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Opinions of Monday, 6 June 2011

Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa

The Relevance of June 4th 1979 ...

The Relevance of June 4th 1979, has it been a Boom or a Doom for Ghanaians?


The obstinately recurring anniversary celebration of the jaw-dropping event that took place in Ghana on 4th June 1979, at a time when the Nation had organised for a return of the country into multi-party democracy has always remained a controversial issue with divided opinions amongst Ghanaians. Whereas some perceive it as a timely intervention for only God knows what, others consider it to be a grossly personal score settling event that has furthered and deepened the socio-political and economic woes of Ghana and Ghanaians. For a start, before progressing any further into this issue, considering the fact that there was a military government in place whose supposed tight security was defied by the plotters to eventually succeeding in toppling the regime suggests that, internally the country had no security at-all; if albeit there was, I can surmise that there was serious disaffection amongst the rulers and the ruled. The mere fact that Gen Akuffo, the then Head of State went and cringed himself in the Catholic bishop of Cape Coast’s residence suggests the government and the Forces’ prima facie admission of mea culpa. Others simply surrendered without any resistance except Gen Odartey Wellington who demonstrated outstanding intrepidity as a soldier of no mean valour and value; may his soul rest in perfect peace. In his solo resistance, today’s master celebrant of the event, timorous John Rawlings was in hiding, half-dead with fear; Boakye Djan and Baah-Achamfuor, the dare-devil master fighters who fought like Snowball have been snowballed; today, they live in perpetual pain of having led scoundrels to achieve much yet dejected and having power over nothing.


Beginning by instilling fear and panic in all Ghanaians, two Generals of the Armed Forces were hurriedly executed in what may be accurately termed as palm-tree justice. Gen Achampong was done for both alleged economic mismanagement and leading a corrupt government whiles Gen Utuka was executed under the pretext of supervising corruption at Ghana’s boarders. Whereas these victims were denied their right to natural justice, their prosecutors and judges could also not substantiate their alleged charges against them. In their irate frenzy, they went ahead in furthering their extra-judicial murdering spree, this time aiming at Gen Afrifa who was Boakye Djan and Baah-Achamfuor’s main target and utmost objective of the event. This is not a speculation but an overt statement from the master planner of the 4th June 1979 event, Kwadwo Boakye Djan as well as pronouncements from later invented so-called cadres from the 31st December 1981 coup by John Rawlings who have joined the rank and file of June 4 celebrations in defiance of Court orders banning such public cerebrations.

June 4th and its import cannot be substantially discussed without its dichotomy, whether apparent or real. If the bloody and shameful event were worth any celebration at-all, where are the original planners who executed the plot and why do they abstain from co-joining in celebrating such an “important” occasion? Secondly, what important spectacular change did June 4th bring to Ghana? Thirdly, was there any link between the failed Rawlings’ coup plot of 15th May and the 4th June event? Finally why is Rawlings so particular about celebrating June 4th rather than 31st December which he himself masterminded with Kojo Tsikata?

In regard to the whereabouts of the other complotters of the event, Boakye Djan has said it all in various interviews and statements by explicitly stating that greedy John Rawlings has over-stepped the bounds of the June 4th objective, the blueprint of which he is oblivious of. In my assessment, apart from alleged apparent disaffection between higher and the lower ranks in the Armed Forces that was claimed to have triggered the insurrection, I wonder if June 4th had any socio-political and economic objective that came to benefit Ghana? If yes, how were they implemented, who supervised that and to what level of achieved success? On the established political front, every Ghanaian knows that, having dragged Ghana’s socio-political future through the muds of a proposed amorphous, unplanned and untested Unigov balderdash, heralded by the CPP elements in the Achampong government, Gen Akuffo and his Commissioners, culpable as they were, on their part had come out of the wash that stratocracy had, and continues to be always fraught with misrule encompassing improper and public administrative lapses, abuses of civil and human rights etc. Return to multi-party democracy was therefore a must which had almost been completed, pending a run-off for the Presidency when June 4th struck. There were no changes made in the prevailing on-going political dispensation and no constitutional changes. Therefore what landmark did June 4th create apart from what I personally perceive as being a masked creature composed to settle personal scores with Gen Afrifa, a fact that indeed I am not a lone person with this lucid perception. June 4th did not come to give birth to multi-party democracy therefore, if it purportedly came to protect and supervise a system that was already in place and duly protected, then, indeed it had no relevance.

From various accounts given, Rawlings played no active part in the event except his recorded voice played at broadcasting house on radio whiles he was hiding somewhere. The original AFRC planners were leftist communism-inclined Nkrumahists who saw even the NRC/SMC 1&2 as not enough leftist capable of exterminating the rightist NLC who had ousted their much cherished and beloved CPP regime. According to well-informed sources, they had a plan distinct from the thoughts and thinking of John Rawlings and his ambitions as he came into the fold of the group by accident. The architects of June 4th were indeed planning treason timed for a day in 1980 on condition that either PFP or UNC would win the 1979 elections, but to save Rawlings from the claws of the law in which he had been stuck, they struck rather untimely. This being so, it tells us that Boakye Djan and his cohorts were born wrong-headed dissident knaves in Ghana, waiting to strike at and destabilise any in-coming government if not that of their choice to bring back communism. These are daring putschists who didn’t have any use for why they live in a free laisez faire society, let alone any idea of what would make Ghana a place worth living. To sum everything up, the mishallowed miscreants who in their shallow infantile thinking thought they had a design and plan, incidentally, neither a viable design nor vision for our dear Ghana; for they would have regretted attempting it or if successful, would regret as at today from the fall of communism even in Russia, a communist giant now groping in a syncretism of free enterprise and a failed dirigisme.

