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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Egyptian politicians caught in on-air Ethiopia dam gaffe

An Egyptian woman rows a boat with her family along the Nile River, in CairoThe Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the Nile

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Egyptian politicians are embarrassed after being caught suggesting hostile acts against Ethiopia to stop it from building a dam across the Blue Nile.
They were inadvertently heard on live TV proposing military action at a meeting called by President Mohammed Morsi.
Ethiopia last week started diverting the flow of the river in preparation for the $4.2bn hydroelectric dam.
The Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the Nile.
On completion, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam would be Africa's largest.
It is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts, and its reservoir is scheduled to start filling next year.
As the participants did not know that the meeting was being aired live by state TV, they spoke their minds unreservedly.
Their suggestions centred around military action as a decisive response to what one of them called a "declaration of war".
One of the politicians suggested sending special forces to destroy the dam; another thought of jet fighters to scare the Ethiopians; and a third called for Egypt to support rebel groups fighting the government in Addis Ababa.
"This could yield results in the diplomatic arena,'' liberal politician and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour told the gathering.
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, the leader of the secular Reform and Development party, said the presidency should have warned the participants in advance that the meeting would be broadcast live.
"I am afraid most of the politicians who attended the meeting were not well informed about such a sensitive topic," he told the BBC.
"But the statements made during the meeting do not represent the Egyptian official stance. It was just a chat between politicians who were angered by the Ethiopian plans."
A presidential adviser apologised for failing to warn politicians.
"I am sorry for any unintentional embarrassment," Bakinam al-Sharqawi said in a statement.
Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East and highly dependent on the water of the world's longest river.
Ethiopia's decision to construct the dam challenges a colonial-era agreement that had given Egypt and Sudan rights to the Nile water, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic metres and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic metres.
That agreement, first signed in 1929, took no account of the eight other nations along the 6,700km (4,160-mile) river and its basin.
Those countries have been agitating for a decade for a more equitable accord.

Rawlings Should Shut Up - Ben Ephson

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Pollster Ben Ephson has accused former President Jerry Rawlings of killing people senselessly in the June 4, 1979 military uprising and has therefore asked the former Military Leader to “spare some of us and keep quiet”.

The Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch Newspaper, who was speaking about the 34th anniversary of the uprising told XYZ Breakfast Show Host Moro Awudu on Tuesday that Mr. Rawlings was so power-drunk to the extent that he could not wait to have staged another coup in December 31, 1981 no sooner had the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council handed over the reins of government to a civilian leadership.

He accused Mr. Rawlings of plotting a comeback the very day Dr. Hilla Limann’s PNP Government was sworn into office after the AFRC’s three-month’s reign of terror.

“Many people don’t know that Rawlings said he came to clean the system, [but] has he forgotten that when he came on June 4, the Supreme Military Council, SMC II had already agreed to [hold] elections in September? So what did he do? [He just] killed people for nothing?” Mr. Ephson fumed.

“After a year and a half, he had liked power so much [that]…he came again on 31st December. I’ve done this job for 39 years; …Rawlings should spare some us; he should keep quiet; if he wants to open the eyelid of a dead person, he will see the ghost. If he wants us to remind him, we’ll remind him”, Mr. Ephson threatened.

Mr. Rawlings was Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) which governed from June 4, 1979 to September 24, 1979 after the Council forcefully took power in a bloody coup against another Military regime, Supreme Military Council.

June 4 came on the heels of a prior abortive coup on May 15, 1979 when Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings and other ranks were arrested.

The AFRC executed three former Military Leaders of Ghana as part of what the regime described as its “house cleaning” exercise.

Those executed were Lt. Gen Afrifa, Gen. I. K. Acheampong and Lt. Gen. Akuffo.

They were killed alongside five other Senior Officers.

Late Dr. Hilla Limann was later elected President on the ticket of the People’s National Party in subsequent elections allowed by the AFRC thus heralding Ghana into the Third Republic after 100 days of the AFRC’s bloody and iron-fisted rule.

When Mr. Rawlings addressed party Cadres on the eve of the June 4 anniversary, he accused his Successors John Kufuor and Late John Mills of plunging the country into an abyss and expressed hope that President John Mahama will reverse the damage.

Mr. Ephson however found Mr. Rawlings’ assertion in that regard puzzling.

He said Mr. Rawlings should take the blame for any retrogression of Ghana’s fortunes, if any.

As far as Mr. Rawlings’ allegation about indiscriminate land grabs by top government officials is concerned, Mr. Ephson said: “Kanda GNTC, that building is for the 31st December Movement; the Cantonments, where there was a problem, it’s for 31st December, there are others. Has he talked to his wife that the land grabbing for the 31st December is too much? He should remove the speck from his eyes”.
Source: XYZ news

Dr. Afari Gyan Has Brought Embarrassment Upon His Dignity For Not Knowing Over-Voting - Charles Owusu

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A member of the communication team of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Charles Owusu in his submission on Okay FM has said that the Chief Returning Officer’s inability to define over-voting when it is clear on the pink sheet has undermined his integrity and dignity as an electoral commissioner who has many years of experience in elections, not only in Ghana but other African countries.

