Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places, Events - Happenings

Namibia: reclaiming the peoples' health

Edited by Tim Lobstein and the Namibian Support Committee Health Collective. Published by Action on Namibia Publications, for the Namibia Support Committee. 170pp illustrated.
Namibia's diamond fields are among the richest in the world yet the health of most Namibians is so poor that half the people have died by their fortieth birthday. Colonisation, dispossession and war have brought epidemics of infection, chronic malnutrition, disability and death. Political independence after a century of foreign domination can only be the start of the long process to reclaim the Namibian people's health. Drawing on the experience of health workers from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Latin America, this book looks at what a people-oriented health service might mean.

Contributors examine the causes of ill-health embedded in social and economic conditions and discuss the training and political orientation of health workers, their relation to the people they serve, and how health education can be a politicising experience. The book argues that improvements in health care will depend on selecting community health I workers who are answerable to, and even paid by, their local community.

This book is an essential overview of current progressive thinking on health and underdevelopment. It will be of value to health workers, planners and political organisers in developing coun- tries, and to aid agencies, development organisations and individuals concerned with health and with Southern Africa.


Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (FORWARD) launches the Sister-to-Sister programme in Britain. Using the model of the highly successful Sister-to-Sister programme in Sweden, FORWARD is creating a network between women in Britain and women in Africa. By becoming a sponsor and paying £3 or £5 quarterly, or £10 or £15 annually, you can help alleviate women's and children's suffering in Africa, particularly in the practice of "female circumcision". Sponsors will receive a regular newsletter which will provide a channel for exchange of information between women here and African women on a range of issues relating to health and will emphasise the positive practices as much as the problems.

For details contact FORWARD, 38 King Street, London WC2E 85T. Telephone: 01-379 6889.


Douala airport closed

Two people died and 90 were injured aboard a national airlines passenger plane at Douala airport. Initial reports said 100 people had been killed. A government statement did not say how the fire started in the plane, a Boeing 737, which was about to take off on an internal flight to Yaounde with 116 people on board.

While Cameroun Radio blamed the incident on a fire in one of the plane's engines which had spread to the fuselage, a previously-unknown group calling itself the Cameroun Liberation Front claimed from neighbouring Gabon to have planted a bomb on the aircraft. An anonymous caller telephoned Gabon's Africa number one radio station in Libreville to make the claim, saying the group had not intended to kill anyone.

Cameroun officials have denied that the fire was caused by a bomb, and reliable sources in Douala said that the blaze erupted when kerosine from a ruptured fuel tank leaked onto the tarmac and was ignited by the plane's engines.

The sources said the flames spread, causing panic among the passengers, who were forced to jump from a forward exit, when the plane's emergency chutes failed to operate. The plane was totally destroyed in the fire. Meanwhile, Douala International Airport has been closed by the country's airport authority. In a statement the Cameroun Airport Authority said it had closed the airport's runway to facilitate repairs on some damage done to it.

Normal flights will resume as soon as the repairs are finished.

Ivory Coast

Co-operation in tropical medicine

Ivory Coast and Colombia have signed a scientific and technical co-operation accord under which they will aid each other in sectors such as tropical medicine and agronomy. Colombia's Ambassador in Abidjan, Alberto Zalamea, said the two countries would exchange information and experts in the sectors. He said the accord was a result of the recent visit to Ivory Coast of the head of Colombia's National Coffee Federation, Jorge Cardenas.


Bawumia leads PNDC delegation

A government delegation led by a special envoy of the Provisional National Defence Council, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumiah is in Saudi Arabia to deliver a special message from the PNDC Chairman to King Fahd. On the same plane were 250 pilgrims. An official statement in Accra said the over burdened national economy had made it extremely difficult for more than this number to go on this pilgrimage.

Alhaji Buwumia was the northern region chairman of ex-President Limann's ruling party and chief executive of the Cocoa Marketing Board under the PNP.

PNDC member dies

The death has been announced in Accra of Naa Polkuu Konkuu Chirri, Nadom Naa, a member of the Provisional National Defence Council. He died in Accra on the 25th of last month after a short illness.

