Kwesi Pratt Jnr, the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, has indicated that the June 4, 1979, revolution, a military coup which many credit the late Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings (Rtd) with was solely organised by Sergeant Peter Tasiri Azongo, whose name is erased from the June Fourth story whenever it is told.
“The first shot was fired by Lieutenant J. Agyeman-Bio, who was killed instantly. Baah-Achamfour was arrested on June 3; he was in cells; he broke out of jail; Tasiri and others released Mr Rawlings from custody. Mr Rawlings had no idea where June 4 came from, he was [rather] a beneficiary of June 4 and yet today everything is credited to him,” Kwesi Pratt Jnr explained on the Pan African TV programme “Alhaji and Alhaji” on January 30, 2021.
He added, “Today, nobody mentions Captain Baah-Achamfour, nobody mentions Peter Tasiri, nobody mentions Lieutenant Agyeman-Bio. That is life, some people are lucky.”
About the June 4 Coup D’état
The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) came to power in a coup that overthrew the Supreme Military Council headed by Lt. Gen. Frederick W.K. Akuffo, another military regime, on the fourth of June 1979. That successful June 4 coup was preceded by an abortive attempt on May 15, 1979, during which Flt. Lt. Jerry 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 in a separate coup unrelated to the May 15 event.
Those who had put Rawlings and his colleagues on trial, that is Lt. Gen. Akuffo’s regime, had themselves overthrown by Lt. Col. Isaac Kutu Acheampong’s Supreme Military Council in 1978, and established themselves as a continuation of that regime. Hence, since Akuffo and Co were all senior military officers some of whom had worked with Acheampong, they were popularly referred to as SMC II.
During the fighting that ensued throughout that rainy day of June 4, 1979, several military personnel lost their lives.
These include Major General Odartey-Wellington, Army Commander, who led the government’s resistance to the coup d’état. Colonel Joseph Enningful who was a former Commander of the Support Services of the Ghana Armed Forces also fell that day.
Other soldiers who died that day include Second-Lieutenant J. Agyemang Bio, Corporal William Tingan, Lance Corporal Sorkpor, Trooper Samuel Larsey, Trooper Emmanuel Koranteng-Apau, Lance Corporal Gabriel Follivi and Lance Corporal Mamudu Kalifa. They were all buried with full military honours at the Osu Military Cemetery in Accra.
The AFRC regime started a ‘Housecleaning’ exercise against corruption. In that respect, three former military heads of state, namely Lt. Gen. Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa who led a coup in 1969, Gen. Isaac Kutu Acheampong and Lt. Gen. Frederick William Akuffo were all executed together with five other senior officers deemed to have been corrupt by the special courts set up by the government.
Numerous business entrepreneurs were also targeted and unlawfully had their assets confiscated by the AFRC regime including J. K. Siaw of Tata Breweries fame who produced beer.
The AFRC, however, 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 subsequently thanks to another coup this time by Rawlings on 31 December 1981, became the only president of the Third Republic of Ghana.
Rawlings established the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) that governed for 10 years without opposition before returning the country back to democratic rule in 1993.