former President Jerry John Rawlings

The Ghana News Agency reproduces the full text of former President John Dramani Mahama’s tribute to late former President Jerry John Rawlings.

Full text:

“Shocking and unexpected are the words that both describe your dramatic entry onto the political scene of Ghana and also your silent exit from this world.

It will take a whole book to write a tribute to a man whose life was so eventful, a man who has had a profound impact on several generations of Ghanaians.

All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
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 Ghanaian 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 the ECOWAS Sub-Region, especially during the Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars, is acknowledged and celebrated.

Your leadership in what was a 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 to the most enduring Democratic Republic Ghana has experienced in its entire historical existence.

Ghana has you to thank for this.
The decentralize 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 Africa and the 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 Fourth 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 (2019), during the celebration of the 31st December Anniversary in 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.

Flight Lieutenant J.J. Rawlings, Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), leader of the revolution, first President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, rest in eternal peace.”

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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