June 4th is a noted date in Ghana’s history, it has been said to be a date that brings a lot of pain to people who either lost loved ones, lost businesses, or had to flee the country for their dear lives.
On June 4, 1979, an announcement was made in the early hours on the radio by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of a change of government into the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).
The revolution began on May 15, 1979, when the then military government of the Supreme Military Council (SMC II) of General F K. Akuffo put then flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on public trial for attempting to overthrow him.
Flt Lt Rawlings turned the trial against the government by accusing it of massive corruption, lack of discipline and requesting that his fellow accused be set free as he was solely responsible for the mutiny.
He was then arrested and imprisoned for an attempted coup d’état against the military government led by General Fred Akuffo.
On June 3, 1979, a group of junior officers including Major Boakye Djan and other military personnel broke into the jail, where Rawlings was held, then they staged a bloody coup and freed Rawlings from prison, marched him to the national radio station to make an announcement.
These individuals then formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to rule the country. The AFRC included a cross-section of ranks from private and lance corporal to staff sergeant, airman, lieutenant, and naval commander.
Although the scheduled elections occurred as planned on June 18, 1979, the AFRC retained power until September 24, 1979, when President Hilla Limann and the People’s National Party (PNP) assumed control of the government
The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) ruled from June 1979 to September 1979. Power was handed to Dr. Hilla Limann on 24 September 1979.
However, Rawlings again overthrew Limann on 31st December 1981 and established the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).
During the rule of Flt. Lt Rawlings, June 4 was observed as a public holiday.
In the year 2001, Parliament passed the Public Holidays Amendment Law, which abolished the celebration of June 4 as a public holiday.
Since former President Rawlings returned to the country in 1992, June 4 has been celebrated as a public holiday.
However, in 2001, Parliament passed the Public Holidays Amendment Law, which abolished the celebration of June 4 as a public holiday, under former President John Agyekum Kufuor regime.
This year was the 41st anniversary of the June 4 celebration, meanwhile such year the celebration was led by the former President Rawlings.
Now, who will lead the 42nd anniversary and the years ahead after the demise of Flt Lt Rawlings?