Opinions Sat, 12 Jun 2010

June 4 Not Divine

June 4 Not Divine; Just One Man’s Desperate Desire to Deify Himself!

Former President Rawlings in his desperate attempt to justify the relevance of his June 4 putsch described it as “a justifiable divine intervention” at the Tamale Police Park on Friday, 04.06.10 in commemoration of that event. Rawlings opined at Tamale that “what happened in 1979 was the halting effect of what Jesus Christ did in the temple when people were gambling and selling in the church….”. I couldn’t help laughing to myself on reading that about events at Tamale. It is puzzling and amazing that anytime despotic cowards the world over want to draw parallel between their evil deeds and religion, they rather choose Christianity and biblical characters rather than any other religion (why would Rawlings not liken himself to the founder of Islam or any other religion?). No prizes for guessing answer; the simple reason being that Christians the world over wouldn’t call for his head for blaspheming against the Holy Christ! If the above were not case, how then could the former President equate what he and his cohorts did on June 4 to Christ’s peaceful chastising of traders in the temple?

What Did Jesus Christ Do In The Temple?

Though we read in the Bible that Christ did overturn tables that the profiteers were doing business on at the Temple, yet He did not kill any one on that day nor the days after! Even HIM as the CHRIST did not take life!! Neither did He benefit directly from chasing out those people who were engaged in nefarious business activities in His Father’s house. He neither took even a “shekel” and deposit in a certain “account number 48” that He could not account for nor did He authorise anyone’s death by stoning (capital punishment at the time). Christ did not end up after the above exercise with houses, donkeys, yachts, luxurious items etc. What he did was to clean the temple, a place of worship where the poor, the rich, the sick and the distressed could go and seek the face of God. Christ did not impose himself as king of the Jews after that exercise. From that time on, Christ preached about the kingdom of God, forgiveness and peace. He never made that event an occasion to celebrate annually. Being the Son of God and with the powers he commanded, Jesus never sought to use that occasion implicitly or explicitly, to deify himself. And in fact, never in Christian history has that day been covertly or overtly commemorated. For former President Rawlings to compare his adventure on June 4 to that of Christ is pharisaic, hypocritical and self-serving.

What Did JJ Rawlings and his Cohorts Do on June 4?

June 4 1979 coup by Rawlings, Boakye Djan, Baah Acheamfour and their cohorts placed Ghana in a crucible. It was chaotic, mutinous and even horrific. Innocent blood was shed. Women had their legs spread out exposing their private parts to public viewing (including school children). In other incidents this very delicate women’s anatomy was whipped! As a 5 year old school child in Kumasi then, the experience was so scary and unbearable I couldn’t even go out of the house. For the first time in our history, people were tied to the stakes and shot just like children would throw stones at lizards. People were killed for having more than one WCs in their houses. Ghanaians lost their jobs. People who have toiled to build industries employing some of our young and old compatriots lost their livelihoods. Others went into exile to escape the Armageddon that befell our country.

In truth, some of the ideals and principles of June 4 were laudable and admirable and so Ghanaians were ever prepared to overlook the excesses of AFRCs 3 months in power until it was hijacked by an opportunist desperado desperate to deify and glorify his very existence. Since the advent of the June 4, Ghanaians have known no peace. We have since been subjugated and cajoled to accept that the only good thing that ever happened to our country was former President Rawlings and June 4.

One Man’s Desperate Attempt at Deifying Himself

June 4, we were told, was meant to restore democracy, clean up the military and most importantly, get them back to the barracks. Dr Hilla Limann and his PNP won the elections that were overseen by the AFRC in 1979. With the goal of restoring democracy achieved, why did the same man come back again on 31 December 1981? It is said that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Rawlings craftily dispensed of friends who freed him from detention in 1979 and surrounded himself with bootlickers and shameless opportunists who kowtowed to his every whims and caprices. After just 2 years in power, Rawlings overthrew Dr Limann’s government and imposed himself on Ghanaians; this time with the excuse that the “gains of June 4 were being eroded”. The same Rawlings who murdered Afrifa, Akuffo and Acheampong for overthrowing previous governments also overthrew an elected government.

