Rawlings expected in Namibia

05 September 2014

news jerry 05 augFORMER president of Ghana Jerry Rawlings will visit Namibia for the first time next week to deliver the keynote speech at a Pan African Centre of Namibia (Pacon) seminar. Rawlings will also receive the Pacon Icon Award at the seminar being held under the theme Africa Rising in recognition of the work of one of his great predecessors Kwame Nkrumah.

In previous years, Pacon dedicated the award to African heroes such as Steve Biko and Namibia’s Anton Lubowski.

The seminar coincides with the month of September which has been dedicated to remembering Nkrumah.

In an interview on Tuesday, Pacon’s Maureen Hinda said they were excited about Rawlings’ visit, not only because it is the first time Pacon has hosted a former president, but also because of the theme of the seminar.

“As Namibia will celebrate its silver jubilee of Independence next year we see a paradigm shift and it’s important that as a nation we discuss those who have realised these changes and dedicate ourselves to alter the mindset of every Namibian,” Hinda said.

She said Pacon felt privileged to have Rawlings speak at the occasion not only because of the type of African leader he has been, but because of his drive for patriotism as well as his standing internationally.

Rawlings is a former flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force who led a coup in Ghana in 1979 and became the country’s head of state.

After initially handing over power to a civilian government, Rawlings took back control of the country on 31 December 1981, as Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council.

He remained in power until 1992, when he resigned from the Armed Forces, founded the National Democratic Congress and became the first president of the Fourth Republic in Ghana.

Ghanaians re-elected him in 1996 for a further four years.

The former president  initiated his first coup d’état on 15 May 1979, leading a group of military personnel against General Fred Akuffo which resulted in his arrest and imprisonment.

Rawlings faced a death sentence, but on June 4, soldiers sympathetic to his objectives broke him out of jail, and he led a revolt that overthrew General Akuffo and the Supreme Military Council, effectively leaving him in charge.

Rawlings and the soldiers around him formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and conducted what it termed “a housecleaning exercise”, that aimed to purge Ghanaian society of all the corruption and social injustices that they perceived as being at the root of their coup d’état.

In 1992, he retired from the military, set up the National Democratic Congress (NDC) political party, and organised Presidential and Parliamentary elections, in response to demands for a more democratic process concerning the governing of the country. Rawlings and his party won with 58.3 percent of the vote in 1996 and he went on to win a second term as president.

After two terms in office, and barred by his constitution from standing in any election, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as presidential candidate in 2000.

He currently serves as the African Union envoy to Somalia. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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