Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


OAU anniversary

On the occasion of the OAU's 21st anniversary on 25th May, the OAU chairman has attacked the support given by the USA to South Africa and had called on all African states to take all appropriate action to oppose the implications and outcome of the ill advised tour of South Africa by the English rugby team.

In another statement Kenya's Foreign Minister, Elijah Mwangale, said that one of the gravest challenges facing the OAU was posed by the differences within the organisation. He said Africa, realised that economic liberation was as important as political liberation, and all OAU member states should strive to implement the Lagos plan of action for the continent's economic development.

The organisation's interim secretary general, Dr Peter Onu also reaffirmed the OAU's position that UN Security Council Resolution 435 remained the only basis for a solution of the issue of Namibian independence, and that any manoeuvre to circumvent the resolution would be firmly resisted.

In another development Somalia's Deputy Foreign Minister - following his meeting with President Mobutu Sese Seko has expressed Somalia's opposition to Addis Ababa as the venue for the summit and that Mobutu had promised to let him know the views of Zaire's Executive Council after analysing the situation.


June 4 declared holiday

The Cabinet at a meeting has dwelt at length on the organisation of activities of celebration on 4th June 1984, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the process that brought Ghana into the revolutionary camp with Flt-Lt Jerry John Rawlings at its head. Monday 4th June 1984 will be a public holiday throughout the country, to enable the people to commemorate with joy this historic event along with the Ghanaian people.

Official celebrations will be organised on that day in Ouagadougou with the support of the Ghanaian Embassy and other leading Ghanaian personalities.


New decrees on Supremacy of powers

The Federal Military Government has promulgated two new decrees. They are on the Supremacy and Enforcement of Powers Decree 1984 and the Recovery of Public Property Special Tribunals' Amendment No. 2, Decree 1984. An extraordinary Government Gazette cited the two decrees as Decree No. 13 and Decree No. 14.

Decree No. 13 reaffirms the supremacy of a decree or an edict over the modified or unsuspended provisions of the 1979 constitution as contained in the Constitution Suspension Decree 1984. Decree No. 14 amends the Recovery of Public Property Special Tribunal Decree 1984 to create the additional offence of aiding, counselling, procuring or conspiring with any other person to commit an offence under the decree.

The decree is also to render admis sable the evidence of an accomplice and empower the tribunals to convict for an offence alternate to that charge.

The decrees were seen as a reaction to a ruling of a Lagos High Court. Judge, Justice Rosaline Omotoso that her court had jurisdiction to entertain an application for order to prohibit the special military tribunal, Lagos zone, from trying former Governors Bola Ige of Oyo, Bisi Onabanjo of Ogun and Adekunle Ajasin of Ondo, all members of the banned UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria).

Justice Omotoso said that she was convinced that the military tribunal was not acting within the powers given it by attempting to try the ex- Governors for offences allegedly committed in July last year. Justice Omotoso said that where functionaries of government acted outside the provisions of the law, the court would this year. continue to grant relief to the aggrieved citizen.

Two before tribunal

Two former civilian Governors have appeared before the Lagos zone exchange control anti-sabotage tribunal. They were Chief Samuel Mbakwe, Imo State, and Aper Aku, Benue State. No plea was taken and the chairman, Miss Justice Oladikpo Williams, adjourned proceedings until 28th May to enable the accused persons to contact their counsels. Miss Justice Williams had earlier stated that the tribunal had the same powers as the high courts of the state in the exercise of its ordinary jurisdiction. She emphasised that the tribunal should be regarded as a superior court of record and that it would demand from all those appearing before it decorum as was required in a high court.

Governors lose

A Lagos High Court rejected an application by three former state governors of the ousted civilian administration to stop legal proceedings against them by the Lagos military tribunal.

Purge of civil servants

About 2,076 civil servants have lost their jobs in Ondo and Ogun states following purge exercises carried out by the two state governments. In Ondo state, a total of 1,176 civil servants were retired, dismissed or had their appointments terminated.

In Ogun State, about 900 civil servants have been removed following the exercise. A breakdown of the figure showed that 260 of them were retired, 580 had their appointments terminated while 60 others were dismissed from the service.