According to him, the EC wanted to sneak in some documents to tender in as evidence after they (the EC) have reset the biometric machine to get the figures they were looking for; but thanks to the judges, the PPP communicator said that the court did well to deny the new evidence because it acceptance would have rubbished the petitioners evidence.

With the evidence in place which is so glaring for Ghanaians to see, he said that nothing can change the true verdict of the case because he believes so much in the judges as their judgement will be based on the evidence before them.

He added that Dr. Afari Gyan should relate his evidence to the pink sheet of the petitioners and not his experience over the years which Ghanaians are aware of; stressing that he should be able to deflate the claims of the petitioners as to whether their case is legitimate or not.

He however reminded that during the IPAC meeting the only consultation with the Commissioner will be when there is failure of the biometric machines including the backups; adding that the option was to conduct the election the following day.

“Clearly he has embarrassed himself in court about his profession despite his experience in elections and also being a consultant in many countries,” he chided.

He therefore pleaded with Dr. Afari Gyan to save the image he has carved for himself over years in elections; adding that he should retire with dignity so that an institution can be built in honor of him for championing the course of democracy in the country just as it has been done for Kofi Annan.

He urged the members of Dr. Afari Gyan’s family to advise him save the success he achieved in the past because he might lose his dignity following the trend of the court case; in that he is exposing his lies in his witness in chief which will not auger well for his integrity and dignity.

Source: Daniel Adu Darko/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

I’m Not A Millionaire – Rawlings

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Former President Jerry John Rawlings was once again in his elements yesterday when he preached the gospel of probity, accountability and social justice on the eve of the celebration of the infamous June 4th revolution, claiming that he was not a millionaire.

He threw tantrums on virtually everybody, especially his predecessors.

He blamed the current and past governments, especially the Kufuor-led NPP and Mills-led NDC administrations for supposedly moving the country towards what he described as “an irreversible situation down a tunnel.”

This was in the presence of members of the current Mahama-led NDC administration including the likes of Volta Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Deputy Minister of Women, Gender and Social Protection, Benita Okiti Dua, Deputy Minister in charge of Fisheries, Aquinas Quansah and Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the NDC, Kobina Ade Coker, all of whom sat in awe.

Mr Rawlings, who was addressing cadres of the revolution at his Ridge office, interestingly, had to dispel a publication which put him as one of the eight richest millionaires in Ghana worth $50million.

He led the June 4th revolution, one of the bloodiest uprisings in the country’s history some 34years ago, climaxing the celebration today at the Revolutionary Square.

“My fellow countrymen, my value as a man of principle and integrity is incalculable. The difference is that in my situation, I have never exchanged or sold my conscience or sold my country, my principles, my integrity for money, or destroyed honourable people for money”, he said.

The former President, therefore, asked rhetorically “why then will such a false statement about me being a multimillionaire be made?”

While he claimed “the statement may be true for most of the others” seeking to extricate himself from the millionaires club allegedly compiled by the Forbes magazine, the apostle of June 4th revolution asked “why add a false statement about Rawlings to that list?”


Though he admitted to the fact that “there are genuine and hardworking multimillionaires all over the world”, The Junior Jesus, as he used to be called in the revolutionary days, said “there are also too many criminal multimillionaires who are raping our continent, and Ghana is no exception.”

In order to sanitise the concept of being a multimillionaire, Mr Rawlings said “distinguished persons whose values are unrelated to money, must be made to also look like multimillionaires in order to make the concept acceptable to people in general” insisting that “being a millionaire, even if ill-acquired, must be made to look criminal so that such people cannot enjoy their loot in safety.”

He spoke of June 4th as a revolution to “restore the dignity of the ordinary man and woman and punishing those who openly paraded corruption, those who dispensed favours irregularly and promoted what we used to call ‘bottom power’ in the award of contracts; those who sought to normalise a corrupt way of life in the minds of ordinary people.”

For more than a decade, Mr Rawlings said “Ghana appears to have been moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, thanks to Presidents Mills and Kufuor/John II and John III.”

According to him, the onus now laid on President Mahama to pull the country out of this supposed tunnel.

As to “how well, how far and how soon John IV” can achieve this, the former President said “is hard to say.”

Today being 34years after the infamous June 4th revolution, he has asked every man, woman and child in this country to spend a few minutes reflecting on the path the country has travelled since June 4th 1979.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/D-Guide

Martin Amidu Lights Flame With Rawlings

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Former Attorney General, Martin Amidu on Tuesday joined founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Jerry John Rawlings and other cadres of the party to light the perpetual flame to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the June 4 revolution.

Mr. Amidu who has written a series of letters criticizing the last NDC government has not been in the news for some time. The ceremony which was held in front of the Flagstaff house was attended by other cadres including NDC Vice Chairman, Alhaji Huudu Yahya and some Ministers of state.

Speaking to Citi News, Alhaji Huudu Yahaya said the call by the founder of the party to join him light the perpetual flame came as a surprise.

“I am just a student of revolution, I am just a nationalist who will throw in anything no matter how much to contribute to the country to go on the right path and towards its destination; for I have been called to come and perform a duty, it's just part of a national and party duty which I have executed.”