In a radio and television broadcast, another member of the PNDC, Mr Justice D.F. Annan, said the government had decided in consultation with the bereaved family to give the late Nadom Naa a state funeral.

Absentee convicts

All persons convicted in absentia will automatically forfeit their assets and bank accounts to the state.

This is contained in a new Public Tribunal Law just released and which takes effect from December 21, 1983.

The law also provides for the establishment of District and Community Public Tribunals.

Establishment of national public tribunal

A law providing for the establishment of a national public tribunal to hear and determine appeals from the decisions or orders of a regional public tribunal has been published in Accra.

According to the Public Tribunal Law 1984, the national public tribunal shall consist of at least three members and not more than five. One of them will act as chairman. The law, signed by the Chairman of the PNDC (Provisional National Defence Council), Flt-Lt. Rawlings, stipulates that a decision of the national public tribunal shall be final.

It also provides that findings made by any commission of inquiry shall, in the interest of justice, be reviewed and the tribunal may confirm, reverse or modify any such findings.

Goods will be seized

The Secretary for Trade, Mr Ato Ahwoi, has announced that goods imported by traders without proper import documents will be confiscated to the state. He said under no circumstances will any of the goods be released to the owners until they produce genuine papers covering them.

Mr Ahwoi, who was scheduled to address members of the General Traders association was speaking to newsmen when none of the members turned up for the meeting. He reminded traders that they have 60 days within which to clear their goods, adding that after the grace period the goods are liable to confiscation under the law.

He said without a proper clearance certificate, certificates of registration and special unnumbered licence, the goods will be liable to seizure.

Energy experts leave for Brazil

A delegation of Ghanaian experts in energy production and allied techniques will leave Ghana for Brazil to study that country's energy production procedures, conserva tion and maintenance of equipment.

The visit is the result of a co-operation programme between the governments of Brazil and Ghana in the exploration of alternative sources of energy.

Conscientization programme

The Cape Coast branch of the New Democratic Movement (NDM) has called on the PNDC to come out as a matter of urgency with a national conscientization programme.

The programme should aim at infusing into the broad masses, especially the youth, sense of patriotism and nationalism for the rapid social transformation of the country. The movement has therefore suggested the setting up of educational committees at the community level and at work places to educate the people to understand the changes that are taking place in the country.

Law on defamation

The PNDC has published a new Draft Law on Defamation which is to be discussed by the general public.

The law is being published in pursuance of the PNDC (Establishment) Proclamation, 1981.

The draft law said a person will be liable if he intentionally publishes any insulting matter concerning another person without lawful justification.

Damages for defamation shall be compensatory and shall be limited to damages for the relevant harm.

Appeal against Amoo Addy's discharge

The Special Public Prosecutor has appealed against the acquittal and discharge of Nii Amoo-Addy on a charge of murder by the Public Tribunal. The Special Prosecutor argued that the trial panel's decision is evidently wrong in law and inconsistent with the reasoning of the tribunal. According to the Special Prosecutor, the tribunal's decision amounts to a blatant miscarriage of justice.

The Chairman of the PNDC, Flt-Lt. J.J. Rawlings, ordered the re-arrest of Amoo Addy by the police after his acquittal.

No politics with food

Mr Robert Fritts, United States Ambassador in Ghana, has stated that his country does not play politics with food aid it sends to needy countries.

Answering a question on his country's mode of food assistance to developing countries at the Ghana Press Club in Accra, Mr Fritts said: "We do not play politics with food, we send them purely as an aid."

No ties with Israel

The Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dr Obed Asamoah has emphasised that the government has no intention of resuming diplo- matic relations with Israel nor establishing ties with South Africa.

This is because the policies of the two governments are against the dignity of man which Ghana seeks to promote. Dr Asamoah was giving a lecture at a one month refresher course in Accra for working journalists and public relations practitioners on Ghana's foreign policy.

Fosuhene is new Adansihene

The Kingmakers of the Adansi Stool have elected Mr Samuel Asante-Fosuhene, a journalist, lawyer and former parliamentarian as the new Adansihene.