National Assembly staff dismissed

About 2,100 members of staff of the defunct National Assembly have been confirmed sacked. Ninety per cent of the retrenched workers fall within the junior cadre. The New Nigerian quoting authoritative sources said that a letter from the Federal Civil Service Commission stipulated that the purge exercise was effective from May 17th, this year.

Benevolent military government

Major-General Joe Garba is the first top official to allude to the possible return of the country to civilian rule.

Speaking in Birmingham, Alabama after being given the keys to the city Maj-Gen. Garba who is Nigeria's permanent representative at the UN said that the military administration would hand over power to civilians after restoring the country's economy and the people's welfare to the proper positions.

He said the military administration is a benevolent government, not a dictatorship.

Airways staff dismissed

Four employees of Nigeria Airways have been dismissed by the management for stealing and tampering with mail bags.

A statement by the Public Relations Manager said that the airlines management viewed the action of the employees as grave misconduct and a betrayal of trust punishable with summary dismissal.

Mr Ogunleye stated that "the dismissal of the employees is, however, without prejudice to criminal prosecution by the police who are already investigating the case."

Gambari in Tanzania

The Foreign Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Gambari has ended his visit to Tanzania during which he delivered a message to the chairman of the frontline states, President Nyerere, and discussed with him Africa's present problems.

Referring to the non-aggression accord between Mozambique and South Africa,. the Minister said "it was premature to comment on Nigeria's views but his country wel- comed any pact that could bring about peace and terminate apartheid."

Nigeria will react on Botha

Nigeria will try to make an appropriate response if South African Prime Minister P. W. Botha goes ahead with his planned visit to Britain. Nigerian Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gambari has told a press conference in Maputo.

Mr Gambari, who was on a three day visit to Mozambique, said Nigeria was not convinced by the argument that the visit would allow Britain to impress on Mr Botha the evils of apartheid. He said the South African Premier was already aware of the nature of aparthied and he did not believe that the British Government had the leverage to make him change his policies.

Nigeria, he said, was totally opposed to Britain receiving the leader of a country which had been expelled from the Commonwealth in 1961 and had made representations to the British Government not to go ahead with the visit.

On the subject of the Inkomati Accord, Mr Gambari said Nigeria welcomed any agreement which will stop the South Africans carrying out acts of aggression, destabilisation, and support for unpatriotic elements. However, he emphasised that the pact should not confer the badge of respect- ability on South Africa.

The greatest threat to collective security of Africa, he said, was still the apartheid system. He said Nigeria would express its understanding, symp- athy, and support for the accord while attacking the root problem - apartheid.

Abuja's 1991 target date

Movement of federal ministries to Abuja will start by 1986 with the head of state moving there in 1991. Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Major- General Mamman Vatsa told newsmen at Birnin Kebbi, Sokoto State that the development of the capital would be commensurate with the amount of money the government could give to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Soldiers' national duties

The Chief of Army Staff, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Babangida, has reminded soldiers of their national duty to protect the country and its citizens against any internal or external aggression.

Addressing officers and men of the Seventh Mechanised Infantry Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto, during a familiarisation visit, Maj-Gen Babangida said soldiers should maintain a good relationship among themselves and with civilians. He told the soldiers that adequate training and facilities would be provided for them to enable them to perform their functions efficiently.

Abrogate land decree

The conference of traditional rulers from Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo has called on the Federal Military Government to abrogate the Land Use Decree and revert to the position prior to its promulgation.

In a communique issued in Ibadan after a one-day conference at the University of Ife, the traditional rulers welcomed the declaration of the war against indiscipline (WAI) and pledged to lead their people in injecting discipline into all spheres of life. They also pledged to reinculcate in their people the traditional values and norms which sustained societies in the past.

The traditional rulers expressed happiness that the Government was making agriculture a priority and pledged that they would continue to persuade their people to go back to the farm. The communique also said that the discipline of traditional rulers should primarily be the responsibility of the Traditional Council of Obas before being referred to the State Government.

Financial help to Zimbabwe

The Minister of External Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Gambari, has said that an economically strong Nigeria is good not only for Nigerians but for Africa and the black race. Dr Gambari was speaking in Harare at a luncheon given in his honour by his Zimbabwean counterpart, Dr Witness Mangwende. Dr Mangwende thanked Nigeria for giving Zimbabwe technical assistance in the fields of aviation, engineering and the training of members of the Zimbabwe National Army.

