The National Theatre would explode on December 31, 2018, and turn up-side down from January 3 to 5, 2019, as Judges would attempt to unlock, the enigma of former President Jerry John Rawlings who would be on trial.
The stage would be set for the musical drama play on the fascinating book titled; “The Trials of J. J. Rawlings,” which captured the most intriguing period of Ghana’s history, at the centre of which stands the personality of ‘Junior Jesus’ Rawlings.
The book authored by Mr Kojo Yankah described as a politician, an award winning literary author and a professional communicator who is both a journalist and a public relations expert. He is also the Founder of African University College of Communications (AUCC).
The public who would throng the National Theatre would experience the trial of J. J. Rawlings from the perspective of Mr Yankah who did not depend on the narration from a secondary source, but was much involved as a journalist and participant observer during much of the events captured in the book.
The author of the Trial of J. J. Rawlings also served as 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), so demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the events, the personalities involved and other background dealings.
In a forward to the enthralling life story of Flight Lieutenant J. J. Rawlings (Retired) by Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, immediate past Chairman, National Media Commission described the book as a “sensation when it was published 31 years ago.
“It was a bestseller in Ghana and a most sought after book by Ghanaians everywhere as well as people who for whatever reason had an interest in Ghana.
“This is because the book unlocked, or at least tried to unlock the enigma of Rawlings to the extent that it was possible so to do. Almost a complete generation later, the book is even more relevant today than when it was first published.
“The story of J. J. Rawlings and the period of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and early Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) periods remains only partially told,” Nana Gyan-Apenteng stated in the forward of the book obtained by the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng noted that the social and economic dynamics that produced the June 4th, 1979 Uprising have also receded into the mists of time, and with them the man at the centre of this tale.
“Therefore, the story this book tells has acquired a new urgency and become a national requirement. To the youth who were born after the tumultuous period of J. J. Rawlings ascendancy, the man is almost a myth.
“This is a strange phenomenon; J. J. Rawlings is perhaps the most recognizable person in Ghana and yet while we all think we know him, in reality we don’t.
The truth is that everyone has an opinion about him; the good, the bad, the ugly – and some have very strong opinions.
“Sadly, even among the most informed section of our population, our opinions about J. J. Rawlings are based on that same static one-dimensional cartoon character we encounter in the media, often in the form of headlines,” Nana Gyan-Apenteng.
He said; “for those of us who lived through the events that form the subject of the book, the J. J. Rawlings we know is the J. J. Rawlings of June 4th and its aftermath, the younger generation also knows it’s J. J. Rawlings through different lenses in which are refracted different images of J. J. Rawlings that do not necessarily connect to the images carried around by the older generation”.
Mr Gyan-Apenteng who is also the President of the Ghana Writers Association (GAW), 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 our national narrative.
“It has come too late recently that some vital information on the early J. J. Rawlings era cannot be traced through the media or other archives, however, even those archives need material such as we find in this book to bring the era to life.
“Now, in the circumstances, material such as this serves as both first-hand and eyewitness sources as well as commentary on other material”.
The former NMC Chairman noted that, “this is very important. The Rawlings era changed the course of Ghana’s history. We don’t know what would have happened without the chain of events, which unfolded with the uprising of May 15, 1979 and the sequence of consequences whose effects are very much alive with us today.
“Our democracy and politics as well as economic and social relations have been defined by events and activities with J. J. Rawlings at the centre. To know and understand that story is important for reconstructing the national story”.