The June 4th Revolution which was led by former president Rawlings in 1979 was reportedly sparked by corruption, bad governance, lack of discipline in the army and frustrations among the general public.

Mr. Rawlings who was a junior officer in the army was was then on for his first coup attempt in May 15, 1979.
Source: citifmonline.com

‘Poisonous’ Divisions In NDC - As Ahwoi's Battle Mahama For Control

Ato Ahwoi and Kwamena Ahwoi
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The cracks in the ruling National Democratic Congress continue to be deepened with each passing day, following the spirited fight for control of the soul of the party.

The fight has pitched many factions against the so-called Gonja Mafia or Octopus that is dedicated to advancing the cause of President John Dramani Mahama.

The fight is getting more fierce between the Fante Confederacy, led by the once very powerful Ahwoi brothers, and the Gonja Mafia.

The Ahwois, who exercised the greatest amount of power and control in the NDC under the presidency of the late President John Evans Mills, have now been relegated to the background in the scheme of affairs of the current administration under President Mahama.

They are desperately seeking to take back the party, by sponsoring the boss of the National Disaster Management Organisation, Kofi Portuphy, to contest the chairmanship of the party. The NADMO boss has confirmed his plans to contest the chairmanship race of the party.

Members of the Fante Confederacy believe that with Mr Portuphy as the chairman of the party, they could return to exercise the kind of control they used to have in the scheme of affairs of the party.

The New Statesman can also disclose that some ministers of state are also forming factions to counter what they see us as the “spreading tentacles” of the Gonja Octopus.

Information available to the paper indicates that members of the Gonja Octopus are trying to run their ministries for them, by determining what the priority contracts are and who should be awarded such contracts.

Another faction is made up of the large and influential group of former ministers in the Mills administration who did not find favour with the Mahama administration. They are in this faction with some disappointed NDC Members of Parliament.

According to sources in the NDC, many members of this faction have vowed not to campaign for the party in the event of a re-run of the 2012 presidential election, which they anticipate would be necessitated by the verdict that would be given by the Supreme Court hearing the election petition brought before it by three leading members of the NPP.

Our information indicates that the NDC is frantically preparing for a runoff, with some MPs from the North ‘secretly’ engaged in campaign in their constituencies.

Another major cause of the friction that is said to be undermining the authority of President John Dramani Mahama is his indecisiveness. He is now secretly called ‘His Excellency Promise And Fail.’
Source: thestatesman