The election of Mr Asante-Fosuhene, 46, was announced by the Krontihene of could occur in old age. Fomena after a whole night of deliberation by the Kingmakers to elect a successor to Nana Kwantwi Barima, who was destooled by the Asanteman Council three months ago.

Two other royals, Mr Dua Kyei, a former assistant headmaster of Prempeh College, Kumasi and Mr K. Ababio a graduate teacher in Nigeria, contested Mr Fosuhene.


The annual Homowo festival of the Osu people of Ghana will be held on Sunday September 15 at 2pm at the Saint Andrews United Reformed Church Hall, Salisbury Road, London NW6. For further information, please contact the Secretary on 01-740 8507.


Traditional rulers disciplined

The Ooni of He, Oba Kunade Sijuwade. the Olubuse II and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero have both been suspended from chairmanship of the Oyo and Kano State Councils of Obas and Chiefs respectively. The announcements to this effect, which were made in Ibadan and Kano by their state governors, followed the trip to Israel which the Federal Military Government described as "embarrassing".

In a release issued in Ibadan, the Oyo State Governor, Lt-Col. Oladayo Popoola said: "The Ooni is suspended from office for six months for making a trip to Israel without clearance from the governor's office", Governor Popoola confined Oba Siju wade to Ile-Ife, his domain, for a period of six months. The governor explained that it was true that the Ooni of Ife applied for and got the state military government's approval to travel abroad, but added that the Ooni did not indicate any intention whatsoever to visit Israel. The passport and any other travelling documents of Oba Sijuwade have been declared invalid.

The Governor of Kano State, Air Commodore Hamza Abdullahi, also told journalists at the Government House that the Emir of Kano's passport had been withdrawn and that he had been prevented from travelling outside the country until further notice.

Kwashiokor on the increase

An investigation by the New Nigerian at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Teaching Hospital, Kaduna, has revealed that Kwashiokor and Marasmus -- diseases of protein deficiency are on the increase.

The disorders which result from Protein Calorie Malnutritioun (PCM) mostly affect children in severe cases, who may be permanently retarded. Marasmus, however.

Informed medical sources at the hospital said the increase in the number of cases reported at the hospital was due to the spiralling cost of baby food.

A market survey showed that a 450 gramme tin of 'similac' with iron that sold for 4.50 naira four months ago now sells at 8 naira, while a similar tin of SMA baby food sells for 10 naira instead of 4 naira four months ago.

Drugs shortage in hospitals

Doctors in Rivers State have urged the government to find a solution to the problem of drugs shortage in government owned hospitals.

In their meeting with Governor Fidelis Oyakhilome in Port Harcourt under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Associa tion (NMA), the doctors said they were also worried over the health care delivery in the state.

Solution to the problem they suggested, could be found in bulk buying of drugs and equipment for the hospitals as well as the granting of import licences to the Ministry of Health to buy drugs and equipment directly from the crown agents.

Airline boss wanted by London police

The managing director of Nigeria Airways Group, Captain Bernard Banfa, is believed to be one of two Nigerians wanted by Scotland Yard in connection with the kidnapping of Alhaji Umaru Dikko on July 5. Scotland Yard are also looking for two Israelis in connection with the same incident. Group Captain Banfa, a former Air Force Officer, was appointed head of the national airline in January after the military coup.

He was reported to be in Britain just before Alhaji Dikko was seized but is now back in Lagos where his residence is being. guarded by soldiers.

Meanwhile, four other men, three Israelis and a Nigerian, have been committed for trial at the London Central Criminal Court on charges of stealing and unlawfully carrying away Alhaji Dikko against his will and Common Law.

Government denies crate story

The Federal Military Government has denied that Group Captain Bernard Banfa, the managing director of Nigeria Airways, who was wanted for questioning in connection with the kidnapping in July of Alhaji Umaru Dikko, the former Transport Minister, escaped from Britain in a crate marked as diplomatic baggage.

