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FULL SPEECH: What Zanetor Rawlings said at the memorial service of her late father

All-clad in white, the family of the late former President, Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings held a memorial service in honour of their departed husband and father.

The service which took place at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra saw many members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other well-meaning Ghanaians, join the family to memorialise the fallen statesman.

As part of the ceremony, first daughter of the late JJ Rawlings, Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, read a speech on behalf of the family.

Her speech was followed by one read by son and last child of Mr. Rawlings – Kimathi, who appreciated all for their support during the period.

Whilst acknowledging the significant role of her late father in the history of Ghana, Zanetor also touted how difficult the period has been for the family and all Ghanaians.

Read her full speech below:

Goodmorning, I stand on established protocols. On Thursday November 12, 2020, the news of the death of Jerry John Rawlings broke around mid-morning, sending our nation into a state of shock and disbelief.

As the news spread, the reality of his death dawned not only on us as a family but also on the millions of people across the world who loved and admired him for his convictions which he stoutly defended till his last day.

It has been a difficult 12 months, having to live with the knowledge, that he is not with us anymore, physically.

But as Psalm 46 verse 1 says, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The Lord has been there for us and for all those who in diverse ways, have lost a loved one.

Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings was a man whom one cannot forget easily, his loving and charismatic demeanour struck everyone he met.

And for mum and for us, every day brings new memories of who he was – larger than life but still a simple personality with so much warmth and compassion.
As a young father, your love and care knew no bounds. To quote from mum’s tribute to you, “You took pride in your fatherly duties.

There was no task too tiresome or bothersome for you as you sought to take care of your young family”.

You struck a chord with the ordinary people of this country and could not fathom why a small group of privileged class had taken over Ghana and consistently mismanaged it. You and like-minded colleagues believed some action had to be taken, the rest is history.

Probity and accountability were not just popular words associated with Jerry John Rawlings. You did everything you could when you were leader of this country to live with the ideal and to convince all Ghanaians to follow suit.

The journey of combating corruption has been a complex journey for Ghana but while you lived, you never stopped championing that course.
We are still far from where you wanted your beloved Ghana to be but your ideals and what you stood for will continue to haunt those who choose to cut corners and achieve undeserved riches at the expense of their people and this applied to both politicians and non-politicians alike.

Your environmental credentials always preceded whatever you did. We recall on some of our trips when you would stop a convoy and together with your security detail, extinguish a raging bush fire, before proceeding with the journey. This is not a tribute to dad, but how does one speak about Jerry John Rawlings without speaking about all these?

Your loss was a loss for the whole country and the pain one felt was by most Ghanaians. Nevertheless, we take this opportunity to thank all well-meaning Ghanaians for the outpouring of love and support when we lost our dear husband, father and grandfather and friend. The international community’s pouring of condolence was also very moving as well as the ordinary citizens who shared their tributes all of which came together to form a book that clearly demonstrated who he was.

Watch the full video below:

They reminded us of how many lives Jerry Rawlings had impacted.
It was indeed touching that many across the length and breadth of Ghana expressed their sympathies and offered us a shoulder to lean on. In you we sought and continue to seek our consolation.

As many of you join us here today, we join you in sending our love to the belated Jerry John Rawlings. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.
And we end with the beautiful lyrics of the song just ministered to us by the harmonious chorale, “Tell me, what does it look like in heaven? Is it peaceful? Is it free like they say? Does the sun shine bright forever? Have your fears and pain gone away? Because here on earth, it feels like everything good is missing since you left, and everything feels different. There’s an emptiness”. Thank you very much and God bless you.

One year on, the pain remains immeasurable, the reality still in question.




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