The two Ministers and high ranking officials from both countries had earlier held private discussions aimed at implementing some other aspect of the trade and technical co-operation agreement signed in October 1982.

A source at the Foreign Ministry said that the two sides reached an agreement on the construction of an administrative staff college for Zimbabwe to be financed by Nigeria under the technical assistance programme.


Amendments to constitution

The first ordinary meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling People's Progressive Party (PPP) for 1984 has approved some amendments to the party constitution, according to a Radio Gambia newscast. The amendments, which increased the membership of the constituency executive committees from nine to 20, are still subject to confirmation by the party congress.

The meeting also received and adopted the report by the Secretary General, Sir Dawda Jawara, on the party's activities from April last year up to now. The report, among other things, referred to gains made by the party in various constituencies through the conversion of independent Members of Parliament and thousands of opposition members as well as developments in mass organisation, political education and efforts to improve on its financial situation.


Biya calls for reconciliation

An important meeting of the Central Committee of the Cameroon National Union (UNC) at the Unity Palace under the chairmanship of President Paul Biya, the national Chairman of the UNC observed a minute's silence in memory of Athanase Eteme Oloa, who died recently, and also in memory of the country's soldiers who died on the battlefield as well as the civilians who lost their lives in the recent events which took place in the country in early April 1984.

The national chairman informed the Central Committee that in accordance with Article 21 of 24th August, he had decided to appoint the following comrades as members of the Central Committee: Francois Sengat-Kuoh, Joseph Charles Doumba, Hayatou Sadou, Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, Jean Nkouete, Jean-Marcel Mangeme, Victor Fife Mukete, Essomba Mdongo.

Moving to the first item on the agenda, the national chairman briefed members of the Central Committee on current internal issues and referring to the events which nearly plunged the country into chaos, the national chairman called for reconciliation among Cameroonians and the strengthening of national unity and requested the people to double their efforts at work in order to enable Cameroon to continue with its forward march in an atmosphere of unity, peace and stability.

In a second address, the political secretary briefed members of the Central Committee on the problems posed by the preparation of the fourth ordinary congress of the UNC which is scheduled to take place at Bamenda, in the North-west Province, during the first month in 1985.


Agreements with Bulgaria and North Korea

Co-operation agreements have been signed in Lome between Togo and Bulgaria and between Togo and the DPRK.

The agreement with Bulgaria concerns a programme of scientific, cultural and technical co-operation. According to a press communique, the purpose of this agreement and programme is to promote the development of exchanges between Togo and Bulgaria in the fields of science, education, arts, culture, public health, sports and information.

Bulgaria will grant two bursaries a year to Togolese citizens to study at Bulgarian universities or institutes. The two countries will also exchange lists of publications in their national libraries. As far as information is concerned, the two countries will exchange journalists and writers who will write reports about the two countries.

They will also facilitate the establishment of direct contacts between their respective radio and television services. In the field of public health, the two countries will exchange doctors or specialists at the request of either of the two parties.

The second agreement concerns post and telecommunications. According to the press communique, its purpose is to strengthen the political, economic and cultural relations existing between the two countries. The agreement covers all fields of post and telecommunications, telegrams, telephone communication, telex, postal packets, postal services including the dispatch of letters and the mutual exchange of new postage stamps.


Joint committee with Romania

A joint Mauritanian-Romanian committee has ended its firs session. The two countries signed a protocol defining the fields of bilateral cooperation and showing the readiness of both sides to work within the framework of the agreement signed during the visit of the Head of State to Romania in 1983..

During the closing session the two ministers signed a document defining the areas of cooperation and the provisions made by the two sides in the agreement. The Romanian side informed the Mauritanian delegation of Bucharest's decision to help the country, through financial assistance, to drill boreholes. A Romanian drilling crew is expected in Nouakchott on 15th June to carry out this project.


Communique on drought

The Military Committee for National Redress (CMRN), worried about the anarchic exploitation of the country's forests, resulting in the destruction of the environment has drawn the attention of the people to the following:

1. The catastrophic havoc caused by drought, which is becoming increasingly severe with its evil consequences such as shortages of water, obvious shortfalls in agricultural production, famine, malnutrition, a decrease in the number of cattle, etc.

