Former President, John Dramani Mahama has eulogized the founder of the National Democratic Congress, Late Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the June 4 uprising today, Friday, June 4, 2021.
The Statesman said the Late Rawlings was a key influence on Ghana’s history for the two decades straddling the late 70s till year 2000.
Citing why there is a need to celebrate the founder’s ideology, Mr Mahama noted that the June 4 Uprising was an epochal event that represents a major landmark in our nation’s existence. Together with its sister event, the 31st December Revolution, the two shaped the course of Ghana’s history resulting in a turnaround in Ghana’s economic fortunes and the advent of the 4th Republic.
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For the first time, the people of Ghana, comrades, supporters and sympathizers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will commemorate the June 4 Uprising without the inspirational and arresting physical presence of the Founder of our party, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings (Rtd.), our former President, who departed from us last year.
He was a key influence on Ghana’s history for the two decades straddling the late 70s till year 2000. The June 4 Uprising was an epochal event that represents a major landmark in our nation’s existence. Together with its sister event, the 31st December Revolution, the two shaped the course of Ghana’s history resulting in a turnaround in Ghana’s economic fortunes and the advent of the 4th Republic.
Forty-two years on, our economy and democracy are in dire straits. Economic hardship, insecurity, political and ethnic polarization, deepening inequality, politicization of our democratic institutions, corruption, serious problems in the education and health sectors are challenges Ghanaians are confronted with in our daily lives.
This has led to a crisis of confidence in the political leadership.
Ghana is a country with exceptional human talent. Time is ticking fast and yet we can make things right if we work as one nation with a common destiny. As I have said in the past, broad consultations and consensus building does not take anything away from a leader.
Broad consultations that bring the best and brightest together with stakeholders can forge consensus around issues such as economic recovery strategy, or implementational challenges of Free SHS in the national interest.
The values June 4 espoused some four decades ago, remain as relevant today as ever before in our nation’s democratic journey. June 4 engendered hope in our people that the ills of our society would be rooted out and replaced with values of virtue and honesty.
If we must get our people to hope again and to trust in our institutions and government, then we must encourage “fearless honesty” as enjoined by our national anthem.
We must embrace and be guided by truth, transparency, probity and accountability – principles that have been bequeathed unto us, which are the bedrock upon which our nation, undoubtedly, will become great, strong, resilient and prosperous.
We must encourage freedom of thought and expression rather than a culture of hypocrisy and silence.
May the spirit of our Founder live on!
I wish all our comrades a happy June 4 Anniversary!
John Dramani Mahama
Former President of Ghana
About June 4
The June 4th Revolution or June 4th Uprising was an uprising in Ghana in 1979 that arose out of a combination of corruption, bad governance, frustration among the general public, and lack of discipline and frustrations within the Ghanaian army.
It was sparked when the then military government of the Supreme Military Council (SMC II) of General F K. Akuffo put then flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on public trial for attempting to overthrow the government on May 15, 1979.
This happened because Rawlings was a junior soldier in the Ghanaian Army who with other soldiers were refused their salaries.
Rawlings turned the trial against the government by accusing it of massive corruption and requesting that his fellow accused be set free as he was solely responsible for the mutiny.
He was incarcerated for sentencing. His diatribe resonated with the entire nation as there was massive suffering.
On the night of June 3, 1979, junior military officers including Major Boakye Djan broke into the jail where Rawlings was being held and freed him and ostensibly marched him to the national radio station to make an announcement.
The first time the public heard from Rawlings was a now legendary statement that he Rawlings had been released by the junior officers and that he was under their command.
He requested all soldiers to meet with them at the Nicholson Stadium in Burma Camp in Accra.
The entire nation went up in uproar. The soldiers rounded up senior military officers including three former heads of states, General F. K Akuffo, Ignatious Kutu Acheampong, and Afrifa for trial. They were subsequently executed by firing squad.
Rawlings was appointed the head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) by the revolting Junior military officers to run the country until the ongoing election was completed.
He handed over power to Dr. Hilla Limann in September 1979. But Rawlings again overthrew Limann on 31 December 1981.
Though June 4th became a noted date in Ghana’s history, it has been said to be a date that brings a lot of pain to people who either lost loved ones, lost businesses or had to flee the country.