OBITUARY: Rawlings, the revolutionary who executed three ex-presidents and was admired in Nigeria
“Our flesh pressers want the Rawlings remedy!”
Should you ever puzzled what some Nigerian activists and commentators meant by that, here’s a clue: it’s not a medical remedy. It isn’t a pedicure both.
On June 4, 1979, a gaggle of troopers smuggled Jerry John Rawlings, a flight lieutenant within the Ghana Air Drive, out of jail — the place he was awaiting execution for a failed coup — and introduced the overthrow of Fred Akuffo, the army head of state.
Rawlings, a junior officer, went on to rule for simply 112 days earlier than handing over energy to a democratically elected authorities.
By then, although, he had executed, by firing squad, eight army officers, together with three former heads of state — Akwasi Afrifa, Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Akuffo — for “corruption”. Protecting them alive, he argued, meant they might proceed to destabilise and corrupt the system due to their affect.
For a very long time, the agitation in Nigerian radical circles — the place Rawlings was held in excessive esteem — was that the “corrupt” Nigerian political class wanted to bear “the Rawlings remedy” if the nation would ever transfer ahead.
Nigeria is now a democracy and army coups are more and more a factor of the previous, however Rawlings remains to be held in excessive esteem amongst those that supported his “revolutionary” stint within the nation’s West African neighbours.
All Rawlings ever wished to do was sort out corruption.
VOWED TO CLEAN UP CORRUPTION
Stressed, Rawlings was again once more in December 1981, lower than three years after, with one other coup to kick out Limann, whom he accused of permitting corruption to fester.
“They have been a pack of criminals who bled Ghana to the bone,” stated Rawlings in a broadcast on Accra Radio, January 1, 1982.
”I’m ready at this second to face a firing squad if what I attempt to do for the second time in my life doesn’t meet the approval of Ghanaians,” he continued, including that his group would ”clear up corruption. By God or the Satan.”
For him, it was nothing greater than to re-organise Ghana.
Rawlings remained in workplace for 11 years, after which transmuted right into a democratically elected president in January 1993 on the platform of the Nationwide Democratic Congress (NDC), a political social gathering he based. He served as president for 2 phrases of eight years, and bowed out in January 2001.
‘GHANA SO CORRUPT… AFTER WE LEFT OFFICE’
The expectation of any good chief is to see a consolidation on the legacy left behind. However Rawlings appeared to not have been impressed with the best way the affairs of the nation had been managed by his successors. In a 2016 interview, the previous president expressed shock at how his nation was now being whitewashed.
“Not too lengthy after I left workplace, I used to be giving a chat in Tanzanian and I stated the world was going to see an exponential development of terrorism. I had left workplace and the western media and western governments have been desperately whitewashing the picture of Ghana despite the atrocities and the corruption that was happening in my nation after we had left workplace,” he stated.
“Ghana had turn out to be a captive state, being whitewashed. You see how they orchestrate issues? That is what I need you to get up to. Now, it would curiosity you to know that, whereas they have been whitewashing, making these claims and issues have been additionally falling aside, as late as only a few months in the past, BBC now claims that terrorism had risen by 84%, making a misunderstanding at the moment. That is the facility of the Western media.”
‘ABACHA WAS PATRIOTIC’
In what many Nigerians would see as an irony, Rawlings — who turned well-liked throughout the sub Saharan Africa for his stance towards corruption — described Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s late army ruler, as a patriot.
Abacha reportedly embezzled an estimated sum of $3 billion, stashed in overseas banks and up till 2020, the nation remains to be recovering the sum. Nevertheless, Rawlings maintained an excellent relationship with Abacha who was Nigeria’s head of state from 1993 to 1998, the years Rawlings additionally held sway in Ghana.
In an interview, Rawlings, questioning why Abacha was “caught up in such practices”, stated he was nonetheless Nigeria’s saviour.
“However he was one hell of a nationalist and really patriotic. Abacha saved the nation. A few of you could not know this. However I additionally had my fingers on issues,” he stated.
“Some might not need to hear it. However the departure of that gentleman referred to as Abiola, the one who handed away, saved Nigeria from a possible explosion. Shonekan couldn’t deal with the state of affairs and Abacha stepped in. There’s additionally one thing else we shouldn’t lose sight of. When I’m speaking about the potential for an explosion, it’s in regards to the circumstances and the personalities concerned. Abiola plus Shonekan (who was a person of integrity) couldn’t even be seen to carry it.”
He argued that, on the time, Nigeria wanted retired generals who can’t be intimidated by the army, and that was “how come characters like Obasanjo may come again or for that matter, this gentleman, President Buhari, who can’t be intimidated by the army. It has its worth, however I feel it’s a transition that we’re all going via or you’re going via.”
THE $2MILLION FROM ABACHA
In July 2016, Rawlings drew the ire of many Nigerians when he admitted that he obtained $2 million from Abacha. The previous Ghana president stated he collected $2 million from Abacha when Ghana wanted funds for “constitutional actions”.
“We have been making ready for constitutional rule. We would have liked funds for some actions, and we bought contributions from few locations, The attention-grabbing factor is that I by no means went to, or requested Abacha for any contribution. And that is one thing that impressed me in regards to the man. I didn’t ask him for a penny. However he clearly understood sure conditions, our state of affairs, and graciously despatched me a small suitcase of cash,” he advised The Guardian.