2. The special case of Macenta region where the great forest reserve covering about 120,000 hectares is suffering from excessive grubbing for the planting of banana, coffee and cocoa.

The CMRN consequently calls on the regional authorities to immediately stop all exploitation by co operatives as well as grubbing by individuals in the forest reserves. A new forestry regulation now being studied will soon be promulgated and will set the conditions for the exploitation of forests which will be beneficial to the country and safeguard the generally fragile tropical ecological systems.

Adoption of French

School children in Guinea would henceforth learn their lessons in French. The country's new leaders had also decided to make English compulsory in secondary schools.


Asantehene's pledge

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II has warned that any attempt by nation wreckers to use the Ashanti Region as a base to cause confusion in the country would be fiercely resisted.

He said the unity of the people of the region was total, and those whose aim was to sow seed of discord among Ghanaians should not be deceived that they would have their way.

Otumfuo gave the warning when he welcomed Major-General Arnold Quainoo, Force Commander, to the Manhyia Palace. He emphasised that he would never allow confusionists to use the region to cause disaffection among the people to disturb the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the country.

No political prisoners?

The Attorney General, George Aikins, says the strict measures taken by the Government to deal effectively with criminals show that the PNDC (Provisional National Defence Council) is totally against inhuman practices. The accusation against the Government of violating human rights are therefore based on the wrong impression that whatever happens in the country must be the direct responsibility of the Government in power.

Mr Aikins, who is also the Secretary for Justice, was delivering the keynote address at the annual general meeting of the Ghana branch of Amnesty International in Accra. He said all the inhuman activities including torture, kidnapping, killing and the disappearances of persons in the community have for some time past been spearheaded by some reactionaries including some misguided supporters of the revolution.

On capital punishment, Mr Aikins said though this has not been abolished, there are no summary or arbitary executions and that every sentence of death is authorised by law.

The Attorney General said the Government has also shown concern about the poor conditions in the prisons and there are no political prisoners in the country.

People detained at the beginning of the 31st December (1981) revolution, who are still being kept, are being investigated for specific offences and will soon appear before the public tribunal. Among those still detained are Mr Riley-Poku and Kankam da Costa, former Minister and Deputy Minister of Defence.

Discussions on OAU

The Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Obed Asamoah, and his Ivorian counterpart, Simeon Ake have had detailed discussions on matters of mutual concern and interest, particularly developments in southern Africa, Western Sahara, Chad and the general economic strategy of the OAU. The issue of the venue for the next OAU and ECOWAS meetings were also discussed. There was a broad agreement and understanding on these issues.

On bilateral issues, the two Ministers discussed the state transport buses locked up in the Ivory Coast. They however noted with satisfaction that there is meaningful dialogue between their two Governments and expressed the belief that this would help eliminate possible areas of misunderstanding between their Governments. The two officials expressed the political will of their Governments to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between their countries.

Minimum investment capital

The new initial minimum foreign capital required for non-Ghanaian investors wanting to establish new enterprises under the proposed Draft Investment Code 1984 is $100,000 (C3.5 million) as equity investment from the investor's own resources.

As a minimum employment criterion, such an investor will also be required to employ not less than 25 Ghanaians in his business as minimum employment criterion.

Mr. E. Y. Bonsu, Head of the Project Development Division of the Ghana Investment Centre said this while speaking at the opening of discussions on the proposed amendments to the 1981 Investment Code on minimum foreign capital provision.

Abolish boarding system

The Ghana National Association of Teachers has called for the abolition of the boarding system and the sixth form in secondary schools. According to the Ghana News Agency the GNAT suggested in a memorandum to the National Educational Commission that the sixth form was a waste of time while boarding reduced student intake.

Students with good passes in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) ordinary level after five years in secondary school should be allowed to enter universities directly as was the case in some countries, the agency quoted the teachers.

Akata-Pore in London

Sergeant Alolga Akata-Pore, one time member of the PNDC, who was arrested in November 1982 has emerged in London.

In an interview with the Network Africa Programme of the BBC, Sgt. Akata-Pore said that he had escaped from Ghana about a week before in great secrecy.

