04.06.2008 Feature Article

June 4 Agents Vent Spleen

June 4 Agents Vent Spleen
04.06.2008 LISTEN

THIS YEAR'S commemoration of the bloody military revolt that happened in Ghana on June 4, 1979 has not lacked the usual malevolent speeches meant to malign people perceived to be enemies of the revolution.

Professor Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Acting Head of Governance Issues at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), retired Major Boakye Djan, a front-liner of the June 4 movement, sections of the Ghanaian media and the ruling government were casualties of populist speeches delivered at a lecture held last Monday evening to mark the 29th anniversary of June 4th.

At the lecture, all speakers blamed the Ghanaian media of consistently demonizing the June 4 uprising and reporting on only its negative consequences and deliberately ignoring the gains the movement had on the country.

The speakers alleged further that a section of the media and some politicians were deliberately distorting Ghana's history simply because of their dislike for June 4.

Fiifi Kwetey, Propaganda Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), speaking at the lecture, alleged that Prof. Antwi-Danso had deliberately sought to discredit Jerry John Rawlings as the leader of the June 4 uprising and named Boakye Djan as the one who led the June 4 movement.

He described that assertion as a 'monumental lie' and an attempt to distort Ghana's history, and noted that at the time Jerry Rawlings was bravely leading June 4, Boakye Djan, out of fear, was hiding under his girlfriend's bed at the Achimota School.

Mr. Kwetey said he had spoken to a lot of people who were witnesses of what actually happened on June 4 1979, and there was no way Boakye Djan could have led the movement.

He said the believers of June 4 should be courageous enough to speak about it rather than allow historical facts to be distorted.

Madam Sherry Ayitey, a leading member of the 31st December Women's Movement, in her address at the lecture, said the factors that made June 4 necessary in 1979 were still relevant and even stronger in contemporary Ghana.

Explaining why June 4 would be relevant today, she said when the NDC government left office, there were many government-owned plots of land which were earmarked to be used for civil servants but under the current government, those lands have been sold out to individuals.

Madam Ayitey said the government of the day is taxing the poor only for the money to be enjoyed by property-owning democrats, and that there is much hardship in Ghana that its citizens, in order to survive now, have to queue to be given money.

She said the perceived peace in the country is only an illusion, and that people cannot get out of their houses after 7 pm.

Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni, NDC running mate for the 2004 elections, said “the NPP is fully aware that because of its dismal record in government, the Ghanaian electorate was poised to soundly reject them in the December 2008 polls; and they are not eager to accept the people's verdict. There is talk of deployment of action troopers on polling day.

The over-bloating of 13 constituencies in the Ashanti Region by the addition of 600,000 voters is under investigation by the Electoral Commission and representatives of the political parties.

“We in the NDC as true believers and propagators of June 4 doctrines and principles should pluck the courage and determination of the architects of June 4 to stand up, speak up and insist on a number of fundamentals that will ensure that the integrity of the ballot-box is maintained.”

By Halifax Ansah-Addo