Last Tuesday, June 4, was the fortieth anniversary of the bloodiest uprising in the history of Ghana. The reasons for this were to punish those who overthrew constitutional governments, and government officials who had enriched themselves at the expense of the good people of Ghana.
The leaders of June 4 were Jerry John Rawlings and Boakye Gyan, and they led a government which brooked no nonsense in making sure that everything was done right in this country. People who evaded taxes quickly made due their obligations and paid up in an account set up for that purposes.
Ghanaians had confidence in the new regime because now everyone will be doing things right. A few years along the line, people started asking how relevant the so-called uprising was.
First, the suceeding government realised that there were no funds in an Accounts 45, which was opened to receive taxes paid by evaders. Then the apostles of the uprising, which was to turn Ghanaians into hard-working people full of sacrifices for the benefit of the state, received ex-gratia running into millions of dollars as their personal reward.
Not long after, Jerry John Rawlings, who masterminded the killing of senior army officers who had overthrown constitutional governments, was himself in the picture of leading another coup which ousted a civilian constitutional government.
Some people had to account for their stewardship with their lives, after some kangaroo courts found them guilty and sentenced them to death before they even appeared in court of competent jurisdiction.
In the case of Rawlings, no one was to question him, and so he must be left free to celebrate an ego as Ghana’s ‘indispensable’ leader.
Some people were shot dead just for acquiring loans from the banks to put up their homes. And today, Rawlings has acquired mansions and properties that all his salaries and allowances over his nineteen years as head of state of this country could not pay for. How relevant is June 4 if the leader of the revolution is not living according to the tenets of the ‘revolution’?
For nineteen years, he led a revolution government of December 31, 1981, which was a direct descendant of June 4, to govern this country with an iron hand. And when he was forced to bow out of dictatorship, he had a constitution prepared for him in which an entrenched provision made it mandatory that he and his colleagues were not to be taken to court to answer questions about their stewardship during the eleven years of the Proviional National Defence Council (PNDC) government.
Today, many are those who believe that the 1992 Constitution is not a good working document because of its many loopholes, as it was prepared to satisfy only one person, Jerry John Rawlings.
For example, Rawlings is never to be questioned even when he violated a Supreme Court judgment against his celebration of December 31 coup which overthrew a constitutional government.
That day in 1993, he raged wildly and openly got the forces behind him to route-march to the El-Wak Sports Stadium, where he celebrated the illegal occasion amidst blood cuddling speeches, with one of his sycophants, Red Light, making a public statement that “if there is freedom of speech, then there should be freedom of assassination!”
Rawlings’ violation of a court order is not talked about, but when someone only makes a comment about a judgment, he or she is said to be a non-law abiding citizen.
The 1992 Constitution itself is evidence of how irrelevant June 4 and December 31 were. Instead of putting together workable laws that would guide Ghanaians to be that kind of citizen June 4 had in mind, it failed to do just that.
So, as it is now, if a Member of Parliament (MP) commits a serious crime, he is not to be touched until he exits the House and ceases to be a member. Yet, June 4 went ahead to kill people without fair trial.
Perceived cases of financial malfeasance had people killed because June 4 did not even tolerate perceptions of corruption. Yet, out of the loins of June 4 came a financier of Rawlings’ political party, who succeeded in hoodwinking all National Democratic Congress (NDC) ministers, and the then President, and stole GH₵51 million from our national coffers, and he is still walking free, and not only that, he is daring Ghanaians to never dream of demanding him to refund the money. Maybe he hopes to use that amount as seed money for Western Togoland.
Surprisingly, the NDC Mr. Woyome belongs to has not descended on him and will never be seen to compel him to pay back the loot. An NDC government suddenly withdrew court action against Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, claiming it was no longer interested in demanding our money. Legal webs have been weaved around this criminal act reducing it to a civil suit so that in the event that Woyome loses the case, he will never see the inside of jail.
And yet, June 4 killed people perceived to have stolen from the public purse. How relevant are June 4 and December 31?
Today, Rawlings will like to remind us that the country had lost the values of June 4 that is why corruption is still wide awake. What he forgets is that he led things to be so, benefiting from acts of malfeasance, since he has risen from a struggling man to become one of the richest in this country, and holds himself as the best gift God has ever given Ghana.
Meanwhile, the poor he claims to come to redeem are poorer after his nineteen years as head of state.
When he was in power, he was gifted $5 million by the late General Abacha of Nigeria to do some public relations gimmicks for him. When the news broke, he denied ever engaging in such a crime. However, many years later, he came out to say that it was only $2 million he received, and not five million. How many more years will it take for him to accept that Abacha gave him five million dollars? This is the man who planted the seed of June 4 and claims it was the best thing that happened to accountability in the whole of Africa. The question still remains is that if conditions before June 4 turned from bad to worse after the so-called revolution, then how relevant is it to be celebrated every year?
Hon. Daniel Dugan