Former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana has died.
InsideBenue gathered that the ex-president died on Thursday at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, capital of Ghana after suffering from some health complications. He exhibited signs of Covid 19, reports say.
WHO WAS RAWLINGS
Rawlings was born in on June 22, 1947 in Accra, Gold Coast. He first appeared on the Ghanaian political scene on 15 May, 1979 when he led a group of junior officers in the Ghana Air Force in an unsuccessful coup d’état that resulted in his arrest and imprisonment. He was court-martialled in public and sentenced to death. Due to his display of patriotism in his defense speeches, he was widely seen across the country as a true son of Ghana, and was nicknamed Junior Jesus for his initials “JJ”.
Before he could be executed, another group of junior officers within the Ghana Army led by Major Boakye-Djan, overthrew the then military government of Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo in a bloody coup on June 4, 1979. Major Boakye-Djan and his men also set Rawlings free from prison, and installed him as head of the new government – the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). At the time of the coup, Ghana was already far into the process of returning to civilian rule and general elections were already scheduled. Hence, the AFRC went ahead to conduct an election and handed over power to Dr. Hilla Limann who won the popular vote in the election to establish the Third Republic.
Less than two years later, Dr. Limann’s civilian and constitutional government was overthrown again by Jerry Rawlings on 31 December, 1981. He then installed the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) regime. In all Jerry Rawlings performed three coups d’état in Ghana, two of which were successful.
In the early 1990s internal pressures led by a group identified with the Danquah-Busia tradition coupled with external pressures from Ghana’s development partners forced the PNDC government to adopt constitutional rule. As elections drew near, he switched from being a military Head of State, retired from the military, then ran and won in the 1992 elections which the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) claimed was a stolen verdict although international observers judged the elections largely free and fair.
After two terms in office, barred by the constitution from standing in any election, he anointed his vice-president John Atta Mills as his choice to replace him as President. Ghanaians rejected his choice in the 2000 election by voting for the opposition NPP’s candidate, John Kufuor.
Rawlings is married to Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and has four children: three girls and a boy. He is the joint recipient of the 1993 World Hunger Award.
He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years. After two terms in office, the limit according to the Ghanaian constitution, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as presidential candidate in 2000.
Appointment As AU High Representative For Somalia
On 8 October 2010 the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Jean Ping appointed Mr. Jerry John Rawlings, as the AU High Representative for Somalia.
The appointment of Mr. Rawlings is a follow‐up to the decision on the Report of the Peace and Security Council of the AU on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa, adopted by the Assembly of the Union at its 15th Ordinary Session held in Kampala, Uganda, from 25 to 27 July 2010. In that decision, the Assembly of the Union, having endorsed the communiqué of the 15th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), held in Addis Ababa on 5 July 2010, requested the
Chairperson of the Commission to appoint a high‐level personality to mobilize increased support for efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Somalia and generate greater attention from the international community.
This appointment came as the situation in Somalia continues to be of particular concern. In this context, the appointment of Mr. Rawlings bears testimony to the renewed commitment of the AU, in close coordination with IGAD, to work towards the successful conclusion of the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia, including through strengthening the AU Mission in that country (AMISOM), broadening the political base of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and enhancing their legitimacy, the acceleration of the implementation of the pending transitional tasks, and building the capacity of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to enable it to assume their responsibilities, including the provision of basic services to the civilian population.
As the AU High Representative, Mr. Rawlings will undertake advocacy work to further mobilize the continent and the rest of the international community to fully assume its responsibilities and contribute more actively to the quest for peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia. In this regard, he will work in close coordination with the countries of the region, the United Nations, including the Security Council and its members, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conference and other bilateral and multilateral partners.
THOMAS SANKARA: The Role France Played in His Assassination?
On Wednesday, Burka Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré was found guilty and received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara. But was Compaoré’s action inspired, orchastrated and backed by France?
Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.
The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983.
Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.
