Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings has died at the age of 73.

As a senior officer in the Ghana Air Force, he led two coups, first in 1979, handing over to a civilian government, and then two years later.

He was the head of a military junta until introducing multi-party elections in 1992, when he was first elected president. He stepped down in 2001 after serving two terms.

A charismatic figure, he came to power in 1979 railing against corruption.

Reports from Ghana say that the former president died in hospital in the capital, Accra, after a short illness.

In the few months that he led the country in 1979, he was responsible for executing several former heads of state and army generals for their alleged graft and mismanagement.

He was also seen as a champion of the poor and began his time in power as a committed socialist.

He later introduced free-market reforms and ushered in a long period of political stability, that continues today, after a tumultuous series of coups in the 1960s and 1970s.

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