Former President Jerry John Rawlings

News of the demise of former President Jerry John Rawlings has dazed both traders and shoppers alike at the Keta Market.

The first President of the fourth Republic and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) passed on around 1000 hours on Thursday at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the Greater Accra Region following a short illness.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency to the Keta Market around 1500 hours revealed the unexpected news came dazzling them into a state of unbelief making some wished it away as one of those rumours that ever greeted the country in the past.

Madam Patience Fiasorgbor, 77, who sells shea butter, white powder and other items in the market, said she was aware of the inevitability of death, but for death to claim a great figure so sudden was the least she expected.

“You should have seen us here in the market. The news just trickled in and I’m sure somebody heard it on the radio and then the whole market centre became silent. Some sat down as if there were trying to process the information so as to accept it or to discard it as one of those.

Then, not long, we heard loud sounds of thunder storm, twice from the east. And the third, we heard from the west. Hmmm, we lost him!”

Another, Madam Worla Avorgah, crab seller, said those of them who witnessed the dark days of Ghana would appreciate what a great statesman Mr Rawlings was to the country and concluded, “death can really be cruel.”

“He was our hope at the time. I’m not saying this because he’s from Dzelukope. No. The times I talk about now, toothpaste, cloth, milk and very common items were not there. No way, you won’t find them. And then the “yevuvia” arose from nowhere and as young as he was, he handled the situation so well.

That’s the J.J we’ve lost. What’s more painful, the man just buried his mother, Madam Victoria Agbotui. Can you imagine that?”

A young lady who identified herself only as Lizzy said she was short of words at the loss and that her only wish was that “he finds rest with the Most High because he had really paid his due.”

An earlier visit to the Agbotui Family House at Dzelukope met two family members, Mr Ishmael Agbotui and Mr Godson Agbotui who just arrived from Anloga and Accra respectively, in apparent expectation to receive sympathisers who might come to express their condolences to the family.

Mr Ishmael Agbotui who would not say much other than confirm the death of Mr Rawlings, said the family at home were yet to receive any correspondence on the way forward from those abroad and that information would later be communicated to the media.

Meanwhile, neighbours around the house dressed in black attires, seated on benches, while they spoke undertone among each other.

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