Election Petitions – Admonitions Not Enough

By Kwame Osei-Prempeh (former MP)
Dr. Afari GyanGhanaians are justifiably anxious of the aftermath of the verdict of the election petition currently pending before the Supreme Court. Having gone through the 2012 election peacefully despite the closeness of the election and the fact that he major opposition party, the New Patriotic Party had very serious reservations about the election, we have every reason to be thankful to God that the peace of the country was not breached in anyway. Frankly speaking, we must be grateful to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for choosing the courts instead of the streets.
This singular step assuaged the anger of the supporters not only of the NPP but of other minor parties like the PPP.
The court option opens a new chapter in the political development of the continent. After independence the mode of getting power was through military coup d’états. This is mainly explained by the fact that the first generation leaders after independence unfortunately adopted systems which made peaceful change of power through the ballot box impossible. Most of the military men who seized power also turned dictators and sought to perpetuate themselves in power. The result was the many civil wars and violence that the continent witnessed. Talk of the Presidents Doe of Liberia and Museveni of Uganda and others.
At the turn of the century, following the new wind of change across the world African States adopted elections as a means of changing governments. Whilst this is plausible it also came with its problem of rigging. This in the past resulted in wars, leading to loss of lives. The Kenyan experience being the most devastating as a result of which the current president and his vice have been indicted by the International criminal court and the Ivory Coast upheaval are still fresh in our minds.
All the above have been part of our development as a continent and as a nation. Gradually we seem to be putting the bad past behind us with the new urge to resort to the courts to settle electoral disputes. It has happened in Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya, and there is the one currently pending before the Supreme Court challenging the results of the 2012 presidential election. What this means is that the Judiciary has assumed the role of consolidating our democracy. However, the same way the first generation leaders, the military dictators who followed them, the so called democrats whose election riggings led to civil wars and loss of lives and property had negative effects on our lives, if the judiciary do not make a conscious effort to build confidence in the rule of law, the impact of the judiciary would also be negative.
The judiciary is perhaps the last hope to save this continent and its people from political upheavals, civil wars and instability.
If confidence is built in the judiciary and aggrieved people believe they would get justice they would always go to the court if they feel cheated after elections and those with the propensity to rig will find it very disincentive to rig. If however the situation becomes as espoused by Bernard Mornah that after election if you feel cheated and go to court, the result will always be the same, the victor will have his victory irrespective of the means through which the victory was procured, the continent risks slipping back to the era of civil wars and political upheavals. The judiciary should be able to look at each and every case within its own merit so that the victors and the vanquished will feel they have got justice. It has to prove that the name of the game is not vigilance as Dr. Afari Gyan says and that if your opponent can outsmart you he can steal. It is in the light of the above that I find the numerous appeals to President John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo to accept the verdict as incomplete. I know the judiciary is independent and do not take directions from anybody. I believe the men and women on the judiciary are capable of deciding the matter before them.
Nonetheless, I believe all the personalities admonishing the leaders to accept the verdict would not be breaching the constitution if they tell the NINE JUSTICES of the Supreme Court that the current and future stability of the country is in their hands and they should rise above partisan, ethnic or any other interest and determine this case based only on the facts and figures before them.
I believe the Supreme Court is capable of delivering a verdict in which both the vanquished and the victor would believe they have got justice there will be the peace that we all want for this country. T S Elliot, the celebrated poet warns ‘’discontent boils bloody’’. When people feel discontented to a certain level, it becomes difficult to control their reactions and it is therefore important to eliminate issues that result in anger and dissatisfaction. Through the ‘magnanimity’’ of the Chief Justice, the proceedings of the Supreme Court are being viewed worldwide. The advantage is that whatever is being done and said in the court is being watched by everybody.
Every move of the justices would be subject to interpretations by the public and therefore the Lords need our prayers not only to be fair in the final judgment but to exhibit fairness in the hearing of the case in order not to send signals which will undermine the integrity of their final judgment. It does not take any legal training for any person to see bias if it is being exhibited. If you have patience for one counsel but not for the other everyone sees it.
While commending the eminent citizens – chiefs, politicians, the clergy and all the well meaning individuals for expressing their views on the need for President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo to accept the verdict of the court, they should extend the admonition to the justices of the Supreme Court. The acceptability of the verdict will be easier if the parties see them as being fair in the hearing of the matter and see their verdict as fair. Yes President Mahama and Nana Addo Akufo-Addo may accept the results but if the rank and file feel peeved that the court was biased and that their judgment is not fair, it may be difficult for the leaders to urge acceptability on their people and that is where the danger lies. Nana Akufo-Addo passed the test after the election when he chose the courts to seek redress instead of the streets. The onus now lies on the court to justify the confidence reposed in it. Yes, I know the court is independent but nobody would be breaching the independence of the court by admonishing the justices. Ghana needs peace but the foundation for the peace is justice.
My humble appeal to all the eminent persons and institutions genuinely admonishing the parties to accept the verdict is to take a necessary gargantuan step and tell the justices that the peace of this country is in their hands and they dare not put this country into any precarious situation.
The good book, the Bible says ‘’condemning the innocent and acquitting the guilty the Lord detests both’’ Proverbs 17:15. Let the pastors drum this home to the Lords of the Supreme Court.
Again Proverbs 17:14 says ‘’the beginning of strife is like releasing water, therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.’’ Let justice help to nib in the bud what can harm the nation. My final appeal is to the churches, the pastors, Women Aglow and all those who pray to organise prayer sessions and fasting for the judges for God to give them the wisdom and boldness of Daniel in giving the judgment.
(The Author is a former Member of Parliament)

Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics (1)

