Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


The Ghanaian, who is he?

"Ever ready with song, optimistic and hospitable, a people committed to finding unique ways of doing things and by no means dull of speech, Ghanaians have travelled a long road since Independence in 1957..." aptly sums up the modus vivendi of Ghanaians as concluded by Ebow Daniel's hilarious piece published in the Talking Drums of November 5, 1984.

I could not help chuckling throughout while reading it and Mr Daniel's incisive wit really dissected the prostrate Ghanaian on his operating table with a sharp scapel tipped in sarcasm - quite reminiscent of his pieces published in the defunct Legon Observer.

Of course, being a Ghanaian myself, I am inclined to accept the view that that national proclivity of "playing down adversity" instead of getting up and doing something about it may be the underlying cause of our present calamity. I also believe that the time is not far off when we would all wake up to realise that "looking up to our neighbours" or "providence in the sky" for a change in our circumstances is hardly the stuff that progress is built on. Jacob Wilson, Glasgow

The Krupps Report

I wish to make a few comments on the article '>Towards iron & steel industry in Ghana' Talking Drums, September 17, 1984.

I find it hard to understand why the Krupps report failed to endorse the setting up of an 'integrated iron and steel industry' in Ghana but insisted on buying the 'pig iron' for their industrial plants in Germany. It seems to me that Krupps is suggesting a 'Valco- type' of agreement with the Ghanaian government.

I believe, as the author does, there is no need to rush into such an industry. The project requires adequate long- term planning and foresight.

By its very nature as a basic industry, an iron and steel industry can set a new industrial pace in Ghana. However only well-considered, long-lasting, measures can bring this about..

Kwasi Osei Ku Monrovia, Liberia

Kofi Awoonor's diatribe

Could Dr Kofi Awoonor still hang on to represent the unitary nation of Ghana as the country's Ambassador to Brazil? No wonder, he used his National Investigation committee to mete out rough justice to the Ashantis.

Some tribalistic politicians in Ghana have the tendency to oppose military and civilian regimes because they have not been led by their tribesmen. Dr Awoonor, though one of the ideologue's in Late Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah's era, he does not see the death of late Kotoka in terms of military in-fighting for political power, but as an organised conspiracy led by late A.A. Afrifa and Ashantis.

Dr Awoonor's book is the sum total of tribal viciousness needlessly nursed by Ewes surrounding Jerry Rawlings and his PNDC, the government that continues to rule unitary Ghana by default.

The admirable editor of Ghanaian Times, the chairman of PNDC, his Security Chief, Captain Kodjo Tsikata (rtd), his Foreign Affairs Secretary Dr Obed Asamoah, his United Nations' representative Gheho, and a host of other tribal appointees obviously do not see any "tribal politics" in the regime and, indeed, what they represent.

Ntim Gyakari, Cordell House, London

Law to curb land dispute

I went through a rapid succession of surprise, doubt and then disbelief on reading that Flt-Lt. Rawlings has signed two laws designed to halt tension arising out of the disputes in the Bawku District (Talking Drums, November 19, 1984).

Considering the relentless land disputes in Northern Ghana which have claimed thousands of lives over the years, one would be inclined to view the new PNDC move as a step in the right direction.

However, the nature of the dispute and the emotive feelings of the people involved point to the fact that this is an area where decrees may not necessarily solve the problem, but act as a sort of palliative towards finding a lasting solution.

One recalls the 1979 incident during which Flt-Lt. Rawlings went up North and in the glare of television and press cameras supervised the symbolic shaking of hands of two chiefs involved in the dispute to signify the cessation of hostilities. We all know what happened immediately afterwards.

The civil defence organisation team which recommended the move would have a duty to ensure that the provocative acts which bring on the violent clashes are eliminated or reduced. Until that is done the decrees would not solve the problem.

Sulemanu Ganda, London

Morocco's withdrawal from OAU

So after twenty-years of a Pan-African unity and the often-predicted disintegration of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), King Hassan's Morocco has withdrawn from the body over SADR.

More painful still is the threat by Zaire to opt out if the admission of the SADR is not based on a revised OAU charter that grants membership to liberation movements.

Few people would say the fact that the OAU has overcome its teething problems since its inception, with the passage of the years, the socio-economic problems as well as political upheavals in the African continent have collectively compounded the issues and blurred the vision of the leaders in finding solution that can stand the test of time.

The OAU hopefully has weathered worse storms before in its short history and it is the hope of all supporters of continental unity that the leaders would close their ranks.

Jim Vanderpuije, Sutton

What's biopolitics?

I have read a few of Mr Clyde Ahmed Winters' articles published in Talking Drums and I think he should stick to subject matters that he can really dig his teeth into rather than get into a muddle over sensitive issues like what he termed 'Biopolitics - another look at African political behaviour' (Talking Drums, November 12, 1984).

I must confess that after reading through it, I am not the wiser or better informed on what Biopolitics is all about, and a few of my friends think so too. However, I am inclined to believe that the whole concept emanated from the fevered brain of a psychology/ biology professor determined to prove that for some reason Africans behave differently politically.

Similar arguments have been used to claim that white children are more intelligent than blacks but the debate still rages on because facts have also been adduced to prove that there is nothing genetic about intelligence.

Mr Ahmed Winters' article, in any view, therefore only served to support the distorted view of the African and consequently of the whole black race - a despicable view indeed.

Thomas Arthur, Hackney

talking drums 1984-11-26 secret executions in Nigeria