John Rawlings’ relentless urge to annually celebrate June 4th is not by reason of his any spectacular participatory role in the success of an up-rising of disenchanted other ranks in the Armed Forces that came to control the country by contingency, but because he was saved from a probable capital punishment for planning treason. It must be seen to him as an event worth more than genethliacal exuberance or most aptly his day of salvation. Hectoring, lawless and unreasonable John Rawlings’ propensity to celebrate June 4th instead of 31st December is also a clever swap and combination in disguise of both, an advice by a thinking being not to celebrate 31st December as he did previously by reason of its treason element which should not be gloated over and also not to arouse pro-Limman passions that could cost him the adulations and votes from the Northerners. This is an advice he has rather reluctantly acquiesced to, else he would want both, hence his particular interest in June 4th with 31st December undertones involving his cadres. June 4th so to say, is on a milder side that takes the character of ‘dog eat dog’. To John Rawlings, this is the opportune time when and where he can continually bark like a mad dog each year, reiterating his probity and accountability 31st December catchphrase in a form of apologia that is consumable by only his faex populi, most of whom can neither reason nor discern, others just for convenience. The champion professor of probity and accountability John Rawlings has neither exhibited nor subjected himself to any such of his professed virtues in his entire period of regimental rule over Ghanaians. These are scoundrels who wrap themselves in the Ghana national flag as patriots purporting to defend the nation but rather defend themselves against the nation and milking the economy dry of the least possibly left for any probable redivivus effort.
Looking at revolutions in general they can either be categorised as meaningful, progressive and beneficial or simply wasteful and disastrous. We can think of the industrial revolution of the C18th to C19th which sought to transform and continues to transform manpower-centred industrial production into mechanical mode for increased mass production for human gains; the social revolution that has given several rights and protection to women, children and the handicapped; the technological revolution that has brought numerous benefits and many more. On the contrary, there are those that are made plausible only through demagoguery yet proved very disastrous and regrettable because there were ways around to meet the same desired results. For example, the French revolution can be seen to have laid down the birth pangs of a new world order. Though not very new, this new world order that was borrowed from the Magna Carta set a trend quite distinct from what was prevailing in France before the revolution, the effects of which spilled out of France and greatly effected global change, notably in Western Europe. At the time before the revolution France was considered to be a backward nation which had an imbalanced socio-economic set-up because economic and intellectual development was not at par with social change. Feeling the need for change the people took France into a new direction altogether, yet Napoleon’s personal agenda that came to be weaved into the revolution made it derisibly regrettable. Others include situational imports such as rampant civil disorder after the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Many of previously upheld revolutions world-wide are being over-turned as it is in the Arab world. The Russian, Korean, Cuban etc gory revolutions have not fared any better yet since propaganda hides all truths of circumstances make-believe appearances cover up failures. In comparison with Ghana’s June 4th and 31st December so-called revolutions, what have they transformed beneficially? They have successfully transformed hither-to social discipline into indiscipline and lawlessness as well as loss of national ethos. Their major imports are escalated misery, corruption, bullying, intimidation and suppression; yet these social vices that have been made more alive and strengthened by so-called revolutionists are what Rawlings and his cadres hallow about as having conquered even including having introduced democracy the understanding of which to them is exchange of insults and branding of opponents as enemies, simply because their mattoid followers believe only in absurdities.

Like all Despots and Dictators such as commit heinous crimes, they have their admirers who show unflinching support because at least once upon a time, they benefitted from them. It would be very absurd and unfortunate for such beneficiaries to gloat over the humiliation and execution of their once upon a time benefactor in an anniversary celebration of his humiliated dastard murder in the style of a knave at the stake. There are always people who cherish in absurdities by allowing crooks who feign by assuming patriotism to commit atrocities yet when confronted with injustice, turn to the NPP as a group in which solace is nurtured and where to find a route to seeking justice from them whom they once calumniated.

Since injustice can never be justified, my campaign is against injustice of all kinds and will continue to lavish execrations on all and sundry who shared in the AFRC and PNDC injustices. My rogation is heard and answered for at least Boakye Djan, Baah-Achamfuor etc live lives more worried as would be better if they were dead whiles John Rawlings will for ever bark in fear, desperate to defend the indefensible, yet unmindful of his hackneyed message having lost its taste and effect. My worry however is with the CPP members in the NDC as so-called cadres whose double standards surprise Ghanaian society by joining in June 4th celebrations. These are the self-same people who in conjunction with the leftist-inclined in the military, ruled Ghana and pushed Gen Achampong through certain absurd political programmes that shamed him to his crucifixion at the stake. These are the people who benefitted most from Gen Achampong’s regimes by way of public positions and various privileges, so if today they can join a poltroon like John Rawlings in June 4 celebrations without demur, then, I can surmise that some people are not governed by conscience; that some people’s brains have been hard baked, they only have human appearance but without any substance for according them the least dignity and respect. I say this because I realise that whereas wise and reasonable persons are governed by reason, average persons by experience, the stupid by necessity, brutes are invariably controlled by instinct. I am convinced that, with people’s conscience so instinctively corrupted, hardly will they ever reasonably decipher that the moment the AFRC and its didymous brother PNDC boomed, that very moment spelt the doom for Ghana and Ghanaians.

Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, LLB; MPhil (London) London UK