Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Military rule: not the cause or cure - a rejoinder

I Have carefully read what Mr King Kafui of Singapore wrote about the topic above in this magazine and published a couple of months ago. It seems most likely that Mr Kafui wants to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians and the whole world. But I want to put it clearly to him that gone are the days when we were taken for a ride by people like him. The salary for a Deputy Minister as he mentioned in his letter is not correct. Few Ghanaians will believe that a Deputy Minister visited his school with two Range Rover cars and two other vehicles - perhaps BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volvo or Honda Accord.

It is a serious offence for a teacher as he claims to be, to pass on false information to the public, and worse still, to his pupils. It is therefore necessary for him to have consulted other people on these issues before he went to the press. There is a saying in one Ghanaian language which goes: to $1.00. "Se obi nnim a, obi kyere", which literally translated means that there is always someone to teach those who are ignorant. Fortunately, this is the motto of one of the leading training colleges in Ghana - St Joseph's Training Bechem.

Joseph Anane-Adjei, West Germany

Right on, TUC

THE TUC proposal for a minimum wage of C300.00 a day and a tax free level of 85% on the minimum wage for the Ghanaian worker is a true reflection of the present cost of living in the country.

The PNDC government has on many occasions drummed hard into the ears of Ghanaians that its 1983/84 budget is the most realistic one in the history of the country. This unprecedented budget with astronomical increases in prices of goods and services was based on the steepest devaluation in the economic history of mankind (Reference: International Currency Review Vol 15 No 3, page 50). The value of the cedi dropped from €2.75 per $1.00 to £30.00 per $1.00, as low as eleven fold.

It can be argued that if the cedi has been devalued over ten fold then the present minimum wage of C25 (Rationalisation wage adopted in June 1983) should be realistically raised at least ten fold reaching a minimum level of C250 a day. A worker-government like PNDC as we are made to believe, should not hesitate in responding to the poor workers' demand.

It is very sad indeed that Ghanaians have very short memories. In contemporary Ghanaian politics the word devaluation has become synonymous to Busia's government. There was hue and cry in the country by some articulate and vociferous groups immediately after the announcement of the devaluation of the cedi by the Progress Party, which brought Acheampong onto the political stage of Ghana.

During the Limann era there was an attempt to devalue the currency. Within its own camp there were criticisms to dissuade the government to drop the idea of devaluation. The devaluation package between the PNP government and the IMF was €15.00

An integral wing of the PNP, the Youth Wing, to be precise, vehemently criticised the then government on the proposed devaluation. It may be of great interest at this moment to recall that the PNP Youth critics were led by dynamic Comrade Ato Austin, now PNDC Secretary for Labour and Social Welfare. Mr Ato Austin was so vocal that the PNP could not contain him in the party and therefore jettisoned him. Giving in to the in-party critics, Limann's devaluation could not be implemented or was it the unforeseen December 31st syndrome?

The vociferous and articulate Ato Austin has now mounted the platform defending the PNDC devaluation. No wonder, Saul, who later became known as Paul, persecuted the followers of Christ but when he became converted, he preached in the synagogues. All those who heard him preaching were astonished and asked: "Isn't he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name, (Christ)?" (Acts 9:21).

Uncle Ato, mere rhetorics about the devaluation and the present state of economy would no way help the citizens of the country. Let us see much of your conversion as a true "believer" in devaluation by negotiating with the TUC leaders to adjust the salary scale of the workers.

Johnson Diki Jnr, London

Dikko's surprise

I have only come across a copy of your magazine which carried your interview with Dr Umaru Dikko, the former Nigerian Minister for Transport and Aviation, and that is why my reaction is so late. I do sympathise with him and his anger with the soldiers taking over the government of his country. One thing, however, baffled me in the interview. You quoted Dr Dikko as saying that he was disappointed with the reaction of the western democracies to the coup.

What exactly did he expect these democracies to do? If I remember correctly, Dr Dikko was a very senior member of ex-President Shagari's government which condemned President Reagan thoroughly for intervening in Grenada.

If the United States government, or any of the other western democracies, did not take any action on hearing of the overthrow of Shagari's government, possibly it is because they have learnt their lesson and do not want to risk being condemned in international fora by independent and proud African nations, sure of their security.

Possibly also, the next time there is another Grenada, other Dikkos in other Shagari governments will be a little temperate in their condemnation of "the rescue party from the US".

Akosua Oppong, Sussex.

PNDC must account for monies

My attention has been drawn to a letter, entitled, 'PNDC MUST ACCOUNT FOR MONIES', under the name of some Kwaw Ashiakwei; and I wish to inform you that it contained a lot of inventions and distortions.

In the first place, the June Four Movement was not "an offshoot of the AFRC". None of the founding members was in any way associated with the policy-making process of the AFRC.

Secondly, it is not true that either Tsatsu Tsikata or Fui Tsikata has ever been a member (let alone 'executive') of the Movement.

The JFM was initiated by a group of young students and workers in August 1979, at a time when none of them had any contact with Flt. Lt. Rawlings or Kojo Tsikata. The name was adopted because we sympathised with the motive spirit of the AFRC. Rawlings and Kojo Tsikata were INVITED TO JOIN the Movement in January 1980 after considering the unfair treatment they were getting at the hands of the "democratic" government of the P.N.P. (Remember the way Rawlings was dismissed from the army and the official propaganda that he was responsible for the jailbreak involving Captain Koda and others; a story later proved false by the P.N.P.'s own tCommittee of Inquiry).

Whether or not it was advisable to have invited them is another matter, but the fact is that they were NOT the initiators.

It was not the JFM that invited Buller (Ashiakwei's 'Honduran Revolutionary') to Ghana. However, on having met him and found his world outlook similar to ours, we were prepared to associate with him.

It is also not true that the JFM had a large scale farm in Nungua. Rather, the Nungua branch of the Movement made a large farm at Katamanso, somewhere between Ashiaman and the Accra-Dodowa Road. The farm was funded with contributions from the Nungua members themselves, and other technical assistance (tractors, ploughs, etc) came from some sympathisers, including the Chief of Katamanso, who also provided the land. Labour was offered by the members of the Movement.

The claim that Chris Atim and I were among those who "influenced most, if not all, of the AFRC decisions" is false. During the AFRC period, Chris Atim was still a student of the University of Science and Technology (Kumasi). The nearest I came to any AFRC body was the Confiscated Assets Committee, which was only an identification and distribution agency. None of us was in any policy-making position. Therefore I cannot "enlighten the international community" on the whereabouts of AFRC monies.

Unfortunately, Buller's contention that, as a blackman isolated from Africa by the slave trade, he considered himself at home anywhere in Africa, could not afford us the opportunity to have known whether he had overstayed or not. In any case, that does not justify why Buller cannot be accounted for, despite the P.N.P. claim that he was deported.

I disagreed with Rawlings over policy-matters. If his extreme right wing opponents cannot find justifiable politico-economic reasons to oppose his present right wing policies, and therefore only want to hang on corruption scandals personally generated by Rawlings, I am sorry they may not get many.

When I joined hands to work for the PNDC, I had no immovable or movable (except clothes and books) property. When I left, I had no assets to declare.

Kwasi Adu
Don't whisper in frustration.



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