Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Restore subsidies

Mr Augustus K. Yankey, Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the government to restore public subsidies on education, health services, transportation and essential food items.

Opening the 24th national executive council meeting of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of TUC in Accra, Mr Yankey urged the government to introduce child allowance which would also provide an income for workers.

The Secretary-General emphasised that the collective bargaining process under the Industrial Relations Act should be seen as the appropriate method for workers' participation in management.

Population is 12 million

Preliminary results of the 1984 population census shows that Ghana's population is 12,205,574. The 1970 figure was 8,559,313. This is an increase of 42.59 per cent. An official statement gives the breakdown of the population figures for the various regions: Ashanti - 2,089,683; Eastern Region 1,679,483; Greater Accra - 1,420,066; Volta Region - 1,201,095; Brong Ahafo - 1,179,407; Northern Region 1,162,645; Central Region - 1.145,520; Western Region - 1,116,930; Upper East - 771,584; Upper West - 439,161.

According to the statement, the Govern- ment statistician presented the results at the end of June as promised.

PNDC is not the final shape

Mr Justice D.F. Annan, PNDC member, has stated that the PNDC is not the final shape of Government the December 31 process seeks to achieve.

The Council has therefore set itself to identify the problems of a true democracy and shape new democratic institutions to achieve the desired democracy for the people.

But how soon this deal of achieving a true and functional democracy for the people becomes a living reality will depend on the co-operation of Ghanaians themselves. Mr Justice D.F. Annan, Chairman of the National Commission for Democracy. (NCD), made this statement during a familiarisation meeting with the workers and management of the NCD in Accra.

Rawlings returns from Latin America

The Chairman of the PNDC, Flt-Lt. Jerry Rawlings, has arrived back home after his official visit to Nicaragua, Cuba, Guyana and Surinam.

Speaking to the press on behalf of the Chairman, Dr Kwesi Botchway, PNDC Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning and a member of the delegation, described the visit to Nicaragua and Cuba as very inspiring. He said the Nicaraguan revolution has parallels with Ghana's own revolution in the sense that the Nicaraguans are also trying to build lasting democratic structures.

On Cuba, he said the delegation was impressed by the even trend of development in the country. No matter how far away you are from Havana, the capital, social services are equally available. They visited the Isle of Youth where over 600 Ghanaian youths are studying. They found the Ghanaians cheerful and studying hard.

The delegation had useful discussions with Cuban leaders. It praised the keen interest of the Cuban leader, Dr Castro, and the true development of other countries. Dr Botchway said the award of the Order of Jose Marti to Chairman Rawlings was an honour to the people of Ghana. Apart from Nicaragua, Cuba, Guyana and Surinam, the delegation made refuelling stops in Brazil and Sierra Leone.

Pledge to defend revolution

The Under Secretary for Information, Mr Kofi T. Quakyi, has said that the peoples of Ghana, Nicaragua, Cuba and El Salvador would live with their Revolutions or die along with them to the last man and woman.

He was speaking at the Press Club on "A night with the people of Nicaragua". Mr Quakyi said "we will together defend our ideas, our revolutions, our right to uphold noble and just principles regardless of the price and circumstances."

Ghana's new friends!

In the wake of the recent visit to Nicaragua by Flt-Lt. J.J. Rawlings, Chairman of the PNDC, also described in certain circles as Chief Cadre of the Revolution, the Daily Graphic has suddenly become full of stories on Nicaragua and has featured on its front page a story on Nicaragua and a picture of the Nicaraguan leader, Mr Daniel Ortega.

In the story Mr Ortega was accusing the Reagan administration of considering massive air and ground attacks on his country before the US Presidential elections on November 6.

Nicaragua, with capital Managua, is a Central American country waging what its Sandinistan rulers call a revolution. It recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of this revolution to which Flt-Lt. Rawlings was invited.

