JJ Rawlings Foundation urges practice of probity and accountability on June 4 uprising anniversary

JJ Rawlings Foundation urges practice of probity and accountability on June 4 uprising anniversary

On the 45th anniversary of the June 4 Upraising, the JJ Foundation says probity, accountability and integrity should not be used in vain but practiced in all facets of the country's progress.

A statement issued by the Foundation to mark the day, copied to the , said the eruption of June 4, 1979 was a culmination of more than a decade of socio-economic and political difficulties in the country.

It said corrupt practices had overcome every aspect of Ghana's society, which invariably crippled the economy to the point where Ghana had become a laughingstock among West African countries.

“The once Shining Black Star of Africa was reduced to her knees, where her citizens were experiencing a shortage of basic essential goods, and thus, would queue for hours for something as basic as a loaf of bread.”

Ghana's moral fabric was not spared the degeneration, which was as a result the country's socio-economic decay.

It said on the international scale, major global financial bodies such as the and had written Ghana off as a failed state.

Touching on shortages and hoarding of essential commodities, the statement said amidst Ghana's economic hardships of the 1970s came the supply of ‘Essential Commodities,' which were made available to cushion the economic struggles and shortages of goods that Ghanaians were experiencing.

However, with a top-to-bottom culture of so engrained in Ghanaian society at the time, a corrupt practice of exploitation and racketeering was devised in the distribution of essential commodities.

“That was the hoarding of these essential commodities by suppliers in the local business sector, with the deliberate intent of creating further shortages so as to escalate prices further,” it said.

The escalation of prices of these goods was orchestrated by the hoarders in order to rake off offensive profits at the expense of ordinary Ghanaians who were already suffering the effects of a poor economy.”

“As often repeated by the leader of the revolution, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, as an illustration of the poor social and economic conditions of Ghana that led to the May 15, 1979 Mutiny, culminating in the eruption of June 4, 1979, he would cite: Paracetamol – a common painkiller – was wrapped in plastics and sold on tables under the scorching sun for people to purchase,” the statement said.

“The same happened to milk powder and other essential commodities. Hospitals did not have basic items such as bandages, or cotton wool, and one had to travel across the border to to purchase basic medical items.”

With regards to the drain of Ghana's skilled human capital, it said the dire economic circumstances of the period, with no hope in sight, led to thousands of Ghanaian professionals having no choice but to leave Ghana to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

, engineers, doctors, nurses, lecturers and experts in various fields had virtually left the country, making it impossible for the wheels of development to grind appropriately, with the drain on skilled human capital further crippling the society.
Concerning the May 15 Mutiny and the birth of the June 4 upraising, the Barracks, just like civil society, faced their own air of political tension amidst socio- economic difficulties.

The dignity of the Ghanaian soldier was at its lowest, where market women – major players in the engine of Ghana's black market known as ‘kalabule' – openly castigated members of the ordinary rank who dared question their extortionist prices.

The statement said the professional trust among and between officers, coupled with an honourable culture of meritocracy in the , had gradually eroded, giving way to nepotism, corruption and favouritism.

Those who could no longer sit and do nothing as Ghana slid further into socio- economic and political upheaval, the morning of May 15, 1979, formed a mutiny of junior ranks, led by a young Ghana Air Force Officer, Flt Lt JJ Rawlings, to demand a drastic change in governance.

It said the mutiny failed, with Flt Lt Rawlings and his compatriots arrested.
“However, a political miscalculation on the part of the erstwhile SMC II Government to hold a public military trial would have the opposite intended effect”.

It said the trial and proclamation by Jerry John Rawlings to “Leave My Men Alone”, and sacrifice him instead were the words, amidst an already charged political atmosphere, that sparked the eruption of June 4, where a group of soldiers – in support of the mutiny – broke into a Government establishment – to free Flt Lt Rawlings.

The eruption of June 4, 1979, was inspired by years of mass social and public discontent, where the masses, the public and university students, were baying for drastic solutions.

“As we commemorate the day, may (the) people of Ghana remember that a society requires discipline, dedication, commitment and a desire to eschew corrupt tendencies,” the statement said.

It said the sacrifices made on June 4, 1979, which eventually led to the birth of the Fourth Republic, “should propel us to lift the country from the difficulties we find ourselves today.”

“Probity, accountability and integrity should not be used in vain but practiced in all facets of our country's progress.”

“The statement said a special gratitude goes to all the living courageous men and women who had a part to play in the June 4, Revolution.”

“May the soul of Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and the souls of all the patriots who laid down their lives during those difficult times rest in eternal peace.”

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