Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Where Are Ghana's Men?

I'm most impressed by your foresight, persistence and the undying courage with which you pose such specific and personal truths in bold terms about Ghana, our motherland. By the dedication and wisdom, you have ventured where most men have not dared attempt. Have certainty and security in the knowledge that the Ashanti queenmother, Yaa Asantewaa, also fought when the men cowered. She is interred with the immortals.

When the Legon Observer (July 1982) queried in bewilderment, "No Men Left in Ghana?" you were destined to fulfill that spiritual and historic role. Time and again, our own soldiers have unleashed brutality and chaos among our people. But, the other men have only become passive onlookers and complacent with Ghana's deterioration. Yet, it took Ghana scholarship to educate a good number of our men who have dived for cover with their tails in between their legs. They dared not speak up.

My dear Ohemaa, it took you to initiate the bold step. The institution of free speech and the freedom of expression which you represent enhanced more personal liberties than any combinations of NRC's, PNDC's Unigov's PPP's, and the others could ever achieve for Ghana's people. The belief in freedom is in the practice of freedom. Please continue. to challenge, criticize and offer alternatives. We abhor the anarchy being perpetuated in Ghana.

I am proud of your genuine feeling for the flesh-and-blood humanity. May the blessings of our ancestors guide and nourish you today, steering you forever in your noble task.

Anis Haffar, Los Angeles USA.


The recent attempted coup d'etat in Togo, reinforces the greatest fears that Gaddafy is more than determined to destabilise African governments, and bring misery to its peoples.

Gaddafy has already done it in Ghana, where many have been killed and many more, maimed. He has pushed the 14 million Ghanaians into a pitiful mess and they helplessly suffer the worst degradation recorded in the country's history.

Gaddafy tried it in Kenya in August 1982 and failed, because the Kenyans would not have it. He has not given up, for sure.

But he succeeded in the Upper Volta three months ago, and got Sankara to get a few heads rolling "to put the fear of God in them".

Gaddafy's main target is the Gambia, where he suffered his greatest humiliation. But Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Togo, Liberia and Sierra Leone remain on his priority list.

This man is bent on causing as much havoc as possible, not only in Africa, but also in other parts of the World.

Leaders, both African and European who underestimate his influence and determination and just ignore him will live to regret it.

I.A. Janneh, Banjul, Gambia.


Reading your editorial "IMF and Ghana" on October 10, in which you castigated that financial institution for granting the Ghana government a $377 million loan, an impression is created that the money should not have been given to the government.

"Besides the government's irresponsible behaviour, the Currency Review is not enthused about the government's Recovery Plan...." you editorialised.

My question is this: considering the hunger and total lack of enervating economic activity of any kind in the country, don't you think any form of assistance should be welcome instead of being condemned, at least for the sake of suffering millions of Ghanaians....?

Granted the fact that the credibility of the Rawlings regime has been built on the support of certain Ghanaian intellectuals who, around the negotiation tables, give the impression that the problems of the country could be solved with the mumbo-jumbo PNDC prescription, the real blame for the present chaos should be laid squarely at their doorsteps.

Stella Bonsu, Stratford


It still beats me to think of the fact that some people think that military rule is the best for some of our countries in Africa.

In Nigeria, thanks to God, they have proved to the whole world and Africa that they are 'no big for nothing'. In spite of all the economic problems in the country and which is ever present everywhere (and becomes apparent only when the national coffers are empty) the government have been able to organise the 1983 elections.

There were and are still the calls of rigging, foul play and so on but I still think it is Better if not the Best when compared to the dictatorial one-man-regimes under most military regimes.

I would prefer a government which comes into power through multi-party electoral systems which are rigged than anything else and definitely those who force themselves through the barrels of the gun to rule.

It is still sad to hear people like Wole Soyinka speaking on the BBC African Service and advocating that the Nigerian elections were so foul that the Military will definitely take over, i.e. stage another military coup in Nigeria. He thinks the soldiers are fools.

They know their civil duties as soldiers and they also know that politics is something else. After 13 years of their role as rulers they know that to interfere in the national administration is something of the past.

This reminds me of his other colleague writer, Kofi Awoonor of Ghana who was tried for treason sentenced and jailed only to be pardoned by the late Gen. Acheampong. All because he disagreed with the government of the day. He subsequently became a Secretary to one of the parties, ACP, in Ghana which contested the 1979 general elections.

This party lost, but was still very active in Ghana politics until Mr Rawlings, the ex-Airforce Officer who had obtained all his retirement and other benefits, managed with a group of indisciplined soldiers to stage a coup to topple the popularly elected Limann's administration.

Mr Awoonor switched gears and joined this military government. He was the brain behind the Vetting Committees, the Public Tribunals and the various boards of enquiry set up. Now where is he? No doubt he made sure that he was appointed the first PNDC envoy for far away Brazil. A writer-lecturer revolutionary-politician indeed! He has been away for almost 18 months now while his fellow lecturers have run away for fear of being persecuted. He has run away when the universities are closed, he has run away when the now-regretted for their action-Ghanaians go hungry days on end and walk 12-15 miles to and from the places of work.

Is this what Wole Soyinka is propounding for Nigeria? Sorry I beg to disagree. He should come incognito and stay in Ghana for 2 weeks only and he will keep his thoughts to script writing. If he does not know he should ask his other writer colleague, Ama Ata Aidoo, the other disgraced lecturer-writer turned politician who messed up things at the Ministry of Education in Ghana.

Sorry Brother Soyinka, please keep your idealism to yourself for the so-called socialist writers of Africa today do not believe in what they preach. Kofi and Ama of Ghana are good case studies for you and all others condemning the present elections in Nigeria.

I still maintain it is better to have a foul elections in a country which has told the whole world it believes in democracy than the one which comes to power through the barrel of the gun.

By the way who would have voted for Rawlings, Tsikata, Awornoo or Ama Ata Aidoo in any elections in Ghana?

Baba Sulley-Amadu
Fanti New Town, Kumasi-Ghana.

talking drums 1983-11-07 which is the voice of the people