Rawlings funeral: Ghanaians bid farewell to ex-president

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Traditional funeral rites for the former president were performed

The state funeral of Ghana’s longest serving leader, Jerry John Rawlings, has taken place in the capital, Accra.

During a turbulent career, he led two coups before twice being elected president in multiparty polls.

He died in November at the age of 73 of an undisclosed illness, but his funeral was delayed – in part by political squabbling.

The ceremony was held at Independence Square, with numbers attending limited by coronavirus restrictions.

But many Ghanaians headed to the square despite being asked by the government to watch the ceremony on TV in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, the BBC’s Thomas Naadi reports from Accra.

Mourners were wearing masks and hand sanitiser had been provided but it was proving difficult to practise social distancing, our reporter says.

Prominent mourners included Liberia’s President George Weah, Sierra Leonean leader Julius Maada Bio and representatives from the UN and African Union.

President Rawlings contributed to peace efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone during the civil wars in the 1990s and most recently was an African Union envoy to Somalia. He also led campaigns against malaria across the continent. (BBC)

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