Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings (J.J Rawlings)
Former President (1993-2001)
Date of Birth: 22/06/1947
Place of Birth: Accra, Gold Coast
Education: O Levels, Achimota School, 1966; Officer Cadet Training, Ghana Military Academy, Accra and Takoradi, 1967-69.
Career: Pilot, Ghana Air Force (GAF), 1969-78; Flight Lieutenant, GAF, 1978-92; Head of State, Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), 1979; Head of State, Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), Ghana, 1981-93; President of Ghana, National Democratic Congress (NDC), 1993-2001.
Commentary: Rawlings staged his first military coup as a
young revolutionary in May 1979. When it failed, he was imprisoned and
sentenced to death. Following another coup mounted by junior army
officers in June 1979, Rawlings was set free, and became Head of State
under the banner of the the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. In September 1979, the AFRC handed
over power to Hilla Limann of the People's National Party, after he won the presidential elections.
In 1981, Rawlings toppled Limann in yet another coup. He remained a
military dictator for 12 years until he was elected President in 1993,
a position he held until 2001, when John Kufuor's New Patriotic Party (NPP) government came to power.
Although praised by many in the West as a democratic figure, especially in comparison to his counterparts in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Rawlings has not been able to shake off the stigma of military dictatorship.
As founder of the NDC, he continues to wield considerable influence over the party. Despite backing John Atta Mills in his bid for the presidency, he has been very vocal in his criticism of the Mills government.