A Former Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) has in a tribute to late former President Jerry John Rawlings said he (Rawlings) gave the Commission a free hand to operate.

In an interview with the GNA, Mr David Adeenze Kanga, said “he impressed me; I didn’t see the least attempt on his part to influence or direct the Commission.”

He added “Rawlings showed commitment to the Commission to do its work. I don’t remember any day he attempted to direct the Commission.”  

The former Head of State, and later President, reportedly died on November 12, 2020, at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, in Accra.

Rawlings and the EC

Mr Kanga was appointed Deputy Chairman of the EC in 1993, when the late President was the leader of the nation, and served in that capacity, well after he (former President Rawlings) had left office after the year 2000 election.

Mr Kanga, however, went on retirement on April 29, 2012, after 19 years of service.

The former deputy EC chair described the governance legacy of the late President as unmatched, explaining that he helped to promote very credible elections in Ghana.

Speaking further, Mr Kanga called for the Electoral Commission to be continually and adequately resourced by government in order to ensure its independence as well as enable it operate smoothly.

Other works of Mr Rawlings

Mr Kanga, who hails from the Builsa Traditional Area in the Upper East Region, went on to describe Mr Rawlings as Action Man and Achiever, adding that the former Head of State he helped with the transformation of the country by extending electricity to the whole country.

“Extending electricity to the whole country is not a small achievement. He insisted, and today there’s no village that’s not enjoying electricity on the national grid.”

Also, citing the construction of the Kumasi-Paga Road, Mr Kanga said under the Government of the late President Rawlings, there was massive improvement in the road network, which he said contributed to the national transformation agenda.

Late President Rawlings, he said, also saw to the construction of the Tamale Airport and the Wa Airstrip.

Mr Kanga said the late former President would also be remembered for the creation of two political administrative districts for the Builsa geographical area as a major developmental tool for the area.

Mr Kanga was a former Headmaster of Navrongo Senior High School, and later Member of the Council of State, who later became a Member of the Council of State during the John Mahama led Government, for January 2013 – January 2017.

Mr Kanga who represented the Upper East Region, recalled having acquaintances with the former President Rawlings back in Accra, and knew him as sociable and friendly before he assumed office as a military ruler.

Military interventions

Regarding the military interventions of which the former Head of State were associated, Mr Kanga said “I wasn’t surprised that he was mobilising the young soldiers. He was their man. I think they all shared the frustration of the young soldiers.”

Mr Kanga urged political actors and leaders to be sincere and honest with the people they dealt with and “show love for the country” a phenomenon he said was gradually missing in the nation’s politics.

On his sympathies to the family, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party, and all citizens, he said: “It’s sad, but they should take heart, and remember that J. J. represents not only Ghana.

“He also carried the Africa mantle. We all should be inspired by what Rawlings stood for on the path of development and transformation of Ghana,” Mr Kanga added.