Rawlings, Jerry John

Rawlings, Jerry John (Jeremiah John Rawlings), 1947–2020, Ghanaian political leader. Of Scottish and Ghanaian descent, Rawlings attended military schools throughout his early life, becoming a skilled pilot and achieving the rank of flight lieutenant. After one unsuccessful coup, Rawlings overthrew the government in 1979. He gained popularity by instituting price controls and relinquishing power to an elected government headed by President Hilla Limann, but he overthrew (1981) it when it proved ineffectual. He abolished the constitution, suppressed dissent, and sought to establish a program of self-sufficiency and austerity, while surviving four coup attempts. Becoming more democratic over time, he won free presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, serving until 2001, and remained influential in Ghanaian politics after retiring.

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