Ex-Governor's wife jailed for 21 years

Victoria Mbakwe, wife of the former Imo Governor, has been convicted on eight of the nine-count charge of corrupt practices and unlawful enrichment preferred against her at the Enugu zone of the special military tribunal on the recovery of public property. She was sentenced to 21 calendar years and 21 days' imprisonment on each of the first two counts. She was also sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on each of the remaining counts, except count eight. The sentences are to run concurrently.

The chairman of the tribunal, Air Commodore Muktar Mohammed, said that Victoria would, in addition, forfeit to the Federal Government, 1,354,459.05 naira and other sums of money totalling more than 2,000,000 naira.

Don't expect surplus too soon

The Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Brigadier Idiagbon, has noted that the proposed fourth Nigerian international trade fair scheduled for November this year would show to the outside world the industrial potentialities of the country. He said that even at hard times such as Nigeria was currently passing through, it was necessary to engage in trade promotion to serve as impetus to the economic measures being taken by the present administration to resuscitate the economy.

According to him, the fair would also expose to foreigners the opportunities offered by the Nigerian market so as to generate in them the desire to invest in the economy.

On the present state of the nation's economy, the Chief of Staff noted that it would be naive for any one to expect that barely four months after the budget was announced the economy would have graduated from scarcity to surplus. He added that the financial assistance of over 690m naira to State Governments to pay arrears of salaries, was a clear testimony that the military intervention came to save a situa tion that would have got worse.

Nigerian is part of research team

A Nigerian cell biologist at the Harvard Medical School is part of the medical research team that has been working on a novel method of growing a human skin in the laboratory which is considered essential in the successful treatment of serious burn victims.

The research team's efforts received world-wide publicity when such large-scale laboratory-grown skin was used successfully to treat two children aged five and six who had suffered burns to 97 per cent and 98 per cent of their bodies respectively. The Nigerian medical research scholar is Mr Olaniyi Kehinde.

Officers for Bar Association

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has elected new officials for 1984/85. They are Prince Bola Ajibola (president); Messrs Ebele Nwokoye (first vice-president), A.I. Adeyemi (second vice-president); C.O. Scott-Emuakpor (third vice-president) and Bode Popoola (treasurer).

Others are Mr A.O. Fayokun (general secretary); Mrs Chinwe Iyizoba (assistant general secretary); Mr Agbo Olalye (financial secretary) and Akin Halloway (publicity secretary).

Government will end criminal activities

Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Brig. Tunde Idiagbon, has said in Rukuba, near Jos, that for the first time in the history of the nation the Federal Military Government would bring to a logical conclusion the criminal activities of former politicians.

Declaring open the training week of the 3rd Armoured Division, Brig. Idiagbon said that although the method was gradual, it was consistent with the revolution aimed at enforcing probity and accountability in the body politic of the nation. He said that no public officer found guilty of abuse of office would escape from "just punishment".

He said that the Federal Military Government was determined to revive the economy and give the country a purposeful sense of direction. "Economic self-reliance is our goal. We have to produce enough agro based raw materials to keep the wheels of our industries rolling", he said.

He urged the soldiers to render dedicated service that satisfies the need of the majority rather than the greed of the few. Earlier, the general officer commanding the 3rd Armoured Division, Brig. Salihu Ibrahim, said that the training week would discuss national issues and operational problems in the Army.

Third phase of WAI

Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has directed that henceforth the national flag should be hoisted on all public buildings. Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Brig. Tunde Idiagbon announced this in Jos while launching the third phase of the War Against Indiscipline (WAI). Brig. Idiagbon said that flags should also be hoisted in commercial houses, in the private sector, residences of governors, ministers and commissioners.

He said that other Nigerians should show their patriotism by displaying the flag in their homes during national celebrations. The Chief of Staff said: "One of the primary objectives of the launching of this phase of WAI campaign is to remind you that it is part of the responsibility to our dear country, to respect the national anthem and live like disciplined persons worthy of being numbered among its patriots.

Brig. Idiagbon said that the recent decree on miscellaneous offences was promulgated because the national consciousness of some Nigerians was not sufficient to make them desist from "acts of arson, damage to public property, tampering with oil pipelines and telephones, dealing in dangerous drugs and cheating at examinations".

