Ghana’s former head of state and the first president of the 4th Republic, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings passed on today after battling with short illness.
The former president died at age 73.
Mr. Rawlings as he is affectionately called has endeared himself to the Ghanaian people with his “Boom” speeches as well as his charismatic style of leadership.
READ ALSO: BREAKING: Former President Jerry John Rawlings Reported Dead
The former President is the founder of the National Democratic Congress, a party whose ideas lean towards socialism and leftist ideologies.
However, a lot of Ghanaians especially millennials do not know so much about the man who was Ghana’s president for close to 20 years beginning from 1979 to 2001.
Below are 9 quick yet interesting facts about Papa J you definitely should add to your historical records.
President Rawlings is a practising Catholic
Unknown to many, former President is a born and bred Catholic man who was born to a Scottish father, James Ramsey John and a Ghanaian Victoria Agbotui who was the head of the catering department at the State House in Accra. He continues to practice his faith even in his old age.
He was a chorister
Shocking right?? A young Jerry John Rawlings was part of the Achimota School choir which performed for President Nkrumah at the Flag Staff House on national ceremonies. He is no more a chorister but he manages to sing a few melodious tunes when he gets the chance.
He is a big fan of Micheal Jackson
You would have expected a man of his calibre to be a lover of certain genres of music other than pop but this where Papa J disappoints you. The former President is a fan of King Of Pop, Micheal Jackson and his music.
They both met on few occasions and struck a friendship as revealed by Mr Rawlings when the latter passed away in 2009.
“The world has lost one of its greatest sons. Michael, you made an impact and you changed the whole world in so many ways. Go in peace….you will be missed!” he wrote.
His all-time favorite songs include “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Heal the World”
President Rawlings is also an avid football and boxing fan
Mr. Boom is also a fan of football and supports the Accra Hearts of Oak footballing club as well as the Ghana Black Stars.
He’s also friends with several coaches including the late Sam Arday among others. He also loves boxing and has been seen at several boxing games
He is the only leader who was both military and democratic
Ex. President JJ Rawlings walked into the corridors of power through a military coup d’état in 1979 and later handed over to a democratic government.
In 1981 he took back power from Dr. Hilla Limann’s government citing weak leadership plus economic malfeasance as his motive and after 13 years returned the nation to democratic governance in 1992 where he contested and won two terms as president.
He won the “Speed Bird Trophy” in his graduating year
Flt. Jerry John Rawlings graduated as the best cadet in flying and airmanship in 1969 winning the coveted “Speed Bird Trophy” for his year group.
The rumour mill has it that the trained pilot was able to fly a plane below the Adomi bridge as part of his stunts.
He is the only president in the history of Ghana to have two vice-presidents serve under him.
President JJ Rawlings is a hard man to please so it’s no wonder he goes into the history books as the only president to have had two vice-presidents serving under him.
After certain issues with Kow Nkensen Arkaah of blessed memory during his first term of office, he went in for the late President John Evans Atta-Mills as his vice for the 1996 elections.
He was the Chief of Defence Staff from 1982-1983
Most people do not know this but Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings was the Chief Of Ghana’s Defense staff from November 1982 to August 1983 making him the only CDS to have assumed the highest position of the Land.
He’s been married to his high school sweetheart, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings for 38 years.
Mr Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Ralwings attended the Achimota School together and their love blossomed from there.
Despite their status as a power couple in Ghana who have it all, Mrs Rawlings revealed that it wasn’t all rosy from the beginning.
According to her, she had to rent a room for the both of them when they first got married and the former president provided chairs from an aircraft that was no more in use.
The two got married at the the Ridge Church in 1977 with few friends attending.
They are blessed with four children; Zanetor, Amina, Kimathi and Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings.
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