Ghanaians have bade farewell to their longest-serving head of state, Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings (RTD) today after holding a four-day final funeral rites in his honour.
After bein laid in state since Monday, the body of the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was lifted to the Military cemetry at Burma Camp in Accra where he was laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon.
A final funeral rite had been held earlier at the Black Star Square when thousands of Ghanaians went to pay respect to the former Military leader.
Clad in red and black, members of his party, the NDC, and other parties such as the NPP, PNC, PPP and CPP mourned Mr Rawlings who is credited with the decentralized governance system and expanding electricity to all the regions of the country.
The first president of the Fourth Republic died on November 12, 2020 at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. He was 73.
Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings
His wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who is still in shock after the demise of Rawlings said “you were for Ghana and then for me.”
“Jerry, I know that God created us for each other, and together we made a formidable team, notwithstanding the ups and down of life,” she said. “We believed each other and in our dream of making Ghana a country we could all be proud of, one to set the pace for our sub-region and the continent. I daresay, we did not do a bad job!”
She continued, “As you worked assiduously on state matters, I concentrated on empowering the women and improving the quality of life for them irrespective of their origins or creed. We were a team, fighting to transform a collapsed state into one of potential prosperity for all.”
“You did your best and I played my part in my own way. You always said you did not need titles to define you, so you remained Flight Lieutenant J.J. Rawlings.
“You also said you did not need political titles to influence a party to do what is right and honest for Ghana, so for most, you remained Chairman.
Tributes have also been pouring for Rawlings from astute politicians and other clergy men.
President Akufo-Addo described him as his “good friend and a repository of sound advice.”
Reading his tribute at the funeral grounds, Akufo-Addo said in moments of difficulty in his presidency, he could count on Mr Rawlings’ considerable “wealth of experience and knowledge.”
“On those occasions, he [Rawlings] came through for me,” Akufo-Addo disclosed on Wednesday afternon.
What Did Mahama Say?
And one man in his time plays many parts.
You strode onto Ghana’s political stage like a colossus and played many parts. Your part in the political drama has left an enduring legacy for our nation.
No man is perfect and “as it is written, there is no one righteous, not even one’’ (Romans 3:10). And yet, the sum of your role in Ghana’s history will be remembered positively.
Your role in bringing peace and stability to ECOWAS Subregion, especially the Liberian and Sierra Leone civil wars, is acknowledged and celebrated.
Your leadership in what was the most difficult decade in Ghana’s history led to important reforms that created the political stability and economic growth that we now consider absolutely normal.
Your signature promulgating the 1992 Constitution gave birth the most enduring democratic Republic Ghana has experienced in its entire historical existence. Ghana has you to thank for this.
The decentralised local government system based on the District Assembly concept is also a lasting legacy of your stewardship in Ghana’s political space.
Your contribution to the African success story in collaboration with other progressive African leaders culminated in ending apartheid in South culminated in ending apartheid and swearing-in of Nelson Mandela as its first black president.
Your penchant for saying it as it is without regard for political sensibilities earned you the moniker “Mr. Boom”.
A proud son of the Volta Region, you gave Ghana another chance and a new breath of life under the 4th Republic. On this lifelong quest to achieve truth, probity and accountability, you gave your soul, your thoughts, your heart and all your energy ceaselessly.
Last year, during the celebration of the 31st December anniversary Winneba you were in high spirits. Little did any of us who were with you that day know that we’ll celebrate the next anniversary of the revolution without you. As founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) your death leaves a vast vacuum that would be hard to fill.
None can match your political astuteness, wit and charisma. For those of us the comrades you’ve left behind, it is time to close ranks and collectively work to guarantee the unity and survival of your party NDC as a vehicle that entrenches your memory and legacy for posterity.
“Boss” – you may be gone but your memory will continue to inspire countless generations of Ghanaians to challenge the status quo and use their non-conformism to spur societal progress.
You were and remain the soldier of a lifelong and restless quest for freedom and justice. Flt Lt L. Rawlings, Chairman of the AFRC. Chairman of the PNDC, leader of the revolution, 1? President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, rest in eternal peace.