Retired Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings is a Ghanaian 'white' man of Scottish descent. He was a former despot turned President in the West African Anglophone country. He made name and history for himself when, as a young military hothead in 1979, he led a failed military coup against the then Head of State, the late Gen. Fred Akuffo. He was arrested, imprisoned and faced a death sentence. But a month later junior Ghanaian army officers mounted a successful coup and freed Rawlings from prison appointing him the Head of state. As soon as he mounted the saddle of leadership the political landscape changed for good.
He organized a transition and handed over power to the late Hilla Limann in 1979. But on 31 December 1981, Rawlings deposed Limann in another coup! He claimed he came with the sole aim of purging the Ghanaian society of all the corruption and social injustices militating against her progress. And he succeeded against all odds! Born in 1947 to a Scottish father (James Ramsey John) and Ghanaian mother (Victoria Agbotui) Rawlings affectionately called 'Junior Jesus' by some Ghanaians remains an enigma, an elder statesman, a monumental figure whose political exploits spoke volume of his intrepidity, patriotism and statesmanship.
He had seized power in Ghana in the late 70's when primitive professional coup-plotters were having good times toppling one another for power sake. But as Providence catapulted him to power it became clear to all and sundry that a redeemer (if not a messiah) had come to clean up the Augean stable. His no-nonsense mien had earned him accolades at home and condemnations abroad over the perceived high-handedness and violation of human rights. But he soldiered on refusing to be deterred by such criticisms from the international community.
As one of his first acts in power Rawlings had tried and executed Generals Akuffo, I. K. Acheampong, and Afrifa -- all former heads of state-- who had participated in earlier treasonable coups against democratic governments including that of the late Kwame Nkrumah. Equally put to death by firing squad were Air Vice-Marshal Yaw Boakye and Generals Kotei, Joy Amedume, Roger Felli, and Utuka. With these executions the Jackboot was dealt a deadly blow in Ghana!