He disclosed that he had been released from jail at the end of January and taken to a place about two miles from his home village by "Rawlings and Tsikata" and told that he was free to go about as he pleased so long as he reported to the police daily.

Sgt. Akata-Pore stated that since his release from jail had not been announced by the government, he feared that he might be killed if somebody saw him walking around. "They might think I had escaped from prison and kill me..”

He gave a background of what led to the break between him and Flt-Lt. Rawlings claiming that Flt-Lt. Rawlings, Joe Abbey and Dr Kwasi Botchway were holding secret talks with the IMF without involving other members of the PNDC or getting the people in the decision-making process. He also accused Flt-Lt. Rawlings and ex-Capt. Kodjo Tsikata of taking decisions without consulting other members of the PNDC.

Full text of the interview will be published next week.

Regional training centre

The Ghana News Agency (GNA) has been selected by UNESCO to act as a resource centre for the West African subregion where news personnel from other countries will be agency trained. The countries include Benin, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

This is part of a 2,500,000 dollar UNESCO project aimed at upgrading news collection and dissemination in news agencies in West Africa. This was disclosed by the UNESCO coordinator for West African news agency development, Mr Fall, when he paid a courtesy call on the Secretary for Information, Miss Joyce Aryee, in Accra. Mr Fall is in the country to discuss the modalities of the project and the terms of agreement.

The project is in three phases and the first phase, which is worth 10,000 dollars, will start as soon as agreements are signed. The money has already been made available to GNA for extension services to enable it cater for the other countries involved. Subsequent phases involve training and a series of seminars. The first seminar, to last six weeks, takes place in Cotonou, Benin in September.

Criticism of accords with South Africa

Accra radio has broadcast a commentary stating that the effects of the accords signed between South Africa and Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland were causing concern world- wide. Since announcing that it had signed an accord, Swaziland had been arresting ANC members and handing them over to South Africa, where they would be "murdered or end up with life imprisonment". "In her eagerness to sing her master's tune, Swaziland is eroding all the gains of the African liberation struggle".

Mozambique "should cast her mind back to the time when she was fighting for her liberation... Is the instinct for self-preservation so great that she has to send away comrades who have no home to go to?"

The commentary then asked whether Mozambique's reported request for South African troops to fight the Mozambique National Resistance was not a pretext for South Africa to "map out strategic areas in Mozambique for future use". Given South Africa's desire for a constellation of states, "inviting her troops into Mozambique is tantamount to Mozambique's surrendering her freedom".

The commentary concluded that African countries "with any conscience" should impress upon their sister countries that “their act is bordering on the betrayal of the causes of African unity and liberation". The developments called for an African defence force, "which can help our sisters in trouble so that they do not turn to the enemy who pretends to be their friend".

Cuba's offer to students

Cuba has offered to sponsor third-year Spanish students from Ghana's universities to undertake their pedagogical training in that country free of charge.

The students presently go to Spain for the training with the Ghana Government bearing half the cost and the Spanish Government bearing the other half.

This gesture is in addition to Cuban Sponsorship of 615 Ghanaian children at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial School at the Isle of Youth also in Cuba.

Co-operation with Upper Volta

Ghana and Upper Volta have signed additional agreements to consolidate the revolution in the two countries. The latest agreement on joint political, security, cultural and sporting activities were concluded after talks between the Upper West Regional Secretary, Mr Yele Chireh, and the Commissioner for the Sisily Province, Mr Bede Balao at Tumu.

A communique issued after the talks called for joint patrols of defence committees and security agencies of the two countries along their common border with the view to exposing dissidents and illegal traffickers in arms. The two delegations called for the early implementation of decisions reached at Bolgatanga this year on joint political rallies, clean-up campaigns and cultural and sporting activities.

Canada's help in oil exploration

To complete the drilling of the second well, Canada has allocated an additional 9,000,000 dollars to Petro Canada International. It is hoped that the second well will be completed by the end of July.

Drilling of a second well for oil in Half-Assini in the Western region began on 18th May. This follows the encouraging results achieved from the first well in the same area by the Canadian petroleum firm, Petro Canada Assistance International Corporation, which is undertaking offshore oil exploration at Half-Assini.

talking drums 1984-06-04 what makes people leave Ghana - nigeria trials changing the rules in midstream