For the eleven years that Mr. Rawlings held the nation at ransom, he always celebrated the June 4th Revolution and 31st December Revolution with pomp and pageantry. Scarce state resources were recklessly used to celebrate these two revolutions which saw the murder of innocent citizens. In fact, for eleven years, he continued to rake our already bruised and wounded hearts. He even declared a national holiday to celebrate his own bloody revolutions.
For me, anytime he celebrated his own revolutions with his cadres, many of who are now destitute and cursed, I choose to celebrate heroes like Major General Odartey-Wellington who put his nose on the grindstone to save Ghanaians from the bloodshed of June 4th and lost his precious live in the process. If other top military officers had not run away to hide because of Rawlings and his marauding gangsters, the lives of General Acheampong, Colonel Feli, General Akufo, General Kotei, Air Vice Marshal Yaw Boakye, Real Admiral Amedomeh, General Afrifa, Colonel Jackson and many civilians who were unjustifiably murdered could have been saved.
Rawlings had been taken to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation by this hothead called Boakye-Gyan to announce to the nation that a group calling themselves the Arm Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) had taken over the reins of power from the Supreme Military Council II. He warned that nobody should stand the way of his men because they meant business. Thereafter, Rawlings and a few officers left the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation leaving behind a fortified Ghana Broadcasting Corporation with drugged and drunken non-commissioned officers.
Then brave and courageous Odartey-Wellington accompanied by Major Sulemana and some non-commissioned officers ‘stormed’ the station, fought their way to the studio and announced to Ghanaians that the insurrection had been quelled and that Ghanaians should go about their duties peacefully. Sensing danger and failure of their revolution, Rawlings reorganised his men and went back to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to engage Major General Odartey-Wellington and his men. A fierce battle ensued and because the forces of General Odartey-Wellington were outnumbered, they had no choice but to retreat with the belief that he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.
The courageous officer went to the Nima Police Station to seek refuge but he was pursued by Rawlings’ crazy men and mowed down like a common criminal. That was how the brave soldier who was in a mission to save Ghanaians from the bloodbath that followed fell. For three months, Rawlings and his men went berserk and treated Ghanaians like the way rebels treat their captured enemies. Initially, Rawlings said he came to do what he called ‘house cleaning’, meaning he was going to punish top military officers who he suspected were corrupt. At the end, he turned his gun on us the poor civilians and showed us ‘soldier power’.
Market women were stripped totally naked and canned between their thighs in public. The late Akwasi Agyemang, a royal of the Golden Stool who was the Mayor of Kumasi, was arrested for no apparent reason, made to carry shit in shit pan and paraded on the streets, amidst slapping and hooting. Even our revered chiefs and queen mothers were not spared as soldiers drilled them in public. At Kejetia in Kumasi, a visibly drunk soldier drove his bayonet into the protruding stomach of a businessman, killing him instantly. His offence? He was suspected to be a rich man and acquired his wealth illegally.
For the umpteenth times I have written in this column that it is not for nothing that historians always look back. They do so in order to find what went wrong so that they will not fall into the pit that their predecessors fell in as they moved forward. It is imperative for those of us who are living witnesses to that unfortunate carnage to continue to travel down memory lane so that those who were born too late to witness the madness to take note and watch out for charlatans who may come to deceive them like the way the AFRC did to Ghanaians. We may forgive the pain inflicted on us but surely we will not forget. Ghanaians are noted for their forgiving hearts and they will forgive those who committed those acts of terrorism. Other than that a scatter brain like Boakye-Gyan would not have been walking free in this country, beating the war drums. Those whose hands are tainted with the blood of Major General Odartey-Wellington like this coward called Boakye-Gyan will forever live with disturbed conscience and history will write their names in bronze.
But for the coronavirus, on June 4th, Rawlings would have assembled his gullible cadres to celebrate his revolution privately since Kufuor made sure it was scrapped from our national calendar as a public holiday. These cadres of the June 4th Revolution have refused to sit back and observe how Rawlings and his family are living. All his four kids were educated in prestigious universities abroad and they are living luxuriously. The first born of Rawlings, Zenator Rawlings, is a qualified medical doctor and now an MP in Ghana’s Parliament, but the unschooled children of these cadres are living from hand to mouth. Sad indeed! But you know what? Every dog has got its day! If God picks up a stone, He takes time to throw it. Time will tell.
By Eric Bawah