Workers' solidarity with Nicaragua

Workers of Millet Textiles Limited in Accra have pledged their solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and called on the PNDC to set up an institution through which people, sympathetic to the Nicaraguan Revolution, could channel their contributions to the people of that country.

The workers made the pledge at a rally on political awareness organized by the Greater Accra Regional Defence Committee (RDC) at which it was pointed out that the successes of the Nicaraguan Revolution were achieved through hard work and dedication and that Ghanaians must learn from their example.

Call for solidarity

A member of the Prisons Council, the Reverend Father Joseph Visser, has said that international solidarity is the only means by which workers in the world can be liberated from capitalist exploitation.

Father Visser was speaking at a rally organized by the Political Department of the Trades Union Congress in solidarity with the workers of Nicaragua on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution.

He said the struggles of people and the manifestation of their consciousness against exploitation must be paramount in what- ever they did, pointing out that the Nicaraguan Revolution was made possible through the consistent struggles of those people.

Father Visser deplored the capitalist system which treated workers in a way that disqualified them from participation and control of production decisions.

Lemaire's grandson shot dead

Another tragedy befell the Le Maire family, when the grandson of the late Anglican Archbishop, the Most Rev. Le Maire, was accidentally shot by a policeman on guard duty at the Bishop's residence a day after the burial ceremony.

The driver of the Archbishop, his nephew, Anthony Mensah who was driving the Archbishop at the time of the fatal accident was also at the scene of the shooting incident but escaped unhurt for the second time.

The grandson, Alswell Kofi Mensah, 22, a third year student of the Takoradi Polytechnic, was home from school for the funeral of his grandfather.

Wife of envoy killed

Mrs Nan Burns, the wife of the British High Commissioner in Ghana was killed in a car accident outside Accra. The envoy and their daughter who were travelling with her were seriously injured.

Corn-mills for farmers

The Bank of Ghana has concluded negotiations with the European Economic Community (EEC) for the supply of over C200 million worth of corn-mills and agricultural machinery for allocation to farmers through their rural banks. In all 60 rural banks out of 83 existing banks which were opened before June 30, 1983, will benefit.

The agricultural machinery includes marine engines and also materials like fishing nets, cutlasses, wire nets to be supplied under the aid agreement.

Changes welcomed by British church council

The British Council of Churches has described the present trend of affairs in Ghana as healthy. Making the assessment after studying a statement by the Catholic bishops of Ghana at their recent annual conference, the African secretary of the Council, Mr Bryan Brown, said reports of changes that are taking place in Ghana at present are welcome news for Ghanaians and others who love the country.

Mr Brown, accompanied by other senior officials of the council, was speaking during a meeting with members of the Ghana Union and officials of the Ghana High Commission in London to discuss economic, social and political problems facing Ghana. He also said a recent report on Ghana published by the London-based Amnesty International on human rights was very encouraging.

Mr Brown said the council was pleased that the Catholic bishops were satisfied with the social, political and economic developments in Ghana. He referred to the bishops' statement which commended the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) for the dramatic relaxation in tension in the country following the lifting of the curfew, reopening of the country's borders and checking on cases of brutality and harassment of individuals, adding: These are signs of political security and a healthy outlook.

Addressing the meeting, Rev. Ben Teteh, Chairman of the Ghana Union, denied that the changes that have taken place in Ghana since the December revolution were aimed at unsettling foreign churches. Ghana's transformation, he said, involves all people including the church. Rev. Teteh explained that before the intervention of the PNDC, Ghana was almost bankrupt and, since taking over, the PNDC has taken measures to minimise the suffering of the people.


Gen. Doe to lead democratic party

Head of State Gen. Samuel Doe has accepted a request to run as President. Consequently, he has announced the name of his political party, Details of the formation of the party, National Democratic Party of Liberia will, however, be announced later.

According to an announcement by Gen. Doe about the country's political activities, his decision to run as president followed acceptance of requests to that effect from chiefs and elders, the Marketing Association and the Grand Kru country. Gen Doe also referred to the overwhelming support given him by the Liberian army.

