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Former President Rawlings (right) died on Thursday aged 73/Photo: JJR

Buhari, other African leaders pay tribute to Rawlings

African leaders have been paying tribute to the former president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, who died in the early hours of Thursday after a brief illness.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, expressed his heartfelt condolences saying “the entire African continent will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader”.

He also said he believes that “the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years” would “continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond”.

Buhari also hoped that Rawlings’ ideas “for development in Africa… will always be remembered”.

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declared seven days of national mourning in honour of the former President.

In a statement issued by the Presidency, he said: “I have directed that all national flags should fly at half mast for the next seven days in all parts of the country and and I have declared seven days of national mourning from Friday 13th November 2020.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo (2nd from right) receives members of the family of the former President Rawlings in his office on Thursday. Far right is the eldest daughter of the deceased leader Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings/Photo: Ghana Presidency

 

“I convey the deep sympathies of the government and the people of Ghana to his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the children and the family of the late president in these difficult times.”

The statement said the Government will work closely with the family of the late president on the arrangements for “a fitting funeral” for him.

“A great tree has fallen, Ghana is poorer for this loss,” he said.

African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat tweeted: “Africa has lost a stalwart of Pan-Africanism and a charismatic continental statesman.

“My sincere condolences to his family, the people and the government of Ghana.”

He also said he believes that “the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years” would “continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond”.

President of Liberia, George Weah, in a tweet, said, “Ghana, Liberia and Africa will miss a great leader. Liberia remembers his immense contribution to the attainment and sustainment of peace during our dark days of our own history.”

Pam-Africanist Professor PLO Lumumba in a Facebook post said: “I am sad to learn of the demise of President Jerry Rawlings, a good friend and great man. Let us honour him by emulating his courage and candour. J. J. Old Soldiers never die.”

Former Nigerian Vice president, Atiku Abubakar, tweeted, “Jerry Rawlings was an African giant. His tenure as leader of Ghana remains emblematic with the restoration of that country. Even after office, he stood tall for African unity and renaissance.”

Jerry Rawlings was a former Ghanaian military leader and, later, civilian President between 1981 to 2001.

He died at the age of 73.

Abeeb Alawiye

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