Young military officers and other ranks took up arms on June 4, 1979 and rescued Flight-Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and other soldiers who were being tried for mutiny on May 15 in the same year.
The mutineers overthrew the military regime of the Supreme Military Council (SMC II) under the chairmanship of Lieutenant-General F.W.K Akuffo and established the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).
The AFRC ruled the country for three months and handed over to the Peoples' National Party of President Hilla Limann. Flt. Lt Rawlings later overthrew the Limann government in 1981 and established the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).
After ruling as a military dictator for 11 years, Flt. Lt. Rawlings metamorphosed into a constitutional President in 1992 and ruled for eight years. During the rule of Flt. Lt Rawlings, June 4 was observed as a public holiday with the assent of the Supreme Court until Friday, 1 June 2001, when Kuffour and his NPP passed the Public Holidays (Amendment) Law, which abolishes the celebration of June 4 as a public holiday. The passing of the bill follows days of intensive debate on the bill, which generated a lot of controversy between the majority and the minority.
The Bill was laid before parliament under a state of urgency on May 29 by the Interior Minister, ALHAJI MALIK AL-HASSAN YAKUBU, who said June 4 should belong to history because that its observance as a holiday contradicts "the principles of a democratic and constitutional order". He said the June 4 event was a military mutiny and a military take over, which the country does not want to witness in its political life.
MR. JOHN AKOLOGU TIA, the then Deputy Minority Whip, said the June 4 uprising was not a coup d'etat and that for once "it introduced probity and accountability into the Ghanaian body politic". When the bill was mentioned in Parliament on Thursday, May 31.
KEN DZIRASAH , the then MP for South Tongu and the second deputy speaker of parliament said the bill should not be passed under the state of urgency arguing that once the bill was published in the gazette on May 18 it should be allowed to become matured for debate after 14 days and no longer be considered as urgent. Quoting Articles 108 and 106 of the Constitution, Mr. Dzirasah said if the bill had not been published earlier, it could be acceptable for the House to deal with it as urgent.
But since the Agenda by the NPP was to prevent the the celebration of June 4 that year and 14 days would have been too late, The Majority NPP therefore mobilized themselves in order to secure the majority votes and subsequently repeal the law.
Kuffour should have been more circumspect since he and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been vehemently against coups as they persistently criticized former president JERRY RAWLINGS for coming to power in a coup and successfully obtained a Supreme Court injunction that stopped the celebration of Rawlings' second coup on 31 December 1981 as a holiday as well .
June 4th and December 31 celebration has been outlawed by Kuffour because they call it celebration of Coup but was it not this same KUFFOUR that led a Ghanaian delegation and contingent of the Ghana Armed forces to Togo on Friday, 13 January 2001 to help Eyadema celebrate his 34th anniversary of the coup that brought Togo's president Gnassingbe Eyadema to power?
The 13th of January signifies nothing else in Togo than the day on which president Sylvanus Olympio was brutally murdered in 1963 and there has always been controversy over the celebration of this day. Kufuor subvert Rawlings June 4 and December 31 but sees nothing wrong with 13 January Celebration of Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo. It would have been remarkable display of maturity and statesmanship if he had not backed eyadema.
Olympio's son, Gilchrist, who lives in exile in Ghana, fled to France due to insecurity.
For many Ghanaians who have always wondered why President Kufuor felt compelled to jet into Togo to celebrate the 34th coup anniversary of Eyadema's bloody military take over, exactly six days after being sworn into office in 2001.
The announcement by Jerry John Rawlings to celebrate june 4 th has triggered a negative reaction from the NPP which I least expected from them because they were dump when Kuffour celebrated similar event with Eyadema.
Eyadema, the Africa's longest serving president, has been criticised for his refusal to democratise his country which was under sanctions from the European Union over the issues, Kufour’s close relationship with the late brutal dictator of Togo was a contradiction of his stance as someone who adores and holds high, the principles of democracy. The first contradiction of his stance even occurred when it happened that his first trip outside the country after he assumed power in January 2001 was to Togo.
Why is NPP concerned about only Ghana Coup but celebrated with Eyadema ?
Do they have something in common ?
Is there something we need to know ?
I would advice the NPP to concentrate on mending the breakages in their party and leave June 4 th out of their Agenda.
“Hmm! A word to a wise is in the North”
By Chester Sena Ati
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