Ghana’s former leader Jerry Rawlings dies aged 73

ADDIS ABEBA – Ghana’s former military ruler and president Jerry Rawlings has died at the age of 73, according to the BBC.

He took power twice through coups and won two presidential elections following the restoration of democracy in the West African state.

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As a senior officer in the Ghana Air Force, he led a coup in 1979, before handing over to a civilian government. He again staged a coup two years later.

He headed the junta until introducing multi-party elections in 1992, when he was elected president. He stepped down in 2001 after serving two terms.

A charismatic figure, he came to power in 1979 railing against corruption.

Reports from Ghana say that the former president died in hospital in the capital, Accra, after a short illness.

In the few months that he led the country in 1979, he was responsible for executing several former heads of state and army generals after accusing them of corruption and mismanagement.

He was also seen as a champion of the poor and began his leadership of the country as a committed socialist.

Ralwings later introduced free-market reforms and ushered in a long period of political stability, that continues today, after a tumultuous series of coups in the 1960s and 1970s.


Featured Image: Jerry Rawlings is seen in this photo at a summit of African leaders in Libya in 1979. [Photo BBC/Getty]

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