The New Patriotic Party (NPP) have expressed profound shock and disbelief at the sudden death of the founder of their arch-rivals National Democratic Congress (NDC) Jerry John Rawlings on Thursday, November 12.
In a press release to mourn with the NDC, the NPP said the recognition by the leader and President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to declare seven days of the national morning for Mr Rawlings is in order.
“It cannot be doubted that late former President Rawlings has paid his dues to this country making him deserving of this recognition for a life well lived in honour of the country,” the release signed by General Secretary John Boadu said.
The recognition follows an additional directive to have all flags fly at half-mast for the next seven days as President Akufo-Addo collaborates with the family to give the first president of the Fourth Republic a befitting state burial.
“The NPP wholly associates itself with the decision of the President to work closely with the family of the late former President to give him a fitting State funeral.”
Mr Rawlings handed NPP its first defeat in elections in 1992 when he beat late Professor Emeritus Albert Adu Boahen to the elections.
He again beat John Agyekum Kufuor in 1996 to serve his second and last term as President of Ghana.
The retired army officer was instrumental in the return of NDC to governance in 2008 as he helped his Vice President, John Evans Atta Mills, to beat Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the second round of the 2008 elections.
He was, however, seen as a staunch critic of his own party after the demise of late President Atta Mills.
“Late Jerry John Rawlings would not only forever be remembered in the annals of history as the longest-serving Ghanaian leader, but also as the man who spearheaded Ghana’s transition from the Third to the Fourth Republic, which is the most enduring Republic in the nation’s history reminding us of our renewed and unfettered commitment to upholding the very tenets of rule of law and to a regime of uninterrupted constitutional order,” the NPP said in its release.
It also conveyed “deep” sympathies to the bereaved family, particularly his wife and former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and children in these difficult times.
“Equally, the NPP commiserates with his close associates and the Ghanaian people for this incalculable loss.”