Former President Jerry John Rawlings is dead, according to Ghanaian media reports.
Rawlings, who ruled Ghana for the longest period of its postcolonial history, passed on Thursday (12 November) after a brief illness. He had been hospitalised in Accra for about a week for an undisclosed ailment before his death. He was 73.
Rawlings, who was born in Accra on 22 June 1947 to a Ghanaian mother and a Scottish father, rose to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force, following a coup détat in 1979..
Rawlings, who was a former Ghanaian military leader and, later, civilian President between 1981 to 2001, buried his mother Madam Victoria Agbotui in October.
Rawlings left office in 2000 after exhausting Ghana’s constitutional term-limit of eight years for Presidents and handed power to then opposition leader John Kufour, after the ruling party lost the election.
After he left office, Rawlings was active in the country’s politics and international initiatives for peace.
Seen as a hero of good governance across Africa, Rawlings’s legacy in Ghana is however controversial. His political detractors accuse him of human rights violation and dictatorship during his rule while his supporters credit him for bringing order, security and prosperity to the country.