Jerry John Rawlings was born in Accra on 22nd June 1947 to Victoria Agbotui, a Ghanaian mother from Dzelukope near Keta in the Volta Region, and a Scottish father, James Ramsey John, a chemist from Castle Douglas in Kirkcudbrightshire.
Jerry John Rawlings in a past interview on Asaase FM said his name John was his surname as was common among Scottish people. However, it was the military that changed his surname to Rawlings.
“It was when I applied to join the Armed Forces that they replied to me, then they switched the position of ‘John’ and ‘Rawlings,” he recounted.
Jerry John Rawlings – Background Profile
At the age of six, he informed his mother that he wanted to be a pilot but his mother wanted him to be a doctor. Defying his mother’s plans Jerry John Rawlings enlisted in the military, graduating in January 1969. Commissioned as a Pilot Officer, he won the coveted ‘Speed Bird Trophy’ as the best cadet in flying the Su-7 ground attack supersonic jet aircraft.
During his time with the Ghana Air Force, Jerry John Rawlings witnessed the deterioration of discipline and morale, reflecting the corruption of the regime of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) at that time. Jerry John Rawlings’s social values and awareness of social injustices were sharpened due to his love for reading and his contact with the privileged class.
On May 28, 1979, Jerry John Rawlings, together with six others, appeared before a Court in Accra and charged with leading a coup of junior officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces on 15th May 1979. After his statement had been read in court, explaining the social injustices that had prompted him to carry out his coup, Jerry John Rawlings gained widespread sympathy from ranked officers of the Armed Forces and amongst civilians.
On 4th June 1979, Jerry John Rawlings was scheduled for another court appearance but was broken out of prison by some junior officers. Together with both the military and some civilians, he ousted the Supreme Military Council from office and brought the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) into being. His action was captured in a British newspaper with the caption “Half-Scottish polo player takes over in Ghana.”
Rawlings under the AFRC launched what it called “Housekeeping Exercise” to purge the country of corruption. Several senior judges and military officers including the former heads of state, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, and Lieut. Gen. Frederick W.K. Akuffo was tried and killed.
Jerry John Rawlings will later yield power to a democratic ruler President Hilla Limann who failed to turn Ghana’s economic misfortune around. Public debt and inflation were deepening at more than 140% with a growing number of public discontent.
Rawlings, recognizing the incompetence of Limann’s government staged another coup on 31 December 1981. Jerry John Rawlings established the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) as the new government and imprisoned Limann and some 200 other politicians.
Rawlings resigned from the military in 1992 and founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He became the first President of the Fourth Republic and was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.
By the early 1990s, his reforms had led the country towards a strong economic recovery and, in 1992, Rawlings won Ghana’s presidential election.
Jerry John Rawlings – Family
J J Rawlings was married to Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings in 1977. After their union, they were blessed with their first child, Emanatory Rawlings in 1978. Two daughters, namely; Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings and Amina Rawlings followed with their only son, Kimathi Rawlings. His children have managed to lead a quiet life, away from public scrutiny.
Jerry John Rawlings – Net Worth
Jerry John Rawlings’s net worth is said to be between the range of US$100,000 – US$1 million. However, an unconfirmed source specifically places his net worth at US$650 million.
1. “Democracy is not realized merely by having a machinery for registering voters and getting them to vote every four years, but also by there being a machinery for identifying the needs of those voters in between the election periods, and monitoring the realization of those needs.”
2. “People with conscience are sometimes appalled by the extreme insensitivity displayed by some political appointees. The unprecedented levels of corruption, offensive show of power and opulence by some at a time when our country requires prudence and frugality is something that I call on President Mahama and his vice to set their eyes on”
3. “The most dangerous mistake of any political force is to forget its roots.” “What form of government e adopt as citizens to suit our peculiar circumstances, our basic tenet is our common yearning and concern for every person, for politics, whatever its colour must be an avenue to serve our fellow men.”
4. “Nothing beats logic than a government that forces itself on its citizens. A genuinely conducted electoral process should be without the harsh use of the armed forces, and without fear of intimidation. This is the best way to assure people that their will has prevailed, thus produces a cleansing effect in the society.”