Former President Jerry John Rawlings on Tuesday lauded Pope Francis’ efforts to resolve the South Sudan conflict.
Speaking at a parade, wreath-laying and durbar to climax activities marking the 40th anniversary of the June 4 uprising at Nungua in Accra on Tuesday, former President Rawlings said “When we throw our minds back to the recent image of the great and pious statesman, Pope Francis, going down on his knees to kiss the feet of warmongering ‘statesmen’, as a way of pleading with them to recognise and appreciate the value of life and the dignity of their own South Sudanese people, we are reminded about the abuse of power by so-called leaders and herdsmen all over”.
Former President Rawlings also took the opportunity to appeal to Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations Secretary-General Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Sahel, to take a cue from Pope Francis and attempt kissing the feet of some of the Chokosies, the Konkombas and Nanumbas in Northern Ghana, and appeal for peace.
The event on the theme, “Developing a National Character for Sustainable Good Governance” was attending by leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) such as the National Chairman Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary and Mr Huudu Yahaya, a former General Secretary of the Party.
Others included both present and past Members of Parliament of the NDC, former ministers of states, cadres of the revolution and foot soldiers of the Party.
Former President Rawlings said: “While we are thinking about how or what to do to ensure permanent peace amongst some of the warring factions or areas in our country, I would like to use this opportunity to remind our brothers in South Africa of the role we have all played in the past to bring about the change in that great country.”
“Just as we were contributing to their liberation, the apartheid regime was also financing treacherous black Africans in our countries.”
He said the time had come for them to enhance the security of those who supported and stood by them in their struggle, by exposing the traitors who worked with Apartheid South Africa.
He noted that these traitors ought to be exposed as they continue to treacherously parade themselves as patriots.
“It is not unheard of for certain African nationals to collaborate with western governments to rape their country of its resources. However, collaborating with an apartheid regime was not only unconscionable but extremely repulsive,” he said.
With regards to the June 4, 1979 Revolution, Former President Rawlings said it had been 40 long years since the uprising, stating that, the atmosphere was charged everywhere between 12 midnight and 0200 hours, the explosion of June 4th would have happened on the early night of 15th May.
He said in like manner, had those who climbed into the seat of power three months later, learnt the lessons of the June 4th uprising, 31st December 1981 could have been avoided.
Other speakers at the event include Mr Asiedu-Nketia, Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle Constituency and Mr Edem Agbana, Deputy National Youth Organiser of the NDC.
History has it that the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) led by former President Rawlings (then Flight Lieutenant) was in power from June 4, 1979 to September 24, 1979.
The AFRC came to power in a bloody coup that removed the Supreme Military Council, another military regime, from power.
The June 4 coup was preceded by an abortive attempt on May 15, 1979 when former President Rawlings and other ranks were arrested.
Their trial only served to make them popular till they were eventually released on the morning of June 4 by young officers and noncommissioned officers inspired by Rawlings.
The regime started a ‘House cleaning’ exercise against corruption.
Three former military leaders of Ghana, Lieutenant General Akwasi Amankwah Afrifa, General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Lt Gen Frederick W. K. Akuffo were all executed together with five other senior officers deemed to have been corrupt by the special courts set up by the Government.
The AFRC allowed already scheduled elections to go ahead and handed over to the duly elected Dr Hilla Limann of the People’s National Party (PNP) who became the only president of the Third Republic of Ghana.