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Ghanaians bid farewell to JJ Rawlings

The remains of Jerry john Rawlings, Ghana’s ever long serving leader has been interred at the new military cemetery in Accra.

The cortege had been driving around some principal streets of Accra where Ghanaians from all walks of lives lined the streets to pay their last respect to the gallant soldier that he was.

He was buried with full military honors (21 gun salute) having been commander in chief of the Ghana armed forces and first, an as air force pilot.

Mr. Rawling’s funeral for four days included requiem mass, vigil and his body lying in state for two days to allow the public to do their last respect.

A state funeral was held on Wednesday at the independence square at the national capital, Accra where president Nana Akufo Addo, vice president, Alhaji Bawumia, former presidents John Kufour and John Mahama, service commanders, the legislaure, judiciary, his party- the NDC among other mourners joined the widow, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and his children to bid him fare well.

Jerry Rawlings, Papa J, Dr. Boom as many came to know him for died in November last year at the age of 73 after a short illness.

Born to a Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother, late Victoria Agbotui who passed unto glory some 4 months ago, JJ as he was fondly called by Ghanaians attended the prestigious Achimota School in Accra and his passion for aircraft drove him to enlisting into the Ghana Armed Forces where he trained to become an air force pilot.

He later will be involved in three coups – two were successful – June 4, 1979 and December 31, 1981.

At the Independence Square where his casket was draped in the national colors, the clergy prayed for a peaceful repose of the man who lived true to his principles of probity, and accountability.

Tributes were read by his Wife, children, the state by President Nana Akufo Addo, who had become friends with the Rawlings from their shaky past. ThePresident eulogized the late JJ Rawlings for his charisma and boldness to defend truth, justice and in fighting for the poor.

Being founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), his party also had some words of tribute in his memory as well as from the high command of the Ghana Armed forces.

Late JJ Rawlings was credited with maintaining Ghana’s stability having led a military regime for 11 years before returning the country to multiparty democracy where he won two elections between 1993 and 2000.

In the sub region of Africa JJ Rawlings is credited for contributing to peace efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Rwanda and later became an African Union envoy to Somalia when he had left power.

His prize money from the World Hunger Award was donated by him for the starting of a University in the North, the UDS which according to siting president Nana Akuffo Addo, efforts are underway to name after him, although Mr. Rawlings had declined that in his lifetime.

JJ Rawlings will be remembered as a disciplinarian but also as a leader who cared about the poor.

Story by: Nelson Nyadror Adanuti

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