Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Don't despair over Economic problems

Though the current economic situation in rica looks desperate, it need not cause despair, Prof Adebayo Adedeji, chief executive of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said in an address to the AU Council of Ministers. The ECA chief said the situation should be regarded as turning Africa's dire necessity into a springboard for inventiveness. He called for matching deeds with words and promise with performance.

Prof Adedeji also said that by the time the OAU summit convenes, a set of action-oriented proposals for urgent implementation at the national, sub- regional, regional levels and the international level will be in hand. This, he said, would arrest the present economic crisis, reverse it and usher in a new era of dynamic and prosperous development in the continent.

As preparation for the summit, the ECA chief told the Council, a meeting of the Governors of African central banks on balance of payments problems and foreign Exchange leakages has been held.

Another meeting took place last week in Swaziland by vice-chancellors of institutions on the role of higher learning in combating economic crisis and according to Prof Adedeji, another meeting on the establishment of the African monetary fund will be held this month.

$1,500m for emergency needs

Twenty African countries hit by drought need immediate aid of 1,500m dollars to face emergency needs, according to a communique published in Addis Ababa by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, and quoting a report prepared by the UN emergency aid bureau for Africa.

The emergency aid bureau also points out that the conference on "the emergency situation in Africa" which will be held on 11th march in Geneva will give the international community an occasion to respond to the appeal made by the UN Secretary General for the various UN bodies and non-governmental organisations to receive the necessary resources. Countries represented at the conference will be invited to announce new contributions.

In its report, the bureau presents the needs of the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It considers that it is a question of an unprecedented crisis which will remain acute for some time to come, even if the next rainy season brought an end to the drought.

Nigeria pays up

Nigeria has paid up the 1.52m dollars (about 1.31m naira) balance of its assessed contribution to the OAU for the current fiscal year. The cheque for the amount was handed over to Dr Peter Onu... by External Affairs Minister Ibrabim Gambari. Other member states which have already paid up their contribution for the current year are Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Congo, Ethiopia and Lesotho. Dr Gambari is also expected to hand in Nigeria's regular contribution of 1.2m dollars (about 1.03m naira) to the OAU special liberation fund when he arrives in Dar es Salaam next week to deliver a special message from Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari to the current OAU chairman, President Julius Nyerere...

Dr Gambari told a meeting of OAU Foreign Ministers that it would be an act of cruelty to continue to offer mere words and resolutions on the liberation struggle in southern Africa. "The freedom fighters in southern Africa and all our brothers and sisters who are daily exposed to the brutalities and inhumanities in Namibia need no more words, but concrete steps," he said while expressing Nigeria's views on the situation in southern Africa.


Eastman meets Howe

Dr Ernest Eastman the Liberian Foreign Minister has given assurances in London that the elections scheduled for later this year will be held and the return to constitutional civilian rule will take place as planned.

The Foreign Minister paid a call on the British Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe at the Foreign office. Sir Geoffrey said that Britain welcomes the forthcoming elections in Liberia and expressed the belief that they will have a positive effect on Liberia's international standing.

Dr Eastman also called on Mr Malcolm Rifkind, the Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and expressed his country's thanks to Britain for the assistance given on the drafting of the constitution with the provision of legal experts. Dr Eastman stopped over in London on his way from the 41st session of the OAU ministerial council.

Doe's party is only legal party

The Special Elections Commission (Secom) has awarded a certificate of registration to the Liberia Action Party (LAP), one of several proposed political parties now undergoing registration to contest in the ensuing general elections in October.

Head of State, Doe's National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), and former Information Minister, Edward B. Kesselly's Unity Party (UP) were the first two recipients. NDPL is the only legal political party in Liberia, while UP is still in a legal tussle over its probation.

The presentation of the certificate of registration to LAP followed a submission of Secom of a total of 150,000 US dollars in cash and property bonds, and a partisan list of 750 eligible voters, 500 from each of five counties in Liberia, in fulfilment of Secom's guidelines governing the registration of political parties. If LAP is probated without any objection, like the NDPL, it will become the second legal political party in Liberia.

Mayor of Monrovia dismissed

Colonel William Snyder, Mayor of the Monrovia City Corporation, has been relieved of his position and ordered to report to the Ministry of National Defence for reassignment. Colonel Snyder's dismissal, which takes immediate effect, was contained in a letter to him from the head of state and president of the Interim National Assembly, Samuel Kenyon Doe.

In the letter, Dr Doe also ordered Colonel Snyder to turn over all government property in his possession to Lt-Col Roosevelt Kave who is Monrovia's new Mayor.

US company's gold mining concession

An American company, Gold Coast Resources has announced that it had obtained 4m dollars from foreign investors for the development of part of a gold mining concession it has in Liberia. According to the terms of the agreement signed with investors they will receive in return 50% of the profits expected from the first phase of the working of the concession, which measures 312sq km.

The development of the concession is expected to begin with dredging operations in the Cubo river, which the firm says could bring in a gross income of 12m dollars in the first year.

Gold Coast Resources is a company that specialises in the acquisition and exploitation of precious gem and mineral beds in Africa and the United States. According to the company, 1.5m dollars has already been spent to explore the concession site in Liberia as well as to install the initial infrastructure.

According to experts, it adds, this concession contains some 48.5m tons of gold-rich sand, with a gold content of about 0.25 ounces per ton.


Details of forthcoming elections

Two hundred and sixteen candidates will stand for the legislative elections of 24th March 1985, during which the voters are expected to elect 77 parliamentarians and 22 alternate