Story By: Ishmael Barfi
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has in a characteristic June 4 address called for an urgent review of the Fourth Republican constitution to remove entrenched clauses that protect high level political actors and embolden some of them to abuse their office and criminally profit from their positions.
Delivering the keynote address at a parade, wreath-laying and durbar to climax activities marking the 40th anniversary of the June 4 uprising at Nungua on Tuesday, the architect of the uprising said there are many constitutional clauses that do not serve our interest and called for an urgent establishment of a constituent assembly to review them.
“Over the years the indemnity clauses have emboldened certain characters to abuse their offices and profit themselves. The constitution of the Fourth Republic was created by us, for us and to serve us, and in light of the 25 years, there is an unqualified need to reform or rewrite our current constitution. An urgent constituent assembly ought to be established with the necessary powers to rewrite the constitution,”
Flt Lt Rawlings said problematic clauses such as the transitional provisions and the indemnity clauses need to be reviewed to ensure that everyone is equal before the law to encourage transparency, accountability and responsible governance.
At the heavily attended durbar, the Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and first President of the Fourth Republic said the key to Ghana’s development is a heightened self-discipline in all we do.
He said: “Our current sense of self-discipline is at its lowest ebb. Citizens do not feel responsible enough to keep their homes and communities clean. Many of us who lament about flooding during the rainy season are very guilty of the indiscretions that lead to the deadly floods.
We dump refuse indiscriminately and wonder why drains choke. Some actually see the rains as an opportunity to dump refuse, believing the rainwater will sweep them away.
If we continue this level of lawlessness, we are bound to face more serious flood disasters.
“Let us all do a thorough introspection and identify where we fall short because we all do fall short one way or the other,” Flt Lt Rawlings urged.
Recounting circumstances surrounding June 4 1979 and December 31, 1981, the former President said the explosion of June 4 could have taken place on May 15 of the same year had the charge in the atmosphere been ignited anywhere before midnight that day.
In like manner, Flt Lt Rawlings said, had those who climbed the seat of power three months later learnt the lessons of June 4, 31st December 1981 could have been avoided.
He said right after the PNP government came into office, those in authority proceeded to devalue the essence of the uprising by luring AFRC members out of the country, forgetting that most of the genuine, unrewarded and unrecognized leaders were still on the ground.
The intention of the authorities the former president disclosed, was to intimidate, harass, arrest and persecute some of them.
The motive of these actions was to re-terrorize our people back into subordination and submissiveness; in short, to re-govern the people with the fear factor.
“Instead of the then government taking up the challenge to lead a nation that was pumped up and ready to continue to rectify the rot, of the past, to defy any obstacle and to solidify the unity and purposefulness of our nation, the reverse is what occurred.
This heightened the fever for June 4th,” the leader of the 31st December Revolution stated.
Former President Rawlings said humanity has always been defined by its freedom and justice.
He said while humanity all over the world has faced revolts and revolutions resulting in public executions of the royal families in France and Russia for instance “some of us still have difficulties learning about the basic fundamentals of freedom, justice and democracy in governance.
The former President did not spare Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim who at a recent book launch said he had forgiven the former for the demolition of his hotel in 1999.
He said Alhaji Yusif was in no position to forgive anyone or anything stating that he would do it again and again and take along new gargantuan structures build on waterways.
God, Mr. Rawlings said had nothing to do with unlawful structures.
He described the allegation that he ordered the demolition because Alhaji Yusif was Sam Jonah’s friend as laughable. He said Jonah had a bigger appetite than “your little hotel”.
The founder of the NDC entreated all Ghanaians to remember the discipline that characterized June 4th and replicate that everywhere.
He said, “If we do not develop a national character for sustainable good governance, we would have failed this generation and especially generations yet to come. Is that the legacy we wish to bequeath the future?
Other speakers at the event where Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings and Edem Agbana.
Earlier the former President had reviewed the parade and helped to light the perpetual flame in memory of the fallen heroes.