June 4 Uprising in Retrospect
By GODFRIED K. ARHIN-KUMI
(Advocate against cheating and of peaceful co-existence)
It is exactly 40 years today, June 4, 2019, that a military officer, answering to the name Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, embarked on a military uprising, specifically aimed at ‘cleaning’ Ghana of all forms of corrupt activities.
This uncompromising agenda won the hearts of many Ghanaians, and the uprising drew along with it a large following. This was because, at the time, Ghana was, indeed, being strangled economically beyond the boundary of rescue. Obviously, they were all enjoying the rot in various ways, while Rome continued to groan under an uncontrollable inferno.
It was the time such activities were nicknamed Gyinabu (instant cheating) and Kalabule (Brutal acts of cheating). Traders took advantage of the prevailing situation and sold their goods at cut-throat prices. Long queues at provisions stores and other trading points were the order of the day.
I was then a student journalist staying at the International Student’s Hostel located at the junction of the Kotoka International Airport. In the morning of June 4, 1979, something happened which filled me with doubt about the genuineness of the uprising, with its alluring agenda of Probity and Accountability.
Student journalists were standing by the road side in front of the hostel waiting for our school van. A soldier, armed to the teeth, was at the junction stopping vehicles and searching them. A flashy car with an expatriate at the steering wheel was flagged to a stop by the soldier. After a brief search, he picked a beautiful pair of binoculars from the front seat and ordered the driver to “move on.”
Yes, an uprising with an agenda of probity and accountability being tainted at that very beginning with extortion! Will it succeed to ‘clean’ Ghana? Time would tell, and indeed, time has its own story as to tell now at the end of this commentary.
Some army officers, including three heads of state, were tied to the stake and shot like common criminals. Their crime? Corruption. One of them, Amedome, was shot because he was alleged to have used his office to get a loan of 50 cedis from a bank, after going through the normal processes.
To cut a long story short, the June 4 ‘Revolution’ and its brother, December 31 Revolution, have metamorphosed into a political party called the National Democratic Congress ( NDC), which won the first presidential and parliamentary elections of the Fourth Republic, with Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings as President, and who ruled the country from 1992 to 2000.
A relevant question begging for an honest answer is: Have the two revolutions achieved their aims of following the dictates of their agenda of probity and accountability?
Maybe Rawlings tried to be faithful to this agenda. However, after his tenure of eight years as President, some key members of his government – Finance Minister Kwame Peprah, Victor Selormey, Abodakpi, Sipa-Yankey, Tsatsu Tsikata, etc., were found guilty of causing financial loss to the State, tried and convicted and jailed by a competent court of jurisdiction. A failed agenda!
The late President J.E.A. Atta Mills looked promising in following their famous agenda of probity and accountability. At least, he proved this by initiating investigations into the purchase of an aircraft, but the combined forces of destiny, fate and man’s wickedness felled him to silence him.
May his soul rest in peace, while the living ‘ghosts’ responsible for his sudden death are expected to fly into the firmament.
Enter John Dramani Mahama, who neatly fits into the sentiments of Shakespeare that “…some have greatness thrust upon them.” He took over after Mills’ death as the 1992 Constitution dictates.
Observers believe that his swearing in marked the beginning of unprecedented acts of corruption among his appointees, who obviously created their own agenda of “create, loot and share “ in place of Rawlings’ revolutionary agenda of probity and accountability. Yes, nests have to be built.
If Col. Amedome was shot at the stake for going through the processes to acquire a loan of 50 cedis from a bank, then against the background of billions of Ghana cedis being squandered by Mr. Mahama’s appointees, the June 4 Uprising has been a gargantuan failure – a disappointment to Ghanaians.
Some NDC colleagues in my town have raised their voices calling for Rawlings’ intervention to save his darling party, the NDC, from dying shamefully: “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” The party’s elders recently disgraced themselves by supporting one of their children who has fallen foul of the law but was refusing to answer the police invitation! Elders in a family are revered for their wisdom, by being able to bring some of the young ones in their homes misbehaving to order.
Rawlings should sit them down to “boom, boom” them with constructive pieces of advice, as part of activities marking the June 4 Anniversary celebration.
If Mr. Mahama says the NDC has roots of violence, he should also sincerely admit that the party also has roots of probity and accountability, and so should stop his appointees from looting the national purse.
Considering the fact that anytime the NDC is out of political power some of its members face accusations of causing financial loss to the state, the June 4 Uprising has been a huge failure, and its adherents should bow down their heads in utter shame for using the party as a conduit for depleting the national purse.