He urged all Nigerians to develop a habil to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods, develop local raw materials for the use of the industries, plant more food, encourage respect and honour for the national culture and literature.

Three questioned over disappearance

Three policemen have been questioned in connection with the disappearance of Samuel Etefia, a disc jockey of whom no one has heard a word since April 6, when some policemen took him away. The policemen belong to the Lagos State Police Command.

Samuel, a former disc jockey at the Best Form Hotel in Suru Lere, Lagos Mainland, was seized on April 6 by policemen who raided the venue of a peace meeting between him and his former employer, Mr Nurudeem Bankole, owner of the hotel. His arrest along with others who were later released, was alleged to be connected with a plan to steal the disco machine of his former employers.


Brig-Gen. Abraham D. Kollie has been appointed Acting Speaker of the Interim National Assembly (INA) following the arrest of the former speaker Maj-Gen. J. Nicholas Podier. Meanwhile, Gen. Doe has told the Assembly of his endorsement of the arrest of Speaker Podier "because it will afford him the opportunity to exonerate himself of the charges levelled against him". Gen. Doe said he has no personal matters against General Podier but said it was a matter of fair play for him to be arrested along with others involved in the alleged coup plot.

Commenting on the letter from the Liberian Council of Churches, the Liberian leader said mimeograph copies of the letter to him were already in circulation before he received the letter on August 16 while it was being read during one of the regular Church broadcasts on radio.

Assembly discusses budget

Members of the Interim National Assembly have deliberated on a wide range of national issues including the budget. During the deliberations, the Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, Emman uel Gardiner, the Minister of Finance, Alvin Jones, the Governor of the Nationa! Bank of Liberia, Thomas Hanson, and the director of the budget, Thomas Sherman, appeared before the Assembly with their deputies to clarify points on the status of the budget.

Following the Assembly session, which lasted about six hours, INA Secretary General J. Patrick Biddle, announced that the members of the Assembly had un animously endorsed the position of the INA President and Head of State, Commander in-Chief Dr Samuel Kanyon Doe, that the process of returning Liberia to democratic civilian rule will continue in accordance with the approved timetable.

Secretary General Biddie said the Assembly was now looking forward to receiving the fullest co-operation of every Liberian in the realisation of this noble goal.

The session, briefly attended by members Assembly President and Head of State, Dr Doe was presided over by INA Vice- President, Dr Harry Moniba, assisted by Acting Speaker Brig-Gen. Abraham Kollie.

US supports civilian rule

The United States has said that it strongly supports the steps the Liberian Government subsequent turning of the Churches into has taken to return the country to civilian rule.

The statement was made in Washington D.C. by a spokesman in the office of the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Chester Crocker.

The spokesman, who was answering questions at a state department press New speaker for interim briefing, also told reporters that all of the arrests made of political figures in Liberia are in the context of an alleged coup-plotting against the government of Liberia.

On the election process, the spokesman also told newsmen that the US will continue to observe the situation and expects due process based upon Liberia's reaffirmed commitment to the transition process.

102 injured in university

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has disclosed that 102 persons received treatment for injuries sustained when soldiers dispersed students on the University Campus.

It noted that "no death resulting from the military operation at the University Campus have been reported by any of the 13 institutions contacted".

It added that the funeral parlour in Monrovia had been contacted, but no dead bodies related to the campus incident was reported. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information has announced that anyone claiming a missing relative from the University incident should report the matter to the ministry without fear.

Beware of the socialists

Defence Minister Gray D. Allison has claimed that trained socialists had infiltra- ted the Liberian Society and called on the citizens to be aware of their activities aimed at causing disorder and confusion in the society.

He disclosed that following the April 12, 1980 Revolution, several members of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) were sent to socialist countries and trained to "subvert" the State and set-up a socialist system of government in Liberia.

Speaking at a press conference at the Defence Ministry, Minister Allison pointed out that when the revolution was ushered in, the then Ministers of Foreign Affaris, G. Baccus Matthew, and Planning Minister, Dr Togba Nah Tipoteh, made several proposals to the Liberian Government that were geared towards socialism.

