Friday, 7 June 2013

June Four Uprising

The June 4 uprising will go down in history as the most significant event that rejuvenated politics in Ghana. Thirty four (34) years ago, a young Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and a handful of other ranks of the Air Force were held in security cells for their roles in a failed mutiny on May 15. They were released by their colleagues, and this culminated in the over throw of the then SMC II junta headed by General FWK Akufo. Ironically, General Akufo had also come to power through a palace coup which unseated General Kutu Acheampong. Even though short lived, there is a school of thought which hold the view that June 4 placed Ghana on the road to political stability, social integration and economic freedom. Most importantly it opened the doors to people at the grassroots to contribute to the decision making process. The PDCs and WDC's that June 4 brought in its wake undoubtedly mobilised the people towards national development. If today the fourth Republic has given Ghana peace, stability and rule of law to the extent that the country's democracy has become exemplary for the rest of the African continent to emulate, then we owe it to the June 4 uprising. That the uprising was the event that sparked a new era and paradigm shift in the socio-economic and political transformation of the country is not in doubt. June 4 gave birth to the 31st December revolution which crystallised into the 4th Republic Constitutional rule. Nevertheless, the success chalked up by June 4 uprising in trying to put a spanner in the wheels of corruption by ensuring transparency, probity and accountability in the body politic seem to be tethering.

Yesterday Flt. Lt. Rawlings, the architect of the uprising in an address to a cadre forum in Accra reiterated his concern about the scourge of lies, corruption, cheating and injustice growing in both private and public spheres which he stressed need to be checked since they do not augur well for the social and economic progress of the nation. The fact is many people seem not to have learnt any lessons from the June 4 uprising. If corruption, nepotism and injustice are still pervasive in the Ghanaian society then June 4 is a far cry. Nevertheless for those involved in June 4, more specifically those who spearheaded the event on that fateful day in 1979, they will forever go down in history as the men who ushered in a period that gave meaning to people's power. We must learn to honour our heroes for no matter the mistakes made in the cause of June 4 its heroes need not to be forgotten. Their names in history must be written in gold. In appearing before the National Reconciliation Commission in 2009, one of the main architects of June 4, Major Boakye Djan called for the establishment of a monument in honour of all those who laid down their lives fighting for the freedom and liberation of Ghana. This must be given serious consideration. Probity, accountability and volunteerism which were the tenets of the uprising and subsequent events must be made more relevant in our national discourse. Through that we give meaning to the toil of public spirited citizens who were mobilised into task forces to clear refuse, repair railway lines and move cocoa from the hinterland to the Ports.

Today as we mark June 4, the focus should be on eradicating every stain on the otherwise memorable event. Flt Lt. Rawlings and other key participants in the uprising must be decorated with national honours. Even though they might have erred in prosecuting the event, to err our elders say is human. To people whose toes might have been stepped on, they must find a place in their hearts to truly forgive and forget. National Reconciliation which the erstwhile NPP administration set upon to achieve must be carried to the letter. The recommendations of the National Reconciliation Commission must be moved from the dusted shelves and implemented. The June 4 uprising now belongs to history, Let us not create situations that will engender calls for another June 4 with its repercussions. Democracy is the path we have chosen and must endeavour to respect its tenets.

BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST .

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