Jeffrey Paller

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Ghana's former president Jerry John Rawlings, who staged two coups and later led the West African country's transition to a stable democracy, has died at 73. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Jerry John Rawlings, the leader of Ghana from 1981 to 2001, has died at age 73. Ghana’s president — and Rawlings’s longtime political opponent — Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo noted the former president’s impact on the nation: “A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss.”

A towering figure in African politics, Rawlings leaves behind a complicated legacy. He was a strongman and a populist. But he carried a moral fervor to root out corruption and bring government closer to the ordinary Ghanaian. He led two coups in Ghana yet also won two multiparty elections — a political résumé that illustrates the tensions underlying Ghana’s democratic system.…  Seguir leyendo »