By I. K. Gyasi
“They (professional serial callers) are foisting on the nation a new culture – a culture of                                                           insult and abuse in the name of free speech and accountability,”  -  Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene (May 17, 2013).
The advisers of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, could be forgiven for cautioning him against accepting an invitation by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to speak to mark the NCCE’s annual observance of Constitution Week in Accra.
What was one of the concerns of the advisers? Stated Otumfuo in his speech that, “The country is in such a dangerous political minefield that one risks getting blown apart by the incendiary force of combined misinformation, misrepresentation and misconception.”
Indeed, to me, it constituted a great act of courage for the Asantehene to agree to speak. It is true that since the days of Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and the rest of the so-called ‘opposition parties’, we have always had a recourse to insults in our political life.
It is equally true that since the return to constitutional rule, dating from the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, our partisan political atmosphere has been poisoned by new severe forms of abuse, humiliation and defamation of character, not experienced before.
Ex-President J. J. Rawlings has identified a group of ‘babies’ with hard and sharp teeth, ready and willing to tear away the reputation and character of anyone who dares open his mouth to express an opinion, even remotely critical of the position taken by that group.
It must be noted that these babies with hard and sharp teeth are to be found, not only in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), but also in the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
These babies with hard and sharp teeth come in different disguises; serial callers whose mobile phone credits are reportedly paid for by the gurus of the NPP and the NDC; radio and television panelists; writers who post their articles in the newspapers and the internet, and those who use what has come to be known as ‘social media’, etc.
Religious leaders, both Christian and Muslims, chiefs, members of the judiciary, leaders of certain society groups such as think-tanks, and, of course, political opponents, have all been subjected to scurrilous and shameless abuse. Innocent people’s reputations have been shredded.
Decent people dare not express an opinion on national issues of great importance. If they speak, they are accused of taking political positions. If they choose refuge in silence, they are equally attacked for keeping quite.
They ask: Why does the Christian Council not speak? Why is the Catholic Secretariat looking on? Where is the Peace Council? Is the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) not aware of the injustice? Why are Muslim leaders not saying anything? Would all these bodies have kept quiet if the NDC (or NPP) had been in power?
It is all so unfair. It is like two persons fighting and accusing a by-stander of not coming to stop the fight. We do not need much imagination to know what could happen to our highly respected Kofi Annan if he were to criticise the NDC or the NPP in power over an issue.
So, he regrettably, but wisely keeps quiet, when he could make us benefit from his wisdom and experience.
We seem to have taken the assassination of our leaders several notches higher. When I bought a copy of the DAILY GUIDE of Tuesday, May 28, 2013, I was horror-struck by two pictures – one depicting what looked like President John Mahama allegedly having sexual intercourse with a woman, the other depicting what looked like Nana Akufo-Addo allegedly having sexual intercourse with what looked like Ursula Owusu, a lawyer and Member of Parliament.
I am a self-confessed electronic illiterate. I understand that I am lucky, because the DAILY GUIDE editorial management considerately published a censored version of the picture, as what actually were published on the internet left nothing to the imagination .The persons involved were reportedly depicted naked.
Faking the picture and putting them on the internet was filthy, nauseating, scandalous indecent, uncivilised, immoral, distressing, demeaning, depraved, disrespectful, degrading, disgraceful and despicable.
Where are the Council of Elders of the two parties, their mature people, their lawyers and other sensible people? Did those who faked the pictures never have the benefit of proper family upbringing, discipline in schools they attended, and moral teachings from their churches and mosques?
Hear Otumfuo: “We have allowed politics to so dominate our lives and influence our thoughts that nothing else seems to matter to us, but the good of the party we support.”
Hear him once more: “Our society is so polarised that good is bad if you belong to one party, and bad is good if it’s the other way round.”
Members, supporters and sympathisers of both the NDC and NPP are mostly Ghanaians. You will discover that some of them from both sides attended the same educational institution, practise the same profession, and attended the same church. Some are Members of Parliament, even if they sit on the opposite side. What kind of mindset will drive human beings to do this to their follow human beings?
If political office, other political leaders and others in public life can be so shamefully treated, who else is safe? Tomorrow, people in other walks of life would have their bodies faked and placed in all kinds of compromising positions, merely for expressing an opinion.
Otumfuo did not pull any punches when he took on the politicians. Hear him again: “It is the same people, the same politicians who are funding and sustaining the new breed of serial callers. It is the same politicians who, whether they call themselves communicators or propagandists, are unleashing the blatant lies and malicious gossip on each other.” He was certainly walking through a minefield.
Otumfuo called for “a new format that brings enlightenment from sober, independent minds untainted by party propaganda, and release the party propagandists to refocus on what political parties should really be doing in a democracy – thinking and developing ideas and strategies for their parties to direct the nation to greatness.”
Otumfuo was at pains to emphasise that he did NOT (repeat NOT) consider the existence of political parties inimical to the national good.
He said: “I firmly believe that political parties are vital, indeed, indispensable in any democratic system of governance.”
The NPP and NDC should not bastardise the party system of governance.