Further, the Head of State has called on all Cabinet Ministers who may want to form political parties or associate with political parties to resign their posts.

Gen. Doe made the announcement at a Cabinet meeting in which he briefed members on recent political decisions in the country. He said the privilege to resign so as to form or associate with political parties also extends to Deputy and Assistant Ministers as well as other officials of Government who may want to choose their own political career.

Gen. Doe stressed the need for honesty and sincerity in the months ahead and re emphasised that anyone causing confusion and disruption in the society will be detained until a civilian government is inducted into office.

The Head of State also used the occasion to introduce the Vice-President of the Interim National Assembly to the Cabinet. Dr Harry Moniba expressed appreciation to the Liberian leader for his preferment and expressed his commitment to the goals and aspirations of Gen. Doe and the Government of the Republic of Liberia.

Unification party formed

One of the presidential aspirants, Gabriel Kpoelleh, has announced the formation of a new political party. Mr Kpoelleh said at a news conference in Monrovia that his party is to be known as the Liberia Unification Party, LUP. He said he was forming a political party because the Liberian people were looking forward to a change in their circumstances by the installation of a more purposeful and responsible government through the ballot box.

Mr Kpoelleh outlined the objectives of his new party which he said would establish a fair and just democracy in Liberia. He spoke of the maintenance of national unity and stability as well as the security of life and property. Mr Kpoelleh said his party would work for the achievement of self- sufficiency in the production of major staple food commodities and raw materials and revive Liberia's economy.

He stressed his party's commitment to improving the health conditions of the Liberian people. Mr Kpoelleh said the party remains committed to the free enterprise system. He said he will also ensure press freedom as well as freedom of speech and religion. Mr Kpoelleh, an educator, said his party will work for the improvement of Liberia's educational system by providing better training for teachers. He hopes to make the teaching profession more attractive.

MOJA'S new party

There are plans for the formation of two other political parties. A release issued by MOJA, the Movement for Justice in Africa, said the Movement has already formed a provisional committee chaired by Dr Amos Sawyer, a political science professor at the University of Liberia.

The other party organised by a lawyer, Wade E. Appleton, is also known as the National Democratic Party. Mr Appleton was former Defence Counsel at the special military tribunal.

Mr G. Bacchus Mathews announced the formation of a United People's Party just a couple of hours after the lifting of the ban on politics on July 26.

The special election commission is expec- ted to issue guidelines shortly to guide various parties hoping to contest the elections scheduled for October next year.

Oil agreement with Nigeria

Government and a Belgian fund recently signed a joint venture agreement for the re- habilitation, development and operation of the Kabota rubber plantation in Maryland County. The agreement provides for the establishment of a Kabota rubber corporation with equity capital of 4,000,000 dollars.

This joint venture corporation is to be in-corporated within the next two months and will contribute to economic security in Maryland County and improve the living conditions of families in that region of the country.

Similarly, the Liberian Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) recently concluded a technical co-operation agreement with an Austrian Government-owned corporation for the revitalisation and expansion of the refinery. This agreement will ensure a steady supply of crude products for the Liberian market until the refinery becomes completely operational.

Meanwhile, LPRC and the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have entered into an agreement in which NNPC will supply 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Libiera. This agreement will serve as a beginning of the strong economic relations between Liberia and Nigeria. These measures were contained in Gen. Doe's Independence address to Liberians.

Paper to resume publication

The management of the Observer corporation have resumed publication of the Daily Observer newspaper. According to a press release from the corporation, in addition to the Daily Observer, its sister paper, the Sunday Observer, will also be published on weekends.

The management of the Observer corp- oration has meanwhile expressed its appreciation to Head of State, Dr Samuel K. Doe, for his intervention. The paper was ordered reopened by the Head of State on July 26.



