June 4 Anniversary At Aflao
COMMENTARY ON THE JUNE 4 ANNIVERSARY AT AFLAO
The wreath laying held at the cenotaph of the Revolution Square in Accra this morning is a fitting memorial to all those who lost their lives in the June 4 uprising some thirty-three years ago. Heroic as they were, they laid down their lives to safeguard national integrity. On the day in question some military officers under the auspices of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council shook the foundations of the nation by toppling the then military regime, the Supreme Military Council. The coup was preceded by an abortive attempt on May 15, 1979 when fight Lt. Jerry Rawlings and other ranks were arrested. Their trial only served to make them popular till they were eventually released on the morning of June 4 by young officers and non Commissioned Officers inspired by Rawlings. The regime started a house cleaning exercise against corruption. Three former military leaders, Lt. General Afrifa, General Acheampong and Lt. General Akuffo were all executed together with five other Senior Officers deemed to have been corrupt by the special courts set up by the then government.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, Today, Ghana is back to civilian rule under the fourth Republican Constitution. Democracy is the order of the day and the rule of law reigns supreme. But the question is how relevant has June 4 been? Have Ghanaians learnt any lessons? Do they appreciate the tenets of the revolution, which are probity, accountability and transparency? Revolutions the world over have ensured fundamental changes in power or organisational structure. Cases in point are the French Revolution, Russian revolution, Cuban revolution and the like. Each year, the June 4 uprising whose architect Flt. Lt. Rawlings came back with the 31st December revolution, is celebrated by the laying of wreaths in remembrance of fallen heroes of the revolution. In recent times however, another dimension that is, the June 4 rally has been added. It is unfortunate Mr. Rawlings has used such platforms to rain invectives on perceived enemies or people opposed to him. On such occasion we expect Mr. Rawlings to be joined by actors and activists of the revolution to ponder over its successes or failures. Major Boakye Djan, we are told led valiant soldiers to release Mr. Rawlings from jail when he had been pronounced guilty by a court martial and was to be executed. Never have we seen Major Boakye Djan or other key activists of the revolution taking part. There have been mixed reaction over the celebration of June 4. One school of thought believes the continued celebration of the event reminds victims of the atrocities they went through. The other school believes if Flt. Lt. Rawlings after staging the 1979 coup and returning the country to democratic rule had stayed in the barracks and not come back on the 31st December 1981 to overthrow a democratically elected Dr. Limann, June 4 would have been worth celebrating. It would have been hailed as the event that ushered Ghana into democratic rule. However, the return of Mr. Rawlings in 1981 spoilt everything.
At this year's June 4 rally at Aflao in the Volta Region, Mr. Rawlings used the opportunity to wade into the NDC logo saga. According to him, it was upon the suggestion of his wife, Nana Konadu, that the umbrella logo came about. The question then is, does merely suggesting something make one the owner? It is about time Mr. Rawlings and the NDC hierarchy sat down to resolve their differences. They are disappointing the numerous Ghanaians who find solace in the NDC as representing the down trodden. June 4 is today etched on the minds of Ghanaians if for nothing at all, for the moral lessons it imparted. If after June 4, 1979 Ghanaians are still reeling under the pains of tribalism and ethnicity, political and bureaucratic corruption, incredible judiciary, election-related instability, then of course the architects of June 4 must revise their notes.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.