After seizing power at the age of just 33, the Marxist revolutionary known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending
The prosecution said Sankara was lured to his death at a meeting of the ruling National Revolutionary Council.
He was shot in the chest at least seven times, according to ballistics experts who testified during the trial.
Sankara’s widow, Mariam Sankara, who attended the trial throughout, said the verdict represented “justice and truth” after a 35-year wait.
“Our goal was for the political violence we have in Burkina Faso to come to end. This verdict will give many people cause for thought.”
However, there is little prospect that Compaoré will serve his sentence any time soon. He has lived in exile in Ivory Coast since he was removed from office following mass protests in 2014, and has taken up Ivorian nationality.
He previously denounced the trial by a military court as a political sham.
Ten others were also found guilty, including Compaoré’s security chief Haycinthe Kafando, who was accused of leading the hit squad that killed Sankara.
He has been on the run for several years and was also tried in absentia. He too received a life sentence.
They had both denied the charges.
Gilbert Diendéré, one of the commanders of the army during the 1987 coup and the main defendant who was actually present at the trial, was also sentenced to life. He is already serving a 20-year sentence for a coup attempt in 2015.
Meanwhile, in February, 2013, Emile Schepers, a veteran civil and immigrants rights activist wrote the following article he titled “People’s World Demand for inquiry into France’s role in assassination of African leader” published in People’s World:
On February 13, a member of the French Chamber of Deputies tabled a motion to begin a parliamentary investigation of the assassination of Captain Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, in 1987.Sankara, who himself took power in a coup d’état in 1983, was a progressive and charismatic leader who is sometimes referred to as Africa’s Che Guevara. Succeeding a regime seen as subservient to France, Sankara changed the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means land of men of integrity. He was considered incorruptible, and gained the love and support of poor Burkinabés (as the people of Burkina Faso are called) because of his programs of land reform, agricultural development, improved health care and schools and other similar things. Two very popular emphases of Sankara’s policies were the improvement in the situation of women and the curtailment of the traditional powers of tribal chiefs, who were seen by many as corrupt. He nationalized all land and subsoil wealth of Burkina Faso. But in 1987, he was overthrown and killed in a military coup organized by Blaise Compoaré, at that time a military officer also, and now president of Burkina Faso. The reason given for the coup was that Sankara’s nationalizations and anti-imperialist rhetoric were angering the French and neighboring African countries aligned with France. With Sankara out of the way, many of his progressive policies were reversed, including the nationalizations.
But Sankara’s supporters have not forgotten him in the ensuing 26 years, and have kept up a campaign to achieve justice for Sankara, and a return to his progressive socialist policies.The belief that France and perhaps the United States were involved in the overthrow and killing of Sankara did not come from nowhere. Besides the flat statement by the Compoaré group that they overthrew Sankara because he was annoying the French, many of the individuals who have carried out coups in Africa have been former French or French colonial army officers, and the involvement of French security services and business interests in such actions is well known. The CIA has also been involved in several coups, most notably in the overthrow of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1960 and of Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. In each case, the leader overthrown and/or killed was seen as a threat to French, U.S. or other western business interests because of his progressive policies.Earlier this year, the French newspaper Liberacion published a story which strongly suggests some sort of French security involvement in the incident in 1994 in which an airplane carrying the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda was shot down over the Rwandan capital of Kigali, an incident which helped trigger the Rwandan genocide and some other current conflicts in Central Africa.People in Burkina Faso cannot get at the necessary French government records under normal circumstances.So in 2011, a group of Burkinabé parliamentarians wrote to the French National Assembly calling for it to begin an inquiry into the Sankara assassination. A motion to that effect has now been tabled in the lower house of the National Assembly by Andre Chassaigne, a deputy from the French Communist Party. A guest from Burkina Faso’s left-wing Union pour la Renaissance/Parti Sankariste, Me Benewende Stanislas Sankara, attended the 36th Congress of the French Communist Party this month. On returning to Burkina Faso, he participated in a press conference in the Burkinabé capital, Ouagadougou, to advance the same demands.Mr. Chassaigne’s motion coincides with an increasing level of U.S., French and NATO involvement in African affairs, including an exponential expansion of U.S. military missions under the AFRICOM command. The latest is that the Republic of Niger is now allowing the U.S. to set up drone bases in the Southern part if its territory, near the border with Mali.It’s necessary that we in the United States also be ready to demand answers from our own government.