Aid from the EEC

Four agreements totalling 1.300 million CFA francs were signed on July 30, 1984 at the office of the Minister of Planning and Cooperation between the EBC and Upper Vol. The first agreement, part of the special programme to fight world famine, consists of setting up a working capital of 688,000,000 CFA francs to enable the National Graits Board to purchase local cereals throughout the territory.

The second agreement is aimed at encouraging the timbering of the Mossi plateau by creating and improving nurseries and by helping the national centre of afforestation in its projects. The funds made available for this project amount to 172,000,000 CFA francs

The third agreement consists of a special loan granted to the national agricultural red fund to enable it to lend about 250.000 CFA francs to 5,000 farmers to purchase pairs of een as well as equipment farming with yoked on. The loan amounting to $16,000,000 CFA francs is repayable in 40 years at an interest rate of 5% with a 10-year grace period.

The Fourth agreement is a grant of 2000 CFA francs to finance part of the cost of internal transport of food aid. This grant was made to Upper Volta by the BBC Commission within the framework of emergency aid to drought-stricken African countries.


Claims of torture denied

The government has replied to allegations by Amnesty International that 120 people had been secretly executed in connection with the attempted coup on April 6, saying than the rights group had displayed "intolerable ignorance" about the coup.

A statement from the Information and Culture Ministry said: "Justice and the defence of human values makes demands that nobody had a right to ignore, including Amnesty International"

This was the first official reaction to the accusations made by the humanitarian organisation in a report. Although the reply did not contain an explicit denial of Amnesty's charges, claims of torture were indirectly denied

Amnesty also said dozens of people allegedly involved in the coup had been imprisoned following brief appearances before military courts

The ministry statement said Amnesty's call to Cameroonian President Paul Biya to make the trial proceedings public showed a “discourteous and scornful attitude" and revealed its inexcusable ignorance about the causes and consequences of the sad events of April 6"

According to the principle of the separation of powers, the president, as head of the executive, did not have to give an account of court proceedings, which came under the judiciary, the statement said.

Speaker's visit to Lagos

The Speaker of National Assembly, Solomon Tandem Muna, arrived in Nigeria on August 1 on a one-day official visit and was received at the Murtala Muhammad airport by the Minister of External Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Gambari.

New head of national security

A Presidential Decree has appointed Mr Ekani Denis to the post of Delegate General for National Security.

Islamic Development Bank aid

The Islamic Development Bank and Cameroon have signed two agreements under which the bank will grant 5,000,000 US dollars to Cameroon to implement a water network project in rural areas and 1,100,000 dollars in the form of technical assistance to conduct a survey on forest resources in the country.


Donate a tree

In a broadcast to the nation over Niamey radio on the eve of Niger's 23rd anniversary President Seyni Kountche said one of the greatest challenges facing the country was desert encroachment, and called on every- one to donate a tree to the nation.

Other measures he announced to fight desert encroachment included the "institutionalisation of a national service involving the struggle against desert encroachment", and the creation of a "green belt" in areas threatened by the desert. The president said that every victory won in the struggle against desert encroachment was a major contribution to the battle for food self-sufficiency.

He said he was counting on the international community to support Niger's overcoming anguish and hunger. He said the current rainy season has satisfied expec- tations and brought relief to their hearts, in spite of an irregular start.

Concerning the economic crisis, he said the Government had taken strict measures in accordance with the programme agreed on with the IMF, and the one to be agreed on with the World Bank on a structural re- organisation of the economy. The measures would fight anarchy, injustice and gross anomalies in the management of state enterprises and joint ventures.

He condemned the granting of massive contracts to certain partners in return for substantial commissions and "the granting of privileges to those commonly called expatriates".


Portugal's co-operation agreements

Lisbon radio has reported that during his West African tour, the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Jaime Gama, signed co-operation agreements with Ivory Coast and Benin. An exchange of ambassadors between Portugal and Ivory Coast was expected to take place by the end of the year and trade between the two countries was to be increased. Portugal and Benin had signed economic, technical, cultural and scientific cooperation agreements. A delegation of Portuguese experts would be going to Benin to assist in build- ing deep-freeze installations and to modernise its fishing fleet.

