The state funeral of Ghana’s longest serving chief, Jerry John Rawlings, is happening within the capital, Accra.
Throughout a turbulent profession, he led two coups earlier than twice being elected president in multiparty polls.
He died in November on the age of 73 of an undisclosed sickness, however his funeral was delayed – partly by political squabbling.
The ceremony started at Independence Sq., with numbers attending restricted by coronavirus restrictions.
However many Ghanaians headed to the sq. regardless of being requested by the federal government to look at the ceremony on TV in an effort to curb the unfold of coronavirus, the BBC’s Thomas Naadi experiences from the capital, Accra.
Mourners are carrying masks and hand sanitiser has been offered however that it’s proving tough to practise social distancing, he says.
Outstanding mourners embrace Liberia’s President George Weah, Sierra Leonean chief Julius Maada Bio and representatives from the UN and African Union.
As president Rawlings contributed to peace efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone through the civil wars within the Nineteen Nineties and most lately was an African Union envoy to Somalia. He additionally led campaigns towards malaria throughout the continent.
‘A caring disciplinarian’
Tribute after tribute has eulogised the late Ghanaian chief, most describing him as a selfless and dedicated chief who labored for the frequent good of his nation, our reporter says.
Earlier, lots of of individuals when to pay their respects to the previous president as his physique lay in state for 3 days.
A lot of them bear in mind him as a disciplinarian but additionally as a frontrunner who cared about odd folks, our correspondent says.
Rawlings shall be buried in a while Wednesday within the army cemetery in Accra.
Our correspondent experiences that some folks wished him to be buried in his residence area of Volta.
It’s not the one row to canine occasions – the funeral was initially scheduled for 23 December.
However the Nationwide Democratic Congress (NDC), a celebration Rawlings based and which is now in opposition, wished extra involvement in organising the state funeral, which led to the delay.
One celebration chief even threatened to “steal his stays” following the funeral in order that the celebration may bury him once more.
Who was Jerry Rawlings?
The son of a Scottish farmer and a Ghanaian mom, Rawlings entered the Ghana Air Drive, graduating in 1969.
A decade later, as a senior officer within the air power, he overthrew a army authorities, handing over energy to a civilian chief.
He oversaw the execution of a number of former heads of state and military generals for corruption, however expressed some remorse concerning the killings. Later the execution by firing squad of Supreme Courtroom judges additionally left a stain on his legacy.
In 1981, he led a second coup and was the pinnacle of a army junta till introducing multiparty elections in 1992, when he was first elected president.
He ushered in an extended interval of political stability after a tumultuous sequence of coups within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies.
In 2001, he stepped down after serving two phrases however continued to wield a robust affect within the nation.
In later years, Rawlings campaigned for African nations to have their worldwide money owed written off.