How Colin Powell, America’s First Black Secretary of State, Died
Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state in United States of America died on Monday. According to reports, the former statesman and military commander died of COVID-19-related complications at the age of 84.
The report says he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that makes it difficult to fight infections.
Born April 5, 1937 to Jamaican immigrants in Harlem, Powell’s “American Journey” started in New York, where he grew up and earned a degree in geology. Powell served four U.S. presidents and rose to become the first African American and the youngest chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the US. He died Monday at Walter Reed National Medical Center. His family said he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said in a statement on Facebook
Powell became very popular after engineering military victory in the 1991 Gulf War. He was so respected that he was considered a strong candidate to become the first ever Black US president. But he turned down such ambition of running for the White House and endorsed Barack Obama for the office.
Powell was also America’s first Black national security advisor under president Ronald Reagan.
George W. Bush described Powell “an American hero, an American example, and a great American story” as he nominated the military man as his secretary of state in 2000.
“He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice,” Bush said on Monday.
“He was highly respected at home and abroad. And, most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”
Powell had a reputation for bipartisanship, straight-talking and integrity, and was praised for his officer’s instincts of duty and honor.
US Defense Secretary Austin Powell told reporters Powell was among the “greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” lamenting the loss of “a tremendous personal friend and mentor.”
“It’s a blot… and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.
Tributes nevertheless poured in from Congress, where Democratic Senator Mark Warner praised Powell as “a patriot and a public servant,” while House Republican Peter Meijer described him as a rarity in the modern age: “a true soldier statesman.”
“Today, the nation lost a man of undaunted courage and a champion of character,” added centrist Republican Senator Mitt Romney.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who stood firmly behind US actions in Iraq and gave military backing to the war effort, described Powell as a “towering figure in American military and political leadership.”
“He was wonderful to work with, he inspired loyalty and respect and was one of those leaders who always treated those under them with kindness and concern,” Blair said.
Powell earned a number of civilian honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice from Bush Senior and Clinton.
He married his wife Alma in 1962. They had three children: Michael, Linda and Annemarie
Oche Onu writes with agency report
Ronaldo Meets Ole Gunnar, Trains With New Teammates
Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday reunited with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his return to Manchester United’s training ground. He also took part in a training session with his new teammates.
Ronaldo, 36, left Juventus before the international break but has been in quarantine after arriving with his family in Manchester last Thursday.
Ronaldo played alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his first stint at Old Trafford twelve years ago.
A statement from United reads:
‘Cristiano met with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former team-mate, in the manager’s office before being introduced to the players who are currently hard at work in training,’ read a statement from United.
‘The spectacular signing from Juventus joined the session with his colleagues and wasted no time in getting acquainted with the group.’
‘Cristiano met with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former team-mate, in the manager’s office before being introduced to the players who are currently hard at work in training.
‘The spectacular signing from Juventus joined the session with his colleagues and wasted no time in getting acquainted with the group.’
Ronaldo is expected to make his debut this weekend for United as the Red Devils host Newcastle at Old Trafford.
‘Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday,’ Ronaldo said after completing his move back to United.
‘I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again.’
Other players expected to join the Red Devils via this summer transfer window include England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and centre-back Raphael Varane, a former teammate of Ronaldo at Real Madrid.
United started the season in good form with two wins and a draw from their opening three Premier League games. They look up to build on that in the coming weeks in both the league and in Europe.