There is enough evidence from the fore-going to affirm that there are coup d’états and there are coup d’états. And, basically, we can differentiate the June 4, 1979 type of coup d’état from all the rest, the types of December 31, 1981. June 4 overthrew a re-constituted military regime that seven years earlier had overthrown a democratic system of government the people of Ghana voted – i.e., chosen, certified and accepted – into office to run the affairs of this state. June 4, 1979 was thus no threat to constitutional democracy. Veteran journalist, Kweku Baako Jnr., has explained that so (no, too) many times. But June 4 committed horrifying atrocities against the state, the people.
In the run-up to the December 1992 presidential elections (held a week before the parliamentary elections), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), true to its nature then as it is now, tried to play mischief by trying to put words in the mouth of pre-eminent historian, Professor Adu Boahen, who was the NPP presidential candidate. The professor has written in one of his books that June 4, 1979 is justified, because it overthrew a military regime that had overthrown a constitutional democracy. To twist the issue, the NDC went about blandly telling the world that the professor has justified a coup d’état. Their latent, disingenuous aim then was to post to the people the message that Adu Boahen has somehow justified a coup d’état of the December 31, 1981 kind. Yet that type of coup d’état is what Rawlings did – overthrow a constitutional democracy.
Interestingly, the supreme law of Ghana for the Third Republic, the 1979 Constitution, stated clearly that to overthrow it, the Constitution, is treason. Thus, the other interesting point that appears lost on a lot of people is that the December 31, 1981 coup d’état was a constitutional crime at the time Rawlings did it. Yes, he proscribed the Constitution when the coup d’état succeeded, but the constitution was law at the very moment Rawlings was announcing its suspension. He committed treason before suspending the constitution.
However, as already explained, Ti-Kelenkelen’s goal here is not to look into the former president’s face. Far from it! Indeed, in pointing out the criminality of overthrowing a constitutional democracy, Ti-Kelenkelen is, indeed, posting notice that any attempt to overthrow or overthrowing this Fourth Republic is treason. And according to the (Fourth Republic) Constitution, such a crime is punishable by death. The goal here, therefore, Dear Reader, is to protect the Fourth Republic. And most people may not have realised it, but if overthrowing the Fourth Republic is out of the question as it, indeed, is, then we are left with only one choice – we must make it work for us in terms of helping us organise and build our society to realise our collective welfare and progress.
And that brings us to the issue of who puts wreaths opposite Jubilee House. Is it Rawlings himself? Is it someone he sends? Or is it just others – some people who still hold his revolutionary zeal so sacrosanct. Who is this person (or are these people) who cannot see past his or her (or their) selfish personal preference and so continues to celebrate something that is anachronistic yet dangerous, because even in symbolism it represents a threat to this proper system cherished by the collective, this Fourth Republic? Not even June 4 is an excuse to permit placing wreaths at that square, because despite its peculiarity it is, in fact, still a coup d’état that did horrible crimes against the people.
All past presidents after Rawlings have played smart by ignoring the laying of wreaths opposite Jubilee House. But even the sheer symbolism of it, in the light of the noted contradiction, is nauseating. Yet, today, if an NPP president speaks against it, partisan politics will be applied to muddy the waters of public discourse on the issue and the common good will be lost like the clear shadow in the clear water before the muddying. If an NDC president speaks against it, some of their own members will accuse him of dropping allegiance to their founder and their roots. No president wants to compound the challenges of leading an entire state with what most will consider needless diatribe over some person’s (or people’s personal) preference. Yet as shown above, the issue is one for national agenda.
To call the creature by name, laying a wreath at the square opposite Jubilee House is symbolically encouraging people to overthrow the Fourth Republic. It is akin to praising the notoriety of an armed robber to your children. One day, one day, at least one of them may wish to try it.
Hence Ti-Kelenkelen’s aspiration here is to touch the heart of whoever (those who) place(s) those wreaths at that square every year, for him or her (or them) to realise and accept the danger in the inherent contradiction. That danger is having a square for celebrating the overthrow of a constitutional democracy directly opposite the Office of the President in a constitutional democracy and laying wreaths there every year. To call the creature by name, it is the celebration of what the Fourth Republic Constitution terms treason; within the Fourth Republic.
Finally, the Fourth Republic has always had economic problems that make day-to-day living hard. And Ti-Kelenkelen will be a pretender to claim ignorance of the fact that whoever places the wreaths there knows that it is an annual celebration that encourages self-proclaimed saviours to go out to overthrow this Fourth Republic. Knowing the little Ti-Kelenkelen does about human nature, he will be a hypocrite to claim ignorance of the fact that every time these people are going to lay those wreaths at the square their conscience, plausibly, reminds them of the inherent contradiction, so that they are faced yet again with the critical decision to either proceed or end it. And it appears personal ego always wins. Yet Ti-Kelenkelen also knows these people know deep within themselves that to admit what is obvious that inures to our common welfare and progress takes one out of the category of the proverbial king who out of a zeal to prove he is the richest person in his entire kingdom insisted on believing he was wearing the costliest garment ever made when in fact and indeed he was naked to the skin in the presence of his own court.
Our African Elders say in Yoruba: “Otito koro”- Truth is bitter. Here truth is God’s truth, which when stretched into human affairs catalyses into that which insures our common (humankind) benefit. And if, or when, when we alter our point of view, perspective and even ideology under the guidance of such truth, we earn the respect of our contemporaries, Onyankopon smiles, and posterity will certainly exalt our integrity.
(See also yirenkyilamptey.wordpress.com)
“…Most people may not have realised it, but if overthrowing the Fourth Republic is out of the question as it, indeed, is, then we are left with only one choice – we must make it work for us in terms of helping us organise and build our society to realise our collective welfare and progress.”
“Not even June 4 is an excuse to permit placing wreaths at that square, because despite its peculiarity it is, in fact, still a coup d’état that did horrible crimes against the people.”
“…Laying a wreath at the square opposite Jubilee House is symbolically encouraging people to overthrow the Fourth Republic. It is akin to praising the notoriety of an armed robber to your children.”
Ti-Kelenkelen by Yirenkyi Lamptey