The proposals, Minister Allison said, were socialist oriented and as such were rejected by the then People's Redemption Council government. General Allison listed the proposals as the killing of all "Congo" individuals and their families, as well as the confiscation of their properties. He said the proposals also included the elimination of all Church leaders and the markets, schools and shops. The Providence Baptists Church on Ashmun Street would have been turned into the Headquarters of MOJA if the proposals had been accepted by the Council, Minister Allison said.

Other proposals were that the Government of Liberia break diplomatic relations with the United States, stop all foreign scholarships to the West and send Liberian students to the East for training. According to General Allison, the socialists also proposed the ownership of all by the State, the abolition of the free enterprise system and the Poro Society.

Defence Minister Allison said Dr Tipoteh also encouraged the late PRC Co-Chairman to overthrow the Government and institute a socialist government and establish the Libyan People's Bureau as well as change the Liberians way of dressing.

Reacting to rumours that he shot a gun on the campus of the University, Minister Allison said he never shot any gun, nor did he shoot anybody. The Minister made it clear that he does not carry arms, and explained that after the students had stoned him three times as he approached them to see what was happening on the campus, his bodyguard shot in the air.


Naira bank closed down

The Togolese Government has closed down a bank found to be illegally dealing in naira President General Gnassignbe Eyadema announced in Lagos during talks between Nigeria and Togo at Dodan Barracks. General Eyadema said that the Togolese Government shared the concern of the Federal Military Government in stopping trafficking of the Nigerian currency.

On his part Maj-Gen. Muhammadu. Buhari stressed the need for Nigeria and its neighbours to tackle the question of security in the West African sub-region because criminals and saboteurs had taken advantage of the ECOWAS protocol on free movement to engage in smuggling and currency trafficking. "It is my view that this nefarious development should be nipped in the bud before it attains uncontrollable dimensions", he said.

He referred to the recent meeting in Lome involving Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana on security and remarked, "I am confident that the follow-up action on the part of all the states concerned will produce the desired results." Maj-Gen. Buhari said developing countries should "close ranks and work together" for their economic survival.

Trade agreement revived

Nigeria and Togo have agreed to revive their 1980 trade agreement in order to expand the existing economic co-operation between them. A communique issued at the end of a two-day visit by the Togolese President, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, said that Nigeria would provide the standard draft text of the economic, scientific, technical and cultural agreement for study with a view to achieving greater co-operation between them. They also agreed to increase the frequency of contact between officials of both Governments.

According to the communique, Nigeria was pleased with the closure of a Togolese bank known to be involved in trafficking in the naira. It said that the Heads of State of Nigeria and Togo discussed the question of expulsion of illegal immigrants and the closure of borders and that the Federal Military Government undertook to give an urgent and very careful consideration to the representations made by President Eyadema.


Liberation Committee meeting

At the 42nd session of the OAU Liberation Committee meeting in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, Ghana has been elected chairman for the next meeting of the committee.

The Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Obed Asamoah, made this known to newsmen in Accra on his return from the committee's meeting in Tanzania. He noted that the leaders of liberation groups, including SWAPO, the ANC and PAC (Pan Africanist Congress) met for the first time at the meeting.

This, according to Dr Asamoah, enabled the meeting to examine critically the situa tion in their countries. Full details of the settlement talks between SWAPO and South Africa were also made known at the meeting. Dr Asamoah added that Lesotho and Botswana complained about force being applied on them by South Africa to enter into a similar accord.

On the security arrangements involving Mozambique, SWAPO and Angola, Dr Asamoah said the meeting discussed the recent developments in Southern Africa and their effects on the liberation struggle. Touching on the recent visits of the racist leader to some European countries, Dr Asamoah said the meeting condemned such a visit.

On Namibia, delegates rejected the terms to link the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola as a pre-condition to Namibian independence. The second resolution praised the people of South Africa in their stand in the recent elections, while the third one called for increased assistance for liberation movements in southern Africa.

talking drums 1984-09-10 one year covering a region in turmoil