Photo taken on Sept. 15 shows the general outside view of the National Theatre of Ghana in downtown Accra, Ghana. As a landmark in Accra, the National Theatre of Ghana that was completed in 1992, was built under loans by Chinese government. (Xinhua/Lin Xiaowei)
Photo taken on Sept. 15 shows the general outside view of the National Theatre of Ghana in downtown Accra, Ghana. As a landmark in Accra, the National Theatre of Ghana that was completed in 1992, was built under loans by Chinese government. (Xinhua/Lin Xiaowei)

The second edition of “The Trial of J. J. Rawlings: Echoes of the 31st December Revolution,” was re-launched in Accra to climax the yearlong activities marking National Theatre’s 25th Anniversary celebrations.

The 187-page book authored Mr Kojo Yankah, former Editor of the Daily Graphic, which he briefly re-named the People’s Daily Graphic during the early days of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

The book covered topics such as: 15th May: The Verdicts; The Rallying Call; Come June 4; The Clean-up Operations and Reactions; The Election Festival; The Test of a Hand-over; June 4 Retired; Impressions and Survival; The People, The People; and Rawlings and the 31st December Revolution.

The book also captured pictures including members of the military tribunal, which tried the coup plotters of the abortive May 15th uprising in 1979; the seven persons on trial including J. J. Rawlings; and Members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.

Other memorable pictures are, Rawlings helping to load cement on a track; Rawlings with Fidel Castro at the Non-Aligned Conference in Havan Cuba, in September 1979; Rawlings and Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso; Rawlings and Jimmy Carter of the USA; Rawlings handing over to Dr Hilla Limann, President of the Third Republic.

The ‘Trial of J. J. Rawlings: Echoes of the 31st December Revolution,’ was first published in 1986. The second edition was re-launched by, Nana Essilfie Conduah, Political Historian and Chair of Journalism at the African University College of Communication.

It was characterised with a dramatic musical drama, with the artistic recollection of events in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Mr Yankah who is an award-winning literary author, politician, a professional communicator, journalist and a public relations expert explained that the world needed to understand the man J. J. Rawlings, hence the re-launch characterised with musical drama to bring new dynamism to the episode.
He explained that since the year 2000 when the 19-year reign of Former President Rawlings ended, “I have been inundated with requests to reproduce the original book, published in the 1986”.

Mr Yankah who also served as Minister of State said 36 years have passed since the famous May 15th military uprising took place, followed by the June 4th, Revolution, various verdicts have been passed since then.

He noted, the obvious fact that Ghana’s history has gone through various critical and violent phases could not be erased “for the youth under 36 years, even perhaps in their early 40s the Trial of J. J. Rawlings that took place in 1979 is still a mystery, even a myth, or better still exaggerated”.

Mr Yankah who is also the founder of the African University College of Communication noted, “Not all that happened in 1979 was pleasant. Lives and properties were lost, like in all mutinies and uprisings.

“In pursuit of justice and freedom in all historical circumstances, suffering, anguish and losses have been recorded. I am reproducing this book to fill a vacuum that the absence of this script has created for those who seek information to add to their body of knowledge about Ghana’s history”.

In a review Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, former Chairman of the National Media Commission said the book does not only refresh the memory of those old enough to remember and provide much needed information for the young, it also fills some important gaps in the national narrative.

Nana Gyan-Apenteng, who is the President of the Ghana Association of Writers said; “for those of us who lived through the events that formed the subject of the book, the Rawlings we know is the Rawlings of June 4th and its aftermath.

“The younger generation also knows its Rawlings through different lenses in which are refracted different images of Rawlings that do not necessarily connect to the image carried around by the older generation”.

He said Ghana’s democracy and politics as well as economic and social relations have been defined by events and activities with Rawlings at the centre.

The event was graced by high profile personalities including; Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings former first lady, and their children; former Ministers of State, Ambassadors of China, and United States of America, Serving and Retired Military Officers, Traditional Rulers, and entertainment revellers.

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