Rawlings seems to think that he is always right and everyone else is dishonest? In his mind, he is a god who determines who lives and who dies hence the shooting of Afrifa, Akuffo, and Acheampong and many others at stake. As if that was not enough, his big ego and fiendish ambition to hoist himself back onto our political terrain meant that he could not see eye to eye with his friends; not even those who risked their own lives to free him from detention during the 1979 coup (the likes of Boakye Djan, Baah Acheamfour and the rest). In Rawlings’ deluded wisdom, Ghanaians are morons who do not know what is good for them so when our fathers and mothers voted for Dr Limann, he truncated the Third Republic with his 31 December coup in 1981. He ruled the country by decrees for 11 years, cowardly indemnified himself in the 1992 Constitution, shed his military uniform (whilst still holding on to his position as head of state) and then stood for the presidency. Somehow, we managed tolerate his own intolerance and petulant behaviour until 2000 when Ghanaians voted for the NPP under Kuffour.

Just as he did to Dr Limann, for the 8 years of Kuffour’s presidency, Rawlings would not let Ghanaians know peace. From within and without the boundaries of Ghana, he heaped insults and un-statesman-like comments on Kuffour and the NPP government. So I dare ask again: How could one person amongst 24 million be right all the time and all the others wrong all the time? As a country, Ghanaians are entitled to take risks and make wrong choices. It is the only way that we can differentiate between good and bad governance. We have 4 years to change a government if we think things are not working the way we want it. We are sick and tired of Rawlings’ pontificating sermons. With Kuffour and the NPP out of power and Rawlings’ own NDC and anointed one at helm of affairs, I wonder what is still irking his restless soul. In fact President Mills has not had it easy at all over the past 18 months. Rawlings has used a lot of appellatives in reference to him among them: “Atta mortuary-man”, “Who Born Dog” and now “Konongo Kaya” on the heels of calling President Mills’ ministers “greedy bastards”. At Tamale on Friday, 4.6.10 former President Rawlings referred to a section of politicians in the country as “…criminals, the murderers, killers, cocaine dealers …” It’s obvious that Rawlings does not see any Ghanaian fit to rule this country other than himself and his wife. On President Mills’ performance, he had this to say: “Today when we take one step forward, we take two steps backward. We took several steps 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”. Readers would now understand me when I say that Former President Rawlings sees himself as the only one with divine right to rule the country. If it’s not him, it should be his wife and may be children. We don’t need him to tell us how ‘bad’ Dr Limann and Kuffour were; or how ‘bad’ President Mills is.

How Did Rawlings Pass Judgement on Past Heads of State and Presidents?

Rawlings condemned Afrifa, Acheampong and Akuffo and they were shot to death for overthrowing previous governments. He overthrew Dr Limann with the excuse that the latter was incompetent and was “eroding the gains of June 4”. The key for the car used to abduct the 3 Supreme Court judges who were murdered was picked from Nana Konadu’s kitchen. Did Rawlings not call Former President Kuffour “a thief”, “corrupt” and “a murderer”? As for President Mills, he is dazed and confused just like a certain akpeteshie-drinking “Atta Mortuary-man”. As if the above humiliating descriptive was not enough, Rawlings again likened President Mills on Friday, 04.06.10, to the proverbial “Konongo Kaya” who though not strong enough to carry the load yet would not leave it for others more endowed to get on with the job due to greed and avarice. We can’t have one person sitting in judgement of everyone else in Ghana. Rawlings has indeed become an albatross on the necks of Ghanaians. In his eyes, he is a god and he expects Ghanaians to worship him and his followers are equally intolerant and are prepared to kill (remember the attempts on Nana Adarkwa and High Priest?) for any criticism of their supreme deity.

Subtle attempt at creating a Dynasty

After bettering his financial, material and physical lot via June 4, 31 December and 1992 constitution, and having declared every Ghanaian corrupt, incompetent and not fit to rule the country, the grounds are now being prepared for his anointed wife to challenge President Mills hence likening the latter to the legendary “Konongo Kaya” of Ashanti folklore. If that plan succeeds, then we may have Ezenator and her siblings queuing up for their turn. Rawlings wants to deify his very existence and unfortunately he has sycophantic nincompoops to do his bidding. If Rawlings cares to know, the true “greedy bastards” are the ones singing his praise even when his behaviour has been un-statesman-like. If followers of all former coup makers in the country start celebrating their adventure, discerning minds could just imagine the chaos that will engulf the country. Rawlings can deify himself in his household and no one would begrudge him but certainly not on Ghanaians. It will not happen! As our Nigerian brothers and sisters would say; “Tofiakwa!” (Don’t forget to snap your finger as you say that and circle it over your head). Yes, it shall not see the light of the day. Ghana is a democracy, not a dynasty!!!

Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi