Former President of Ghana, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings died on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital after he was admitted following a short illness.
Although his death has been a big blow to Ghana, many have received the grim news with mixed reactions. While some subtly rejoice and say Rawlings has been rewarded for all the wrongs he did, others have nothing much to say about him other than what they have heard and read in books.
Controversies upon controversies have erupted following his demise with some rumours of Rawlings allegedly having a son outside the walls of his marriage. Also, the likes of Hajia Fati have alleged dangerously that former President Mahama killed Rawlings.
On the hand, prophets are claiming points for correctly predicting or prophesying the death of Rawlings and are outdoing each other in a bid to court public admiration and recognition.
Well, Rawlinsg was known first as a military man who masterminded several coups. Also, he is known and revered for ushering Ghana into its fourth republic with the coming into force of the 1992 constitution which is the sovereign book that guides and guards our democracy.
J J Rawlings or Papa J, as he is affectionately called is the one individual in the history of Ghana who has led the nation more than any other person, not even Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. His democratic tenure as president of Ghana spanned from 1993 to 2001 where he made several strides and positioned Ghana for economic growth and development.
Below Are List Of Achievements Of The Rawlings’ Regime:
- Achieved political and economic stability in a region rife with conflicts (for example Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone).
- Created 110 districts through non-partisan district level elections. Education, infrastructure developments and healthcare all devolved to the district level. Annual government subvention by law goes to the district — unthinkable in many other African countries.
- Absorbed hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians living in Nigeria who were expelled. Housed them at El -Wak Stadium in 1983 and then moved them to their family homes. Most other economies, including even advanced ones such as Germany, saw their economies suffer when they reunified with integrated citizens (for example German reunification)
- Built first-ever memorials to Kwame Nkrumah and W.E.B. DuBois.
- Followed an independent foreign policy
- Returned Ghana to democratic rule in 1992, after a public referendum by a wide majority, approved a new constitution. Neither Nigeria, Iraq, Togo, nor Côte d’Ivoire was able to achieve this feat (in Nigeria two governments were overthrown during this period).
- Passed the value-added tax (VAT of 10%) to secure the government revenue base, which today funds most government public expenditures.
- Passed the Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GET Fund) that is today educating millions of Ghanaians.
- First Ghanaian President in 20 years to be received on a state visit of the US.
- Expanded electricity to Northern parts of Ghana – hitherto ignored by ruling elites since 1957.
- Both Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II visited Ghana during Rawlings tenure to highlight the successes of the country.
- The NDC’s agricultural policy and programme 1994-2000 resulted in the recognition of Ghana’s Food Production Index of 148% for 1995-1997 as “the third-highest achievement in the record after Jordan (157%) and China (156%) in the World Bank’s “1999-2000 Development Report.”
- Contributed immensely towards dispute resolution and peacekeeping in several of the unstable countries in the West African sub-region and beyond.
- Started the Expansion Project and the Renovation of the 37 Military Hospital.
- In the urban road sector, reconstructed the entire Kumasi city roads, Sekondi-Takoradi city roads and Accra city roads. In Accra, these included the six-lane dual carriage road leading to the four-lane dual carriage road from the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange to the Independence Avenue.
- Constructed the Kumasi-Sunyani asphalt road; the Kintampo-Tamale-Bolgatanga-Paga Faso asphalt road; and the double surfacing bitumen Bibiani-Awaso-Sefwi Wiawso road.
- Established the University for Development Studies, and used his Hunger Award Prize Money to buy books for the University’s Library.
- He upgraded the Winneba Advanced Teacher Training College into a full-fledged public University of Education, Winneba, thus adding two new public Universities to the three that had existed since independence.
- Introduced the policy of allowing the establishment of private tertiary institutions, including Universities, to supplement the public sector Universities. Implemented the policy of one region, one Polytechnic.
- Made sure that every district had at least two senior secondary schools.
- Constructed the modern regional hospitals at Cape Coast, Ho and Sunyani. Numerous modern district hospitals were constructed in the district capitals all over the country.
- Potable water was provided for so many communities that at the time he was leaving office, guinea worm infestation had virtually been eradicated from Ghana.
- The housing sector, the sprawling housing estates at Adenta, Sakumono, Lashibi, and on the Spintex Road all in Accra and the SSNIT Estates all over the country were constructed during His Era.
- There was the smooth, historic transfer of power from the NDC to the NPP.
- The creation of District Assemblies’ Common Fund, the GetFund, the Road Fund, the EDIF and the Energy Fund
- Ghana’s huge reputation in international peacekeeping, coupled with the ability of H. E Jerry John Rawlings to get the illustrious son of Ghana, Kofi Annan, elected as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.