Corruption And Nepotism Are The Main Legacies Of June 4

Ebo Quansah in Accra
June 4 A1On May 15, 1979, a 31 year-old junior Air Force Officer led six others in a mutiny against the order of the Government of the Supreme Military Council Mark II, a military oligarchy led by Lt-Gen. Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo as Chairman and Head of State of the Republic.
The mutineers were arrested and put on court-marshall. In the thick of proceedings, the leader,
Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, told the tribunal to leave his men alone, on the basis that he bore the sole responsibility for their actions.
Flt-Lt Rawlings justified his action by claiming that official corruption had eroded confidence in the government and tarnished the image of the Armed Forces. The self-imposed leader of the mutineers claimed that Lebanese and Syrian businessmen had hijacked the Ghanaian economy at the expense of indigenous Ghanaians.
The Ghanaian media, led by the Daily Graphic, then edited by Elizabeth Ohene, brought the proceedings to the people, and hard-up Ghanaians instantly discovered a new hero. Many nationals hung on every word from Rawlings.
In the early hours of June 4, 1979, junior officers and other ranks led by then Capt. Kwadwo Boakye Gyan, spirited Flt. Lt. Rawlings from his cells at the then Special Branch headquarters, now the Bureau of National Investigations, to announce the overthrow of the Akuffo regime, and the birth of the 14-man Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).
The leader of the mutineers named himself as Chairman of the AFRC, with 14 collaborators. They were Boakye Gyan, Spokesman, Major Mensah Poku, Major Mensah Gbedema, Lt. Com.  H.C. Apaloo, Capt. Kwabena Baah Achamfuor, Warrant Officer Alex Adjei, Corporal Owusu Boateng, Leading Aircraftman John N. Gatsiko, Lance Corporal Ansah Atiemo, Lance Corporal Sarkodie-Addo, Corporal Sheikh Tetteh, Lance Corporal Peter Tasiri, and Private Owusu Adu.
The AFRC purged the leadership of the Armed Forces in the course of which eight top officers, who were in the leadership positions in the toppled administration, were executed. Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, who had been replaced in a palace coup eleven months before June 4, and Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Utuka, Member of the Supreme Military Council and Commander of the Border Guards at the time, were the first to face the firing squad at the Teshie Military Firing Range.
The extra-judicious murder of the two top officers was telecast live on Ghana Television, and was condemned in Ghana and the international community. But, just as everybody thought the executions had been stopped, six top officers of the Armed Forces were dispatched to their graves at the Teshie Firing Range barely two weeks after the first two officers had been executed.
These executions intensified international outrage, and virtually made Ghana a pariah of the international community. Nigeria, under military strongman Olusegun Obasanjo, refused to sell crude oil on credit to this country.
This worsened the situation for Ghanaian motorists who had to queue for hours on end for petroleum products. Internally, many goods disappeared from shelves in many shops across the country. It followed the new regime’s propensity to forcibly sell goods of traders/businessmen and women at what they called control prices.
As a government, the AFRC was very repressive. Many genuine businessmen were harassed and forced to lose their lives, and their long time investments.  People said to be sympathetic to the previous regimes of Acheampong and Akuffo were targeted and treated with iron hands.
Though the Supreme Court outlawed the public celebration of the event using state resources, somehow, Flt Lt. Rawlings and those who claim to believe in June 4 have always found a way round it to commemorate the event.
During the Kufuor regime, June 4 was banished from the public calendar of events. On the other side of the political divide, the event became a resistance movement that helped to propel the Umbrella back to Government House. The NDC claims in its official documents that the party was born out of the events of December 31, which is itself an extension of the rule of June 4, although the personalities, bar its, leader, were entirely private.
One paradox of June 4 is the claim that it was a house-cleaning exercise and that it was pursued to end all coup d’états. Incidentally, it was the leader of the uprising who pushed through December 31, after he had been retired from the military.
One irony is that the real activists of the uprising do not partake in its commemoration. Today’s commemoration started yesterday, with an important speech to those identified as the cadres of June 4. Former junta head Jerry John Rawlings was scheduled to speak to his followers at his residence at 2:00 p.m., yesterday.
Under the theme ‘Patriotism- Key to Nation-Building,’ the official celebration reaches its climax today, with a route march from the El-Wak Stadium to the Revolutionary Square, where a wreath is expected to be laid to commemorate the passing away of heroes of the so-called revolution.
It is instructive to recall that on the day when the former junta head handed over the reins of government to the incoming President Hilla Limann and his People’s National Party (PNP) administration at the Black Star Square on September  24, 1979, he gave the new government a six-month ultimatum to perform.
Coup watchers suggest that Jerry Rawlings and his cohorts started plotting to overthrow the PNP administration from 1980. When the regime was finally swept away on December 31, 1981, not many political connoisseurs were surprised at the turn of events.
The only surprising thing was the intensity of its persecution of the business class. Like the AFRC, successful businessmen and politicians, who did not share the ideology of the coup plotters, were hunted down in a search and destroy operation.
The Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), with the likes of Tsatsu Tsikata, Kojo Tsikata and the three Ahwoi brothers providing the intellectual and ideological base, virtually turned this country into a Banana Republic where refuseniks were executed, thrown into jail for long sentences, or chased into exile.
Law in Ghana became the Gospel according to Jerry John Rawlings. The only means of keeping one’s sanctity in a nation, where extra-judicious killings became a political weapon, was to keep mute.
When three judges , Justices Fred Poku Sarkodie, Kwadwo Adjei Agyepong and Cecelia Koranteng Addo and an army officer, Major Sam Acquah (rtd), were abducted on June 30, 1982, and murdered in cold blood at the Bundase Military Firing Range, it clearly sent the signal that one could not live in Ghana and be seen opposing the insurgents.
Sounds interesting, but all the victims were Akans. Nepotism and cronyism were not far away, I dare state.
When Junta Head Jerry John Rawlings coined the phrase ‘Culture of Silence’ to describe the period when no one dared question his authority, he summed up the hopelessness of the average Ghanaian under the most repressive regime to take centre stage of governance in this land of our birth.
The moral authority with which the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), under the leadership of Jerry Rawlings as President of the Republic, jettisoned a report of a probe into corrupt deals of some ministers and high ranking officials of the administration, tell the whole story of the lie behind Rawlings’ theory of staging two coup d’états to save this country from corruption.
As you read this piece, corruption and nepotism appear to have taken centre stage in an administration which claims to take its inspiration from the two coup d’états staged by Mr. Rawlings. Last year, the government of John Dramani Mahama and his NDC overspent the people’s budget by as much as GH¢8.7 billion. Incidentally, not even Jerry Rawlings has raised a finger.
At a time when this nation has doled out GH¢51 million to Alfred Agbesi Woyome for no work done, the State of Ghana has been unable to meet its contractual obligations to doctors, said to be in the region of GH¢41 million.
While prices of petroleum products are hitting the roof and hitting the poor the hardest, GH¢32 million of state money has been doled out to an individual to plant trees in the north. The interesting thing about the afforestation project is that we are told the trees have all but withered.
We also woke up one morning to discover that GH¢15 million of hard-up cash had been doled out to the same person to cultivate a guinea fowl farm. The interesting thing about this farm is that we are awaiting the return of the birds from Burkina Faso.
In all these developments, all Ghana has been in the dark for nearly one year. For all this long, power outages have hurt industry and reduced individual households into caves. We are told that the script on all these negative developments was written when Jerry Rawlings was sprung from his cell at the former Special Branch headquarters of the Ghana Police Service to lead the AFRC on June 4, 1979. For this reason, some of us cannot, and will not forget the role played by so-called Junior Jesus and his AFRC. Today is June 4, especially when the economy is down to ‘bare-bones.’

Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles

Kojo Appiah-Kubi, PhD
At independence in 1957 not only was Ghana thought to lead the way for African political liberation but was also to be developed into a model to show the world that the black man is capable of ruling himself. With the desire to ‘wrestle the command¬ing heights of the economy from foreigners’, who then con¬trol¬led the economy, the first post colonial government developed and implemented a series of the development plans on the back of gargantuan increases in government expenditure with large import content.
The results of these developments were steep rises in budget deficits, price levels and foreign indebtedness as well as massive declines in foreign reserves and economic growth. Thus by the mid sixties annual inflation exceeded 20% whilst the fiscal budget deficit rose to a height equiva¬lent to about 6% of GDP. The country recorded its first negative economic growth rate of about 5.1% since indepen¬dence in 1966.
These developments marked the beginning of Ghana’s movement in “circles”, whereby various successive governments come to power on the back of massive criticisms of economic failures of previous governments. They then promise to achieve economic stabilization necessary for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, but end up achieving very little positive gains for the country. They also marked the subsequent introduction of structural adjustment programmes, austerity budgets, liberalization and stabilization programmes in Ghana, and deepened dependency on the Breton Woods Institutions. And that is what all subsequent governments since the sixties have taken the nation through but with achieved mixed results.
The Acheampong, SMC I and II regimes, for instance, assumed power in the seventies on the back of rising prices, deteriorating trade and budget balances, declining foreign exchange reserves, stagnating economic growth, etc., which they assigned to the economic mismanagement of previous regimes. Contrary to the promise of redeeming Ghana from its economic woes, the Acheampong’s National Redemption Council rather sent the economy through a serious economic decay. The economy saw an annual contraction in per capita GDP by more than 3%, in industrial output by 4.2% and in agricul¬tural output by 0.2% between 1970 and 1982. The annual average rate of inflation rose from single-digit in the early seventies to peak 121.2% in 1977, while the fiscal deficit levelled off at 10.9% of GDP in the same year.
Then came Rawlings Provisional National Defence Council with the promise to defend the nation against economic mismanagement. The regime introduced dramatic changes in the exchange rate, fiscal, monetary, privatisation, and trade policies that brought increased liberalisation in the economy. The economy made some initial gains, which could, however, not be sustained after a brief period of economic recovery. Hence at the time Ghana transitioned from military to democratic rule in 1992 the macro-economic environment was fast deteriorating and the nation was back to square one. Narrow and broad fiscal balances, for instance, recorded deficits of about 3.4% and 10.7% of GDP respectively in 1992. Annual inflation rate rose to average 39.5% between 1983-1992. The total public debt jumped from $2.9 billion in 1983 to $4.3 billion in 1992, with both trade and current account balances showing persistent deficits and worsening trends.
These movements of five steps forward four steps backwards have continued unabated since the return to civilian regime in 1992, with the economic performance having been closely associated with cycles of stabilization programmes; austerity budgets; deteriorating current account and fiscal balances; rising indebtedness and prices; and deteriorating macro-economic environment. As a result of these developments the actual GDP growth performance has been much lower than the predicted potential of the country.
Between 1992-1995 under the NDC I, for instance, the budget balance deteriorated at an annual average of –0.62% of GDP. The rate of deterioration increased further to annual average of –6.43% of GDP during NDC II (1996-2000). The public debt equally ballooned successively from an initial level of $4.2 billion in 1992 to $7.8 billion in 2000. The inflation and cedi-dollar depreciation rates rose to hit a peak of 40.5% and 49% respectively.
When the NPP assumed power in 2001 it castigated in its first budget the previous NDC government for having “…failed systematically to meet performance benchmarks and policy requirements agreed upon”. Despite its promise “…to put together a realistic action programme for attaining the national quest to re-establish macro-economic stability and re-establish credible and sustainable policy framework for co-operation and development”, the NPP regime also fell prey to moving in economic circles. Indeed it did make some initial gains, which it could not sustain over time. The budget deficit, which it brought down to an annual average of -4.1% of GDP during 2001-2004 rose again during 2005-2008 to -4.5% of GDP. Similarly the price levels rose to double digits with the current account balance, cedi depreciation rate, and foreign exchange reserves also assuming deteriorating trends. The public indebtedness finished off at $7.9 billion in 2008 higher than in 2000 under the NDC despite huge debt reliefs from HIPC.
In 2009 the new NDC led government, in its first budget statement, described the then economy of Ghana as having being rundown by the previous NPP administration. The then President Atta Mills promised Ghanaians in his first state of the nation address: “Our administration will build a robust economy and address the challenges which the private sector faces in investing, growing and expanding”. He then assured Ghanaians: “This is the beginning of the rescue plan for building a better Ghana”.
After 4 years of implementation of the supposed rescue plan the fundamentals of economic situation and predicament have by all indications worsened. The economy is currently weaker and more fragile than ever before. The fiscal deficits have grown larger (from ¢2.5 billion to ¢8.7 billion and running at an annual average of 7.2% of GDP during 2009-2012). The inflation rate managed to stay in single digit for some two years but remained higher than expected. The national debt stock ballooned to unprecedented levels; from ¢9.5 to ¢33.5 billion in 2009-2012, an annual increase of ¢6 billion. The depreciation in the value of the Cedi over the four year NDC era exceeded that of eight years of NPP. The current account deficit has grown from $3,473.50 million in 2008 to $5,179.29 million in 2012.
Despite the apparent boost in the country’s economic potential with a new oil find and high dividends from the country’s political stability, the reigning high prices of its major exports including cocoa and gold, the long-term economic performance of the economy of Ghana continue to remain below its potential. Ironically the economy is currently much weaker and more fragile than ever before. The macro-economic environment appears to have worsened, particularly, since the return to civilian regime in 1992. The movement of the economy in circles and deterioration of macro-economic environment have indeed assumed increasing speed accentuated by unbridled fiscal indiscipline during years of general elections. These movements, whose zenith always coincides with the nation’s general elections, only entrench a pattern of a “4-year political economy cycle” of fiscal indiscipline which is not healthy for the development of the country.

NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4

JJ RawlingsWhile the National Democratic Congress (NDC) fights for survival at the Supreme Court in the ongoing election petition, its founder, former President Jerry John Rawlings, is skeptic about the party retaining power in the 2016 general elections.
Mr. Rawlings, who addressed cadres on the eve of the 34th celebration of the June 4th Revolution in 1979 at his Ridge residence in Accra, said the country appeared to be moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, and would need the ingenuity of President John Mahama to reverse the trend.
He said until this was done, the NDC would find it difficult to retain power in the next general elections.
According to Mr. Rawlings, much of the gains made through the era of the revolution, and the principles that gave birth to it, seem to be fast eroding, and now the country is afoot a reversal trend.
Mr. Rawlings attributed much of the setback the country has suffered to the actions and inactions of former President Kufuor and the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
“In spite of the many achievements, many setbacks and reversals have also taken place. But, for more than a decade now, Ghana appears to have been moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, thanks to Presidents Mills and Kufuor/John II and John III.
“President Mahama has the responsibility to pull this country out of that tunnel. How well, how far and how soon John IV can achieve that, is hard to say.”
Speaking of the paradox of the Africa’s poverty in the mix of plenty, Mr. Rawlings emphasised that contrary to assertions that Africa was enjoying an economic upsurge, the reality remained that this was only true for the tiny minority. “The reality for the vast majority is pain and suffering,” he stated.
An observation, which, he said, remained true about many African states, is the fact that “too much power and too much money is being held up in the hands of a few too many wrong people.”
He observed, with some reservation, the foreign dominance and impunity with which some foreign entities operate in the country.
“…Here in Ghana, we see that Accra, the capital, is also almost on the verge of losing out to the impunity of foreign domination. While Ghana cannot close its doors to the rest of the world, it is important that the relevant institutions and citizens remain vigilant, and ensure that every visitor to our country adheres strictly to the laws of our land.
“If we fail to do so, then, in the not too distant future, I truly wonder if the heartbeat of this country will be that of Ghanaians.”
He also used the opportunity to debunk a publication which placed him in the ‘Millionaires list’ in Africa, worth $50 million.
According to him, unlike others who sold their conscience and country for wealth, his values of integrity have been his watch word.
“My fellow countrymen, my value as a man of principle and integrity is incalculable. The difference is that in my situation, I have never exchanged or sold my conscience, or sold my country, my principles or my integrity for money, or destroyed honourable people for money.”
He said the only reason why anyone would make such false claims about him was to sanitise the concept of being a multi-millionaire acceptable to people, and make it look criminal, even if ill-gotten.
“Why then, will such a false statement about me being a multi-millionaire be made? While the statement may be true for most of the others, why add a false statement about Rawlings to that list?
“In order to sanitise the concept of being [a] multi-millionaire, distinguished persons whose values are unrelated to money must be made to also look like multi-millionaires, in order to make the concept acceptable to people in general.
“Being a millionaire, even if ill-acquired, must not be made to look criminal, so that such people can enjoy their loot in safety. Therefore, if Rawlings is made to appear like a multi-millionaire, then there is nothing wrong with others also being multi-millionaires,” he said.
He charged all to help restore the values of the June 4 Revolution, and hold leaders accountable for their stewardship.
“Let us demand more from our leaders, including myself, in terms of probity and accountability. Let us protect those values every day in our schools and workplaces by refusing to go along with lying, cheating, thievery and injustice, but instead, stand up for truth, justice, fairness, respect for each other, and love for our beautiful country.”

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