Kerekou re-elected president

The new government of Benin Republic has named 15 ministers for its new cabinet as against 22 previously as part of the country's austerity measures.

The changes were proposed by the Head of State Matthew Kerekou who has been re- elected president.

There are three new faces in the cabinet, Hospice Antonio, professor of political economy at the National University of Benin, who becomes Finance Minister, Didier Dassi, a senior military officer who becomes Justice Minister, and Frederic Affo, Benin's former Ambassador to Cuba and now Foreign Affairs Co-operation Minister.

Amnesty for political prisoners

The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Benin People's Revolutionary Party and the President of the Republic has announced that all political prisoners in the People's Republic except those implicated in the ignoble armed aggression of Sunday, January 16, 1977, have been pardoned and granted freedom.

The decision was made at the suggestion of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Benin People's Revolutionary Party during its extraordinary session.


Nwobodo gets more years

Former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo has been sentenced to another 252 years' imprisonment by the Federal Military Tribunal in Enugu, Anambra State. He was found guilty on a 12 count charge of corruption. The sentence, which is 21 years on each count is, however, to run concurrently. Chief Nwobodo is also to refund 2.695,000 naira to the state government. Those who appeared with Chief Naobodo at judgement were his personal secretary, Mr Sylvester Okolo, who was jailed for 21 years after being acquitted on two out of three counts preferred against him, while the former secretary to Nwobodo's government, Mr Paul Egbogu was discharged and acquitted on all the seven charges preferred against him.

In his judgement, the chairman of the tribunal, Air Commodore Muktar Mohammed, said that in giving sentence, the passionate address of both the Catholic Archbishop of Enugu, J.N. Dimoji, and the resident pastor of the Saint Matthew Church, Amechi Awkanaw, Rev. E.C. Namani, on behalf of Chief Nwobodo were taken into account.

Longer prison sentence for governor

A former Bendel governor, Ambrose Alli, has been sentenced to 72 years' imprison- ment by the Ibadan zone of the special tribunal on recovery of public property. He was found guilty on a three-counts charge. Alli will, however, spend 24 of the 72 calendar years in jail as the sentence will run concurrently. He was also ordered to refund 1,200,000 naira to the Federal Military Government and a further 57,356.75 naira which was the interest which accrued on the 1,200,000 naira. Alli had on June 18 been sentenced to a total of 66 calendar years by the tribunal.

Stamp out illegal trafficking

Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has appealed for the co-operation of Nigeria's neighbours in stamping out currency trafficking and importation of illegal goods, especially tobacco and drugs. Maj-Gen. Buhari made the appeal when a delegation of the foreign ministers of Togo, Benin and Niger Republic visited him at Dodan Barracks. The Ministers had come with special messages from their Heads of State for Maj-Gen. Buhari.

Maj-Gen. Buhari said that Nigerian industries were relatively young and needed protection. He said that Nigeria had allowed certain products, especially petroleum and relief materials, to pass to its neighbours to alleviate their suffering and urged countries in the sub-region to co-operate with each other to ensure the security of the region.

The leader of the delegation, Mr Anani Akakpo-Ahianzo of Togo, said that he had come with messages of support for, and co- operation with, Nigeria in its efforts to revamp its economy. He said that a rapid solution to Nigeria's economic problem would benefit the sub-region and called for regular consultations on problems affecting Countries in the region.

Nigeria and the three countries are members of ECOWAS. The other two Foreign Ministers are Mr Tiaminu Adjibade of Benin and Mr Ide Oumarou of Niger.

No base to foment trouble

The Federal Military Government has said that no foreign interests can use Nigeria as a base to foment trouble in neighbouring African countries. Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, made this point clear when he received a delegation from President Paul Biya of Cameroon at Dodan barracks. General Buhari said that as a matter of policy, Nigeria would want to see her neigh- bours politically and economically strong. This, the Head of State explained, was because any instability in a neighbouring country was likely to affect Nigeria..

