The former President, Jerry John Rawlings, is a great man from all indications.
An enigma Rawlings achieved greatness by both opportunities offered by the peculiar politics of our country, and mother luck that always smiled at him at the right moment in the history of leadership in our great nation.
As a two-time leader, first as military ruler and an elected one through democratic means in 1992, presiding over one of the most blessed nation on earth, JJ, as he is affectionately called by his supporters, followers, party members, has succeeded in writing his name in gold in the hall of fame of this country. The history of Ghana will never be complete without bold italic name of Jerry John Rawlings.
As a statesman, JJ is still a political and moral force to be reckoned with in our national life.
And as a politician (sometimes misunderstood) for his boldness and unwavering candour to speak the truth, he is still and forever remain the greatest leader after Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, our founder and first president.
His interventions carried weight both on May 15 and June 4, when he launched military uprising against their seniors, who were presiding over endemic corruption and were widely reported across Africa and the world, and appreciated.
The man JJ, has as many admirers, as well as enemies or adversaries, who have never stopped for a moment to denigrate, call him names etc.
He is patriotic, fearless and outspoken often drawing controversy (necessary and unnecessary) to himself.
His admirers sum him up, as a quintessential leader according to some of his admirers and well-wishers.
JJ IN THE EYES OF HIS ADVERSARIES
According to his foes, President Jerry John Rawlings is suffering from the omniscience complex. He is a man full of himself to the point of narcissism.
He values and cherishes self over and above every other person(s). Some people mischievously or mistakenly see Jerry Rawlings as a naive village man, but he is smart and ruthless, when his interests matter.
He has outwitted opponents and applied self-preservation measures, whenever he found himself in a difficult political situation.
Anytime, you think this is the last breadth for the man, like a phoenix he will always rise from the ashes. An example is the 2016 general elections. The 2016 elections was the waterloo for President Rawlings, had the National Democratic Congress won that poll, that would have been the end of his relevance in Ghanaian politics, but as fate would have it, the NDC lost.
President Rawlings may be vindictive, hypocritical, meddlesome and ‘godfatheric’ in his ways and attitudes, but one thing everyone agrees with is that, he loves Ghana and has indeed contributed his quota towards her unity and progress.
He may not possess enough democratic credentials, but he had weathered the storm since he burst into the national stage in 1978 and came out unscathed. Though scandals have trailed him throughout his military and political career, he has become a cat with nine lives as it were.
During his tenure as president (1992-2000) he established some landmark anti-graft institutions, the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), which used to be Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) among others.
These institutions and among other equally important ones, have thus far made Ghana a better fiscal place to invest and live in.
Love him (his methods and tactics) or loathe same JJ Rawlins will live on! His staying power, his fortitude, and determination to remain relevant in the scheme of things deserves to be lauded.
He turned 70 last week, precisely on Wednesday June 22, and marked the event with pomp and pageantry, surrounded by family, friends and well-wishers.
Joining the diminishing club of septuagenarian in our challenged society is not an easy achievement from every stretch of imagination.
Many personalities including former President, John Dramani Mahama felicitated with Jerry, extolling his leadership virtues, landmark achievements, and patriotism.
During his first democratic presidency (1992-1996), President Rawlings was involved in a political superiority feud with the then Vice-President Ekow Nkensen Arkaah, who passed onto eternal glory on April 25, 2001. Things went from bad to worse as mistrust set in.
Jerry Rawlings, had accused Mr Arkaah, of undermining the integrity of cabinet by describing its meetings as “fora for corrupt and unscrupulous plans.”, which Mr Arkaah vehemently denied the allegation.
During the presidency of John Evans Atta Mills, his chosen successor in the famous Swedru declaration, Jerry Rawlings once rose against Atta Mills, his ‘beloved’, accusing him in a controversial hard-hitting open missive of gross incompetence, corruption etc.
President Mills of blessed memory, perhaps intoxicated with power, and surrounded by people Rawlings referred to as ‘old evil dwarfs’ , did not only ignore the warning of Mr Rawlings, but allowed his attack dogs to also launch scathing attacks on him (Mr Rawlings).
It is obvious that Jerry John Rawlings has made many enemies and friends in the course of his eventful adult life.
The sad aspect of his life is, when his friends became enemies. These include but not limited to Captain Kojo Tsikata, Paul Victor Obeng, Ambassador Philip Gbeho, late president John Evans Atta Mills, Ato Ahwoi, Victor Smith, etc.
Chairman Rawlings, despite all these is neither afraid of controversy nor criticisms. He still remains ever relevant in our national life.