His resolution to gather cash from Abacha angered many Nigerians, who seen him because the anti-corruption hero of the West Africa area, following his position within the execution of corrupt leaders in Ghana. Some even requested him to return the cash given to him by Abacha.
SPOKE ABOUT THE #ENDSARS PROTESTS
Rawlings confirmed curiosity in Nigeria until his final days. Throughout final month’s protest towards police brutality, his voice was not lacking. In the future after the capturing incident at Lekki toll gate in Lagos, the ex-Ghanaian president was amongst those that referred to as for restraint on the a part of the authorities.
Troopers had been deployed within the Lekki toll gate the place they forcefully dispersed protesters.
In a tweet, the deceased had stated: “My coronary heart goes out to #Nigeria and #Nigerians and I encourage all to maneuver in direction of non-violent engagement. All conscientious residents of Africa should condemn the bloodshed and name on all events to behave with integrity…”
LEFT OFFICE CASHLESS
Uncommon that an African chief, particularly one who had served nearly twenty years, wouldn’t have been tempted to amass wealth to himself. Largely accused of sit-tightism syndrome, these leaders moderately than develop their international locations transfer large quantities of cash and belongings abroad for themselves.
However talking at a convention in September, 2019, Rawlings stated he and Konadu, his spouse, left the state home with out having a greenback of their account. In actual fact, he would declare that not till 2001 after leaving workplace that he opened a overseas account.
“What number of of you’d imagine that after 19 years in workplace, my spouse and I left, we didn’t have one greenback in any overseas or native account. Within the first place we didn’t personal a overseas account then. We solely did after we left workplace,” he stated.
“My spouse and I opened a overseas account on the urging of former United Nations Common Secretary, Kofi Annan. He advised me he’ll want me to assist in the UN anti AIDS marketing campaign and as soon as in whereas the UN can pay me some allowance.”
He added that the overseas checking account was now not useful following the closure of the programme for which it was opened.
Within the 2016 interview, he had additionally defined how “cash was not my factor.”
Whereas acknowledging Ghana monetary standing, he stated his authorities labored day and night time to ensure they put the nation on a stable basis for financial explosion.
“We had our pleasure and our dignity was not out on the market,” he stated.
“I recall that within the early days I didn’t have any cash within the account and someone gave me one million greenback cheque. I simply threw it on the workshop desk. Eight years later, one among our comrades jogged my memory in regards to the cheque and stated we would want the cash for one thing and I requested him to go search for it.”
TOOK A BOW AFTER MOTHER’S EXIT
There’s an African prayer that kids mustn’t die earlier than their mother and father.
Within the case of Rawlings, this was precisely the case, as he crossed to the good past six weeks after the demise of his mom who handed away on the age of 101.
Throughout her funeral in October, Rawlings went down reminiscence lane, recalling a few of the excellent moments together with his adored mom. In a glowing tribute, he stated: “My mom was powerful and decided and by no means stopped threatening the usage of the rod. She was fearless and had probably the most superb work ethic.
“She believed that the satan discovered use of the idle hand, so saved herself and people round her busy always.”
Rawlings stated his mom laid the inspiration for him to offer off his greatest when he turned a pilot within the No. 4 Squadron of the Ghana Air Drive.
In his days at Achimota College, he recounted events she came over him however met his absence as a result of he had gone to the Achimota Forest to benefit from the tranquillity of nature.
“…as I headed again via the arboretum, I may see her standing in entrance of Guggisberg Home wagging her finger at some poor pupil who was unfamiliar together with her temperament. Invariably she was leaving a warning of some type behind for me.”
The previous president reminisced his mom’s encounter with Otumfuo Osei Tutu Agyeman-Prempe, a outstanding monarch, on the state home the place she used to work as a baker.
“Once I went to go to her on the State Home, I heard her yelling at somebody. I adopted her voice around the constructing until I arrived on the scene to witness my mom standing within the backyard, rebuking somebody on the balcony on the high of her voice,” he stated.
“I regarded up, and it was none aside from Otumfuo Osei Tutu Agyeman-Prempeh II, the then Asantehene (of blessed reminiscence) who had requested for salt from a junior workers member opposite to his strict dietary necessities. Naturally, he turned away and went into his room when he noticed the shocked expression on my face.
“Auntie Vic was speaking to this nice King as if he was her son! She was fearless with little regard for political correctness.”
TheCable understands that after the burial on October 24, 2020, Rawlings started to exhibit COVID-19 signs and was taken to the Korle Bu Educating Hospital in Accra on Saturday.
His situations didn’t enhance as he was stated to even have underlying illnesses.
He died on Thursday morning at 10:10am.
Born June 22, 1947 in Accra, Ghana to a Scottish father and a Ghanaian mom, Rawlings was educated at Achimoto Faculty and the army academy at Teshie. He was commissioned a second lieutenant within the Ghanaian Air Drive in 1969 and have become a flight-lieutenant and professional pilot, with particular talent in aerobatics.
Rawlings, a revered elder statesman in Ghana and throughout Africa, is survived by 4 kids – three daughters – Zanetor, Yaa Asantewaa and Amina – and Kimathi, a son.
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