Some residents of Sandema, the Builsa North District capital of the Upper East Region have expressed shock at the passing of former President Jerry John Rawlings describing him as a “straight forward man.”
They told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that they received news of former President Rawlings’ death with shock, heavy heart and disbelief, adding that “We never heard he was sick, and all of a sudden, news of his death broke. Is so sad.”
Mr Gilbert Asekabta, a former Builsa North District Chairman of the Association of Persons with Disability said “We have lost a great father of the land, it is a very bad news. One thing I know for sure is that God gives and He takes whosoever He pleases at anytime.”
He expressed confidence that Mr Rawlings was resting in God’s heavenly Kingdom, saying “I am not in any doubt that our father, Jerry John Rawlings has responded to his maker’s call. I am also confident that he is with his heavenly father at this moment. That alone consoles me.”
He emphasized that “When Rawlings says this, it is that, again I remember he had the poor, the marginalised, the disabled and the entire country at heart. He was a father for all.”
Mr Asekabta expressed condolence to the family, and urged them, especially Mrs Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, wife of the late former President to be strong in the difficult moment.
Mr Noah Ali Akanjog, a Painter at Sandema described the passing of Rawlings as “sad,” saying “As for Rawlings, he is loved in this town very much. I remember those days, anytime Rawlings stepped foot in Sandema here, the whole town was full.”
According to him, former President Rawlings was a good friend of the late Paramount Chief of the Sandema Traditional Area, Nab Azantilow, “He often visited Sandema in those days, and mostly during our Foak festival. When our Chief even died, Rawlings came here and wept like a baby.”
The Builsa North Constituency Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Albert Atuga said “The news of his death was received with sadness and shock. Rawlings was a Statesman and a father to all of us.”
He said irrespective of political affiliations, everybody liked Rawlings, “He was somebody who held the nation together. When he spoke, everybody listened. This was a great man.”
Mr Atuga said in this year of election, a former President like Rawlings had great influence in the peace and stability of the country, and could offer wise counsel to politicians as an experienced former President.
“As NPP members in this Constituency, we think is a great loss to the whole nation not only to the NDC or a particular group of people, but to the whole nation, Africa and the world,” the NPP Constituency Chairman said.
Former President Rawlings who was the first President of the fourth Republic, was reported dead on Thursday, November 12, at the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital in Accra after short illness.