A three-time Head of State of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, has exited this life just when he was entering a critical stage of his political life – with the party he founded virtually abandoning him when it should have been a source of comfort to him in his waning years.
Appearing healthy all the time, ex-President Rawlings, who had been particularly careful with his health, always kept to the political issues, even when people disagreed with him.
Particularly in dealing with issues within his own political party, Jerry Rawlings did not only keep the heat on government, including his own National Democratic Congress, but also some of his lieutenants, who he believes were corrupting the cherished principles of probity and accountability.
As a statesman, he was always in the news for all sorts of reasons, more particularly on issues that had to do with corruption and sanitation as well as carnage on our roads and delays at the courts.
The global community, however, remembers Rawlings for his successful eradication of guinea worm in Ghana and handover of power in 2000 to the newly-elected Kufuor administration.
He also carved a remarkable image as the Head of State of Ghana who worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to put Ghana on the map through a successful Economic Recovery Programme that laid strong foundations for the Ghanaian economy after decades of economic slump blamable on poor governance.
There were even reports that he would accept an offer to lead peace-building programmes at the UN at a time West Africa experienced turbulence returning to democratic rule. It appeared, however, that he loved simplicity than that elevated position.
Rawlings died just at the time he was said to be writing his memoires, after one of his trusted aides and top functionary, Professor Kwamina Ahwoi, had dropped his bombshell ‘WORKING WITH RAWLINGS’ in which he expressed his memories of Jerry Rawlings in a manner considered by some NDC and Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) loyalists as obscene and treacherous.
How zealous he was in getting ordinary citizens participate in decision-making was evident in his initiation of a constitution drawn by a wide array of citizens. They included lowly-placed people like butchers and other “non-professional bodies”.
Despite the turbulence characterising his three-time tenures, the departed former President still finds space in the hearts of younger generations for the strong leadership he offered at a time politicians and public officials took their calling for granted, resulting in stunted economic growth.
It is interesting that beneficiaries of his political estate were later to lead in denigrating the values that had sustained his long stay in power. Even into the waning years of his life, kids in politics who never saw those turbulent periods joined the band of Rottweiler dogs who secretly continued to bay for his blood.
It is the belief of the Daily Statesman that the Almighty God would give him perfect and peaceful rest.