawlings as the Chairman.
His interests include reading, building model aircraft, horse-riding and swimming. He is married to Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings with whom he has four children – three girls and a boy.
Flt-Lt. Rawlings ceased to be a member of the Ghana Armed Forces with effect from September 14, 1992. He formed the National Democratic Congress, which contested and won the 1992 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. He and the party again won the 1996 elections. His term of office ends in the year 2000.
He is the joint recipient of the 1993 World Hunger Prize. He holds 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 passed away at age 73 on November 12, 2020, at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital two months after that of his mother, Victoria Agbotui, on 24 September 2020.
Rawlings was married to Nana Konadu Agyeman, who he met while at Achimota College. They had three daughters: Zanetor Rawlings, Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings, Amina Rawlings; and one son, Kimathi Rawlings.