According to Prof. Oquaye, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency, former President Rawlings’ action during the revolutionary days of June 4th and 1981 led to the overthrow of the then President Hilla Limann, a situation, he said, if not checked, could be repeated during President Mills’ era.
“June 4th is used as a destabilising movement today. It is a destabilising movement, because what former President Rawlings is doing now, he has done it before. His actions systematically undermined the Limann government, and led to its eventual fall in 19982. They did not want the government to succeed, hence the continuous incitement of the youth to rebel against the sitting president. If Rawlings gets the chance, he will stage a coup again, but I am telling you, he will never succeed, because Ghanaians will rise up against him,” he noted in an interview with The Chronicle in Accra yesterday. Prof. Oquaye, however, advised President Mills, and all lovers of democracy, not to condone the ideals of Mr. Rawlings in celebrating June 4th in public, since it had the penchant to overthrow governments illegally.
“I don’t want our President to be removed unconstitutionally. Though I want the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to come to power, I will never undermine and betray the Mills’ government illegally. President Mills’ government is the will of the people of this country, and we must respect that as such. The business of government is not the business of one person, it is the business of the Republic. Therefore, we must stand up against what Rawlings is doing,” an emotionally charged Prof. Oquaye noted. Prof. Oquaye expressed worry over the recent outburst of insults by Mr. Rawlings on President Mills in public, and warned, “such actions must be stopped.” “I am not happy about the former president always damning President Mills in public. A lot of the agitations started when he started insulting the President, and started inciting the young ones to rebel against him (President Mills). Whilst the President was governing, Rawlings was going round the country and gathering crowds to incite them on him. He did that to Limann, and can repeat same to Mills. He will undermine the government aaaaaah, till it falls, in order to get nothing, but power. Why does he have to do that?” Prof. Oquaye queried. According to Prof. Oquaye, the actions of Mr. Rawlings point to the fact that he is someone who will “apply democracy and destroy democracy.” He described the celebration of June 4th as improper, since according to him, the celebrant was someone who was given an indemnity from all the atrocities committed during the revolution days, in order not to inflame passions. “June 4th was a very unfortunate and traumatic event, if I should say. A lot of people suffered. Later, the very Rawlings and his men asked for indemnity for all their activities during June 4th and 31st December. The indemnity provision constitutes one of the big issues of controversy in the country, because some people feel that he should not get away with it. Nevertheless, we all gave them the indemnity, in order to let sleeping dogs lie,” Prof. Oquaye stated.
Rawlings’ Indemnity He added, “We gave indemnity to Rawlings so that we forget, forgive, and we go on with the future and think of the safety of our women when they are going to give birth; the health of our mothers; how to make the best of our oil revenue; how to feed our children when they go to school. Not always ‘yie yie’. Not that it was good, because if it was good, then we don’t need any forgiveness. If someone charges you for court, you go and justify yourself there. Because they, themselves, know they cannot justify themselves there, they know they have done some wrong, that is why they asked for indemnity.” The former High Commissioner to India, however, was astonished that in spite of the indemnity given to Mr. Rawlings, he has turned around to celebrate June 4th, an event, which according to him, led to the fall of the Third Republic. “Ghana graciously gave you the indemnity so that sleeping dogs will lie, and now you’ve turned round to celebrate it with pomp and majesty in public, to the annoyance and chagrin of other members of society who feel the pains of the event. Is it fair, is it justice, does it bring reconciliation, does it bring peace in the country? Prof. Oquaye queried.
Speaking with passion, Prof. Oquaye wondered what the situation would be, if one day the “sons of the Fellis, Afrifas, Odartey Wellingtons, the sons of one major who was coming from the mountains and who was taken to BNI and got lost, ‘besi nne’, no one has seen him, as well as Mr. Asiedu and Mr. Siaw, stand up and demonstrate against June 4th celebrations,” and however warned Mr. Rawlings about celebrating the event. “I want to advise and warn Rawlings that he hasn’t got the monopoly of boldness, of TAKASHIEISM, if he will not ever, ever, learn, then he better stop. Because, someday, the Odartey Wellington’s and other children are also going to get up and confront them, and there will be bloodshed that he likes in this country, but we don’t like.” He also recommended to the Constitutional Review Committee, and Parliament of Ghana, as well as opinion leaders, to ensure that coup makers were not giving the right to celebrate that particular event in public, after having been granted indemnity, since it would be offensive to some people. “Whether it is 24th February, Acheampong coup, or Rawlings coup, nobody in a constitutional order should be allowed to celebrate a coup in public. It should be abolished,” he noted.
Central Region NDC
Meanwhile, the Central regional branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has issued a press statement saluting Mr. Rawlings over the June 4th celebration, which is being held in Tamale today. The following is the full press statement issued by the party.
On behalf of the chairman of the 19 constituencies of the NDC in the Central Region, I extend greetings to all on the occasion of the 31st Anniversary of June 4. We are happy to join in spirit, if not in flesh, the activities to mark the anniversary. We salute our Founder, FLt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, for remaining steadfast to the guiding principles of June 4. Similarly, we salute President Atta Mills for clearly demonstrating his commitment to the ideals of probity and accountability. Our hearts are gladdened by the interview his Excellency President Mills granted on the June 4 Uprising published in the Graphic yesterday, June 2nd 2010. President Mills, by that interview, has put to rest any claim that he does not associate with June 4, whose commemoration is enriched in the NDC Party Constitution. We believe what His Excellency has said about June 4 is in the right direction, and should be used to forge a sense of unity in the NDC, as the June 4 day is observed.
With such matured leadership by his Excellency President Mills, we, the Committee of Constituency Chairman of the NDC in the Central Region, pledge our total commitment to endorse the second term bid for his Excellency President Mills to continue the ‘Better Ghana’ agenda. We urge President Mills not to relent in his determination to lead the NDC government with an open mind, and a clear sense of purpose. We use this occasion to urge President Mills not to hesitate to reflect and reconsider government policies such as the recent increases in tariffs of water and electricity to make life easier for Ghanaians. In this direction, government should ensure strict implementation of the decision to exclude low income consumers from the electricity and water tariff increases. We wish all NDC members, cadres of the party, and indeed, all Ghanaians, a memorable anniversary.