The Real Story Behind The June 4 Revolution: Ghana

The June 4th Revolution or June 4th Uprising was an uprising in Ghana in 1979 that arose out of a combination of corruption, bad governance, frustration among the general public, and lack of discipline and frustrations within the Ghanaian army.

It was sparked when the then military government of the Supreme Military Council (SMC II) of General F K. Akuffo put then flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on public trial for attempting to overthrow the government on May 15, 1979.

This happened because Rawlings was a junior soldier in the Ghanaian Army who with other soldiers were refused their salaries.

Rawlings turned the trial against the government by accusing it of massive corruption and requesting that his fellow accused be set free as he was solely responsible for the mutiny.

He was incarcerated for sentencing. His diatribe resonated with the entire nation as there was massive suffering.

On the night of June 3, 1979, junior military officers including Major Boakye Djan broke into the jail where Rawlings was being held and freed him and ostensibly marched him to the national radio station to make an announcement.

The first time the public heard from Rawlings was a now legendary statement that he Rawlings had been released by the junior officers and that he was under their command.

He requested all soldiers to meet with them at the Nicholson Stadium in Burma Camp in Accra.

The entire nation went up in uproar. The soldiers rounded up senior military officers including three former heads of states, General F. K Akuffo, Ignatious Kutu Acheampong, and Afrifa for trial. They were subsequently executed by firing squad.

Rawlings was appointed the head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) by the revolting Junior military officers to run the country until the ongoing election was completed.

He handed over power to Dr. Hilla Limann in September 1979. But Rawlings again overthrew Limann on 31 December 1981.

Though June 4th became a noted date in Ghana’s history, it has been said to be a date that brings a lot of pain to people who either lost loved ones, lost businesses or had to flee the country.

Meanwhile, all is set for the virtual celebration of the 41st anniversary of the June 4 uprising today, Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Rawlings and leader of the uprising will deliver the keynote address for the event which will be under the theme, “Strengthening the Spirit of Patriotism, Resilience and Integrity in Difficult Times”.

Due to existing social distancing and ban on gatherings protocols instituted by government as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will not be open to the public.

According to the anniversary planning committee, other speakers at the E-durbar will include NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia as well as Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, Ambassador Dan Abodakpi, Maame Efua Sekyi-Addo and Sussie Efua Adoboe all leading members of the NDC.

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