The leader of the delegation, Mr Solomon Tandem Muna, who is the President of the National Assembly of Cameroon, had earlier delivered a special message from the Cameroonian leader to Gen. Buhari. In the message, President Biya explained the current events in Camer- oon and assured Nigeria of his government's support at all times. The Cameroonian leader also called for the strengthening of relations between the two countries.

Activities of dissidents

The Ministers of the External Affairs and Internal Affairs of four countries have held a meeting in Lome, Togo to "discuss some common problems facing the countries including subversive activities of dissidents, drug and currency trafficking, security matters, border closure and activities of alien criminals".

The countries are host Togo, Ghana, Nigeria and Benin.

The meeting was preceded by visits by three foreign ministers from Francophone countries to Nigeria with messages from their various leaders. The countries are Togo, Benin and Niger.

Relations with Britain

The news agency of Nigeria has reported that Britain is considering the possibility of sending an envoy to Nigeria to discuss ways of resolving the strained relations between the countries. Quoting British diplomatic sources the agency said that other moves to ease tensions between the two countries were also under consideration. They added that a direct and personal contact with the Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu would provide an opportunity to mend fences.

Nigeria will remain in club

Nigeria's acting High Commissioner in London Mr Ezekiel Dimka, has repudiated that his country was contemplating leaving the Commonwealth because of Britain's links with South Africa.

Speaking at the opening of a Nigerian textiles exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute in London, he said he wished to dismiss the speculations in the press that Nigeria is considering quitting the Commonwealth."

Mr Dimka did, however, rebuke Britain for inviting the South African Prime Minister, Mr P.W. Botha, to London and for allowing the recent South African tour by the English Rugby Union. Those actions had gone a long way to undermine the spirit behind the formation of the Commonwealth club."

First oil well in Chad Basin

The spudding of Nigeria's first oil well in the Lake Chad Basin was performed on July 28 by the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof. Tam David-West. Before then, drilling and related oil activities had been limited to the Niger Delta Basin, leading to finds in Cross River, Ondo, Rivers, Bendel and Imo states.

The operation in the Chad Basin is expected to increase the country's oil reserves and enhance its earnings from oil which is responsible for 95% of the country's foreign exchange.

Measures against religious fanatics

Religious fanatics of Bauchi origin who have been identified to spearhead recent religious disturbances in Gongola and Borno States are to be "arrested and brought to book", the Military Governor of Bauchi State, Brigadier Sani Sami has said.

The Government gave the indication while receiving the report of a committee of the military administration in the State appointed earlier to look into Islamic affairs in the State with a view to fore- stalling any religious disturbances in the State.

He said that with the religious disturbances that have taken place first in Kano then in Borno and recently in Gongola States, Bauchi State could not remain idle in the face of such threats, hence the need for the committee. He noted that the Federal Government itself was interested in the report of the committee..

Brig. Sami commended the committee for producing what he called a comprehensive report and gave the assurance that its recommendations, aimed at "stamping out" religious friction and eventual disturbances, would be implemented.

Trade with the Soviet Union

Nigeria's trade deficit with the Soviet Union reached an all-time high in four years. in 1983 at 286,300,000 naira, according to a trade report made available to the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN). The report, released by the Soviet Embassy in Lagos, showed that Nigeria's imports, worth 348,300,000 naira and exports valued at 62,000,000 naira were also at a peak during the period under review. The deficit for Nigeria was 240,700,000 in 1982 and 145,800,000 in 1981.


Number 3 Collingham Gardens is again the place for the first general meeting of the Adisadel Old Boys Association on 25 August, 1984.

The agenda include discussion on the preparations towards the 75th anniversary of the school next year, and the 2 million cedis, Adisadel Building renovation project, fundraising activities of the London branch etc. All old boys must therefore make it a point to be there.

talking drums 1984-08-13 Commodities on the streets - Happy days in Ghana