Ghanaian playwright, author and motivational speaker James Ebo Whyte says former President Jerry John Rawlings will be remembered for his great sense of leadership.
Affectionately called Uncle Ebo, he said one remarkable thing about the former President was how he challenged corrupt officials and rebuked them.
“I believe that on June 4, 1979, God stepped in to rebuke corruption and misgovernment in Ghana when a powerless, condemned junior military officer was sprung from prison and given the reigns of government,” he said in his Rover Report presentation.
Uncle Ebo on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday morning commended the former President for his ability to connect with the common man.
According to him, Mr Rawlings’ ability to connect with the common man was “unmatched.”
He further commented on the June 4 military junta and events that led to it.
The June 4 Revolution
Recounting the events, Uncle Ebo shared that, the Coup in 1979 was sparked as a result of severe economic hardships in the country.
“Law and order had broken down and decency and good conscience were ridiculed in Ghana. What matters most was how to make money by any means possible. And those who made money, then poured scorn openly on the poor who had no means of taking advantage of the broken system.
“Ordinary workers in Ghana were the worst paid. Wages and salaries lost their value. Workers in Ghana had to endure all kinds of indignities,” he said.
He added that, this compelled many young people to desert the country in a bid to seek greener pastures and economic refuge in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Uncle Ebo said the situation was so bad that, people could not even afford the cost of transportation in the country, in those days.
“I lived at Kaneshie in those days and every evening, it was very common to see a lot of people walking along the Graphic road or the old Fadama road at the close of work.
“They were walking home for two reasons; First, public transport was scarce and secondly, many had no money to pay the fare.
“Then came June 4, a voice came on radio panting and out of breathe and announced that government had been overthrown and that the Junior Officers of the Ghana Armed Forces had taken over to undertake what they called ‘a house cleaning exercise.’
Though he agreed the take over was by no means the best, he said the move gave hope to the ordinary workers who were fed up with the poor working conditions under the General F. K Akuffo government.
“Initially, people were confused and bewildered but for us – the poor workers – there was celebration. We were sure that our liberation had come especially when it turned out that , that panting out-of-breath voice was that of the Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.
“With J.J. at the helm of the uprising, hope was reborn in many workers and students and now that our champion had come, we got vocal with our anger at what had been going on by crying out that the blood of those who robbed us of our dignity must flow and blood did flow.
“I thank God for Rawlings because he was a tool God used to challenge and rebuke Corruption in the country,” he added.