Jerry Rawlings left indelible mark in African history, says Cyril Ramaphosa
Cape Town – Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings left an inedible mark in African history, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday, adding that his death was a loss for the continent.
“This is particularly sad news for us as South Africa; president Rawlings was a great friend of the anti-apartheid Struggle,” Ramaphosa said in his capacity as South African president and African Union chairperson.
“President Rawlings has left an indelible mark in the history of not just Ghana but the entire continent; he will be forever remembered for championing African unity throughout his life.”
Ramaphosa said that Rawlings was a champion of the poor who abhorred corruption.
Rawlings died on Thursday, in Ghana’s capital Accra at the age of 73.
Ramaphosa expressed his condolences to the government and people of Ghana.
In a statement, Ramaphosa said that Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African nation to gain independence from colonial rule in 1957, and the country became a refuge for “activists from national liberation movements on the continent, including the exiled African National Congress (ANC)”.
“In those dark days when they were exiled from the land of their birth, president Rawlings offered our leaders and fighters refuge; even assisting them to secure Ghanaian passports,” Ramaphosa said.
He said during his tenure as head of State, Rawlings was an active and vocal participant in the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner to the African Union (AU).
Ghana has been a steadfast ally of South Africa in getting support for numerous resolutions at the OAU and the AU, Ramaphosa said.
President Ramaphosa paid tribute to the late former President
“As we collectively strive as African nations to realize the aspirations of the AU’s Agenda 2063, we look to the examples set by leaders like president Rawlings who handed over power to a civilian government, and sought to advance democracy in their respective societies,” Ramaphosa said.
African News Agency (ANA)