Jerry John Rawlings (22 June 1947 – 12 November 2020) was a Ghanaian military officer and politician who led the country from 1981 to 2001 and also for a brief period in 1979. He led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected president of Ghana.Rawlings came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d'état in 1979. Prior to that, he led an unsuccessful coup attempt against the ruling military government on 15 May 1979, just five weeks before scheduled democratic elections were due to take place. After handing power over to a civilian government, he took back control of the country on 31 December 1981 as the chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and became the first President of the Fourth Republic. He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years. After two terms in office, the limit according to the Ghanaian Constitution, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as a presidential candidate in 2000. Rawlings served as the African Union envoy to Somalia. He died after a short illness in November 2020.He was awarded the Order of Jose Marti by the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. That was the nation's highest award.
He is also known as Jerry John Rawlings.
Rawlings died on 12 November 2020 at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, a week after having been admitted for a short term illness in Ghana. His death came nearly two months after that of his mother, Victoria Agbotui, on 24 September 2020. President Nana Akufo-Addo declared a seven-day period of mourning in his honor and flags flown at half-mast. His family members appealed to the Government of Ghana to bury him in Keta in the Volta region.
A schedule for the signing of the Book of Condolence was opened in his memory.