June 4 Was Not as Popular as Dela Coffie Supposes
I read Mr. Dela Coffie’s take on Paul Adom-Otchere’s television documentary on the June 4th Revolution, so-called, titled “Rejoinder: Paul Adom-Otchere and June 4th Documentary” (Modernghana.com 6/7/19), and could not help but feel deep contempt for the critic’s repulsively self-serving tirade against the producer-narrator’s inalienable democratic right to assess this indelibly dark and barbaric moment in Ghana’s postcolonial history in a way that the producer-narrator deemed to be truthful, objective and accurate. But, of course, what raised my hackles, as it were, more than anything else, was the proprietary arrogance of the critic and the suggestion that, somehow, the producer-narrator of the documentary owed his right to unfettered free expression to the dictatorial, extortionate and despotic Trokosi Nationalist Butchers (TNB) who scandalously hijacked the democratically elected Hilla Limann-led government of the People’s National Party (PNP) on December 31, 1981.
No such posture could at once be more absurd and clinically lunatic, to speak much less about the downright primitive. And for the instructive enlightenment of the Rawlings’ fanatic and virulent Adom-Otchere critic, the so-called June 4th Revolution was not nearly as popular as he supposes. For the most part, the overwhelming majority of the supporters of the Rawlings-Tsikata Pogrom or Mini-Holocaust were between the ages of 16 and 25, at the oldest. Chairman Jerry John Rawlings himself could not have been more than 33 years old. In my own family, absolutely no adult upwards of 25 years old supported the Rawlings-Tsikata Tribal Cabal, including my own maternal uncle, the future Director of Religious Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, or Chaplain-General, Col. EBB Sintim(-Brown), who kept warning me to be extremely careful of my dealings with the operatives of the National Youth Organizing Commission (NYOC), formerly the National Youth Council (NYC), in Kumasi. After all, hadn’t we all witnessed the horrible mess left in the wake of the erstwhile Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)? The Rawlings-Tsikata Cabal was composed of a reckless bunch of rabble-rousers who knew little to absolutely nothing about comprehensively strategizing for national development, in both the short-term and the long-haul.
As well, hadn’t we all witnessed the wanton atrocities perpetrated against non-Anlo-Ewe Ghanaian citizens, including the cold-calculated murder and the conflagrating of the corpse of the Rev. Asare at the Kumasi Kejetia Roundabout? As well, the virulently and pathologically anti-Akan rhetoric that was the ideological linchpin and thrust of the leadership of the so-called Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, in particular the morbidly anti-Asante rhetoric that casually and obtusely presupposed that the most dominant Akan sub-ethnic polity was exclusively to blame for the socioeconomic and political problems of the nation. And, indeed, of the 8 former military rulers rounded up and summarily executed by firing squad in June 1979, a full-fifty-percent or 4 were of Akan descent, just as all three of the savagely abducted and brutally Mafia-style executed Accra High Court Judges and the retired Ghana Army Major were all of Akan ethnicity.
Mr. Coffie must be living in a Fool’s Paradise to suppose that the Trokosi Nationalist Revolution (TNR) brought about any significant achievements, benefits and/or development to Ghanaian society at large, besides state-property-stealing / snatching by the leaders of the erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council, presently the National Democratic Congress. To be certain, Ghana is presently the intellectual, cultural and socioeconomic basket case that it has become today primarily because of the Rawlings-Tsikata Reign-of-Terror. It also goes without saying that in practical terms, Ghanaians today owe far more of their globally coveted unfettered right to individual free expression of the kind so enviably exercised by Mr. Adom-Otchere, to the great annoyance of Mr. Coffie, to former President John Agyekum-Kufuor, under whose New Patriotic Party government the now President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo unprecedently crafted the landmark Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, a punitive British colonial legal instrument that would be intensely, blindly, megalomaniacally and intransigently used by both the Rawlings-led PNDC and the NDC to suppress dissent in the country.
It was the Criminal Libel Law that was “surgically” used (my profuse apologies to the late Prof. Kofi Awoonor) to permanently silence linguistically trenchant progressive media lights like Messrs. John Kugblenu, Tommy Thompson and Kofi Badu, to name a few, by the Rawlings-Tsikata Trokosi Nationalist Revolutionaries. The Rawlings’ fanatic and vitriolic Adom-Otchere critic ought to be very grateful that the subject of his rejoinder merely mildly characterized the June 4th Mutiny, properly speaking, as a regrettable event in postcolonial Ghanaian history. I would have used much stronger language to characterize the same. And, by the way, if Mr. Coffie wants to know who really killed my favorite soldier of the post-Nkrumah period, to wit, Lt.-Gen. Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka, he had better read Prof. L. H. Ofosu-Appiah’s biography on the same subject and stop blowing hot air, if he is worth the title of the “Researcher” that he claims to be.
I have already written extensively about the kleptocratic travesty that was the so-called June 4th Revolution and thus do not feel inclined to waste my precious time rehashing the same here. At the end of the day, only impudent and irredeemably unconscionable Trokosi fanatics like Mr. Coffie would either flatly fail to soberly come to terms with the fact that the ramshackle state of our country’s education, healthcare and economy are the unique handicraft of the Rawlings-Tsikata Trokosi Nationalist Cabal and their ideological Amen Corner supplicants. The history, image and the reputation of the establishment of the formerly prestigious institution of the Flt-Lt.-commanded Ghana Armed Forces is only slightly better today. We still have a long way to go to make the GAF an enviable force to be reckoned with on the African continent. You see, he may neither know nor honestly want to admit to this, but the June 4th Mutiny and the December 31 putsch were squarely about the members of the junior ranks of the Ghana Armed Forces taking their turn, a la the Yeboah and Arthur abortive coup, to plunder the country. It is also a darn verifiable fact that today Chairman Jerry John Rawlings is one of the wealthiest Ghanaian citizens. No mystery here.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 8, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]