Former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings says what happened in June 4 1979 was a justifiable divine intervention and an expression of rage against the rape and corruption by political and military leaders of the time.
He reiterated assertions in the past that he did not dislike President Mills but “I am concerned that my country does not return to the devil, to hell. Let us hope in all sincerity that he will take the suggestions, the criticisms that we make.”
“What happened in ’79 was the halting effect of what Jesus Christ did in the temple when people were gambling and selling in the church. Within that period the nation finally had justice,” former President Rawlings said.
Speaking at a mammoth rally at the Tamale Police Park on Friday to climax activities marking the 31st anniversary of the June 4 Uprising, Flt Lt Rawlings who led the revolt said: “The energy existent was so intense, students in the universities came out to assist with the evacuation of cocoa in the hinterland areas. They did it without pay, without a second thought and evacuated the largest possible quantity of cocoa in our history. The voluntary spirit had returned, patriotism had returned.
Former President Rawlings said June 1979 was a great day and June 4 thirty-one years later could even be greater but for the serious setbacks it has suffered as far as accountability, probity and justice are concerned.
“What is also disappointing is that our own government does not seem to be performing as well as we all expected. This is most unfortunate.”
He said even though the NPP regime was removed so Ghanaians could heave a sigh of relief and enjoy ‘heaven’ it appeared “we have found ourselves in purgatory. Those of you who are Christians go and check from the Catholics what purgatory is. It is not hell and it is not heaven”.
“Today when we take one step forward we take two step backwards. We took several steps forward in 2000 but the NPP took us back again. Now in 2008 we have taken them out and expect to move forward but we cannot move forward.”
The former President said precious political time is being squandered and cautioned that the government had up till the end of the year to put in place investigative machinery in every district to identify all the atrocities that we committed in the Kufuor regime. “By the end of this year Ghanaians will be making up their minds about the performance of this administration,” he said.
Flt Lt Rawlings said he would have expected that those in leadership would lead the party machinery to revive and regain some integrity for the benefit of the government but unfortunately they employed the use of money to influence the outcome of party elections.
“It is shameful that we as a mass based party should use iron barricades and soldiers to prevent the mass of our people from being part of that Congress. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not good enough. I was looking forward to June 4 this year wondering if they will take a cue to do what is right. They rather organised people on radio for about 24 hours lambasting what June 4 stands for.
“It is the criminals, the murderers, the killers, the cocaine dealers who are not qualified to be where they are who should be afraid of June 4. They should appreciate that we are on such a decline that the energy of June 4 is something they should be happy to be associated with,” the leader of the June 4 Uprising stated.
Former President Rawlings said if the NDC continues to make the same mistakes then freedom and justice would continue to elude Ghana. “Men and women of mean spirit, little minds and petty house thieves parading as politicians and political business men will continue to misrule and violate the human values of this country. This is what we do not want.”
Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the former President said, deserved all the recognition he was receiving under the current government but he “would be happier if we had put in place bold policies and actions designed to empower our people and not feel intimidated by the same people who destroyed him.”
Flt Lt Rawlings said people now feel free to perpetuate violence and corruption because they are convinced the government does not have the moral high ground to prosecute people who perpetuate such atrocities. He sighted corruption at the Tema Harbour where the country is being milked by inspection companies who under-declare the value of goods to the tune of billions of cedis.
The former President also lamented the confidence of some persons in the Northern regions who have taken the law into their own hands causing the infliction of a 4pm to 6am curfew on Bawku, something is that detrimental to the survival of businesses.
Former President Rawlings said Ghanaians put up with the hardships of 1982 because 1979 had punished the wrongdoers.
“Ladies and gentlemen the beauty of justice is that it cleanses the soul of the nation. The people and the nation become very energised. When we do not have justice and people are beginning to suffer economic hardships they begin to hate and they find you intolerable,” he added.
The June 4 leader said Barrack Obama had managed to become President of the United States because of the quality of justice and freedom operating in that country.
“Obama did not drop out of the sky. His African ancestors were slaves, discriminated against for years. What is the man doing today as the President of the United States? Where did he come from? – A place where whites used to have so much racial discrimination. It is because of the quality of the justice system and freedom of the United States. A woman also nearly became the President but not too long ago women did not even have the right to vote. This is progress.
“Why can we not do the same? France, Britain, Russia did it. Why can we not do the same in Africa? We worked through the revolt of 1979 for 18 years of dedicated hard work. Why couldn’t the NPP under Kufuor come and continue from where we left off? If they wanted to make money they could have made it honestly.
Former President Rawlings said it was imperative that June 4 is not remembered only in spirit. “We have to actualise the quality of freedom and justice so that we will not undermine the quality of democracy in this country again. The machinery the NPP left behind is still intact. They are consolidating in some places with the intention of coming back.
“Some of his (President Mills) inactions are faulting and making it possible for the NPP to come back. Our people are getting disillusioned,” he said.