Rawlings, Jerry John

Rawlings, Jerry John

(Jeremiah John Rawlings), 1947–, Ghanaian political leader. Of Scottish and Ghanaian descent, Rawlings attended military schools throughout his early life, becoming a skilled pilot and achieving the rank of flight lieutenant. After one unsuccessful coup, Rawlings overthrew the government in 1979. He gained popularity by instituting price controls and relinquishing power to an elected government headed by President Hilla LimannLimann, Hilla
, 1934–98, president of Ghana (1979–81). In 1979, after seven years of military rule, Ghana's new military leader, Jerry Rawlings, handed over power to Limann, who had been elected to head a civilian government.
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, but he overthrew (1981) it when it proved ineffectual. He abolished the constitution, suppressed dissent, and established a program of self-sufficiency and austerity, while surviving four coup attempts. He won free presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, serving until 2001. In 2010 Rawlings was named the African UnionAfrican Union
(AU), international organization established in 2002 by the nations of the former Organization of African Unity (OAU). The AU is the successor organization to the OAU, with greater powers to promote African economic, social, and political integration, and a
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's special envoy to Somalia.
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