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By Kwabena Boadu Anafo

Today marks the 44 years when Ghana experienced a historic political turning point on June 4 1979. And has always been the case, the nation marking the occasion with fond memories of Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.

It is significant, even symbolic to see Rawlings’ daughter, Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings leading the celebration, and flanked by former President John Dramani Mahama, flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress, the political Party Rawlings founded, and its Chairman, General Asiedu Nketia, members of the NDC joined by the mass of Ghanaian people to commemorate the occasion with a national touch as it has always been.

June 4 celebration has always been a solemn and of course sacred day to Ghana and Africa, because on that fateful day, Ghana and Africa witnessed what would become a military putsch led by Jerry John Rawlings and Major Boakye Djan that overthrew a corrupt and oppressive military administration headed by Generals, which had become a trend that had seen military generals of a corrupt pedigree and reactionary civilians in power throughout the continent.

In Ghana on June 4 1979, the military uprising turned bloody following the Generals command to resist being hounded from power.

The action was by a handful of junior ranks and officers, who galvanized the rank and file of the Ghana Armed Forces led by Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings of the Airforce. It was undoubtedly a popular uprising which had the support of the masses, beginning in Accra, and quickly spread across the whole nation.

Though, the spontaneity of support for the violent action was phenomenal, it exerted enough energy to gather the whole nation from the grassroots through to the working class and even the middle class, and shook the foundation of the status quo.

Ghanaians fearlessly shattered the shackles that kept them in political bondage. This gave Ghanaians a second freedom, this time from internal oppressors, after that of her independence in 1957, from external oppressors of the British colonialists.

JJ Rawlings, by the leading June 4th action had within the twinkle of an eye become the symbol of freedom, a saviour of the nation from the claws of insatiable greed and corrupt leadership, which earned him the accolade Junior Jesus from his initials of the double J.

J J, as Rawlings was affectionately called, exuded a rare form of charisma from his May 15 1979 attempt that failed. However, June 4 action succeeded, and many wondering if his daughter, Hon Dr Zanetor can be an ideal successor of her father to keep the Rawlings factor and political flame glowing, and keep what he stood for in the minds of the masses.

If one were to find why the event is still popular after 44 years and would continue to be the same for generations to come, it is because, the action was what gave impetus to the establishment of a solid democratic dispensation, which is currently being enjoyed by the nation. It also became a great example in Africa, of an action that showed the way to unleash a revolutionary change to surmount corrupt, inept and oppressive regimes on the continent, as others took a cue to turn the tables in Burkina Faso, which birthed Thomas Sankara, and years later in other states in Africa

It would be recalled how the military have sparked overthrows of corrupt governance in Africa and being hailed by its people in recent times – they all depict signs of the peoples’ support for courageous acts that removed criminal governance and purified the nation. It is a necessary evil.

As mostly held by historians and political analysts, the event of the June 4th revolution remains intertwined with March 6th independence day, when Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah struggled to get Gold Coast from the clutches of destructive and wickedness of the British colonizers, as Rawlings by his June 4 revolution extricated Ghanaians from the murderous administration and corruption presided over by inept and wicked leadership in the country.
Both Ghana’s independence day and June 4 did away with oppressive governance and significantly gave hope to the citizenry. That feeling runs deep in Ghanaians till this day.

Let us as a people strive for a better future for this nation to make both our independence day and June 4 revolution of generational benefit for all by looking beyond just celebrating, but live the ideals of the events.

The hope March 6 1957 and June 4 1979 have given the nation are testimonies of our unity and strength to take control of our own destinies.

The historic events of our courage of resistance to oppressors’ rule must continue to be symbols of dedication of our struggle for true emancipation of our people and country.

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