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06.06.2006 General News

June 4 Was Corrective — Rawlings

By — GNA
June 4 Was Corrective — Rawlings

Former President Jerry John Rawlings, at a lecture to mark the 27th anniversary of the June 4 military uprising, has described the action as punitive and corrective against social injustice rather than a violent action to terrorise top military officers and their civilian collaborators.

He compared the action to that of the discipline of a father to an errant child, and of Jesus' cleansing of the temple of exploitative money launderers and asked Ghanaians to be courageous to stand for the truth, and avoid all forms of political propaganda and exploitation.

He said rather than pray for the transformation of the moneychangers, Christ whipped the moneychangers, adding that what people called the violence of June 4 was what Christ did.

The former President, whose appearance at about 5.30 p.m. last Saturday electrified the gathering at the Teachers Hall, was later joined by his wife, Nana Konadu.

He asked Ghanaians to be guided by the sore events leading to the June 4 Uprising, which ushered in the erstwhile Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and repeated an earlier apology for the excesses and suffering of innocent victims.

He accused the ruling government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of using the clergy, the judicial system, the intelligence network and propagandist tools to peddle lies about main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The former President, who is also the founder of the NDC, described the NPP as a criminal government, whose propagandist tools were designed to terrorise the nationals into a state of suppression.

Flt-Lt. Rawlings recounted events of June 4, 1979, and accused Major Boakye-Djan, a leading member of the then AFRC, of attempting to use his position to secure different positions at different times within the military service, and dared him to publicly announce what role he played in making June 4 a success.

The former President talked on a number of current and topical national issues, including the purchase of the controversial G-III jet, the breakaway from Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, former chairman of the NDC, problems with Dr Kwesi Botcway, former Finance Minister, over the release of funds for troops in Liberia, and national security.

He accused the NPP Government of using money to influence votes, and called on NDC party faithful not to believe Dr Asamoah and Dr Botchwey, who, he said, were using his name in their campaigns and telling people that the breakaway party would merge with the NDC at Election 2008.

He urged the Zongo communities, where the practice was rife, to be on their guard against such misinformation.

Professor Freeman Koblah Atakpa, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, said all Ghanaians must embrace the June 4, 1979 uprising as an indelible revolt against social injustice in the country's political history.

He said the current socio-political environment in the country should be guarded with care and never allowed to relapse to a level that could warrant such a revolt again.
Professor Atakpa spoke on the topic: 'The June 4 Uprising: Ghana's Perpetual Flame for Social Justice'.

The theme for the anniversary lectures was: 'Social Justice: Bedrock of a Vibrant Democracy.'

He said the uprising was a "rebellion" against a dehumanising socio-political situation, which came as a long awaited voice of the voiceless majority who had been suppressed and deprived of a meaningful life for far too long.

Prof. Atakpa said there were people who had stigmatised the uprising and wished it never happened because they had benefited from the social injustice of the time.

"Till today, they are all out to erase the spirit of the uprising from the minds of Ghanaians," he said.

He said the attitude of positive defiance, the preparedness to sacrifice one's life in defence of social justice, as well as a resolve not to succumb to corruption and greed in life, needed to be a clarion call for all.

Prof. Atakpa said the younger generation of Ghanaians, who formed about 60 per cent of the population, also needed to be educated on the fundamental need for social justice based on probity, accountability and transparency.

"Many of them, who are potential voters, did not have the experience which led to the revolt", he added.

Prof. Atakpa said it was necessary to choose future leaders who understood and were committed to the course of social justice since it was an indispensable foundation for the success of any government.

Mr Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, said the values and ideals of the June 4 Uprising were still relevant today.

He said people had to be courageous in order to stand up against corruption and the social injustices in the system.

Dr Tony Aidoo, a leading member of the NDC, accused the NPP as being a fascist government which lacked regional and tribal balance in the appointment of ministers and other public officials.

He also slammed former appointees in the NDC government for being the cause of fragments in the party since those who held juicy positions at the time were no longer taking active interest in the party's activities.