Jerry Rawlings: strongman playing all sides

The Che Guevara of Ghana was a modern-day hero of African politics

15 November 2020 - 00:00 By Patrick Bulger

Jerry Rawlings, who has died in Accra, Ghana, at age 73, was a towering and controversial figure on the African political stage for almost 40 years. Second only in political significance in Ghana to the "father of independence", Kwame Nkrumah, Rawlings had the added attractions of film-star looks and a flair for the dramatic.

And unlike the hapless Nkrumah, who was deposed while on a visit to China in 1966, Rawlings withstood decades of plots and intrigue, and dealt with adversaries mostly by having them executed, sometimes with fanfare, sometimes without. He was the ultimate survivor in Ghanaian politics, as the on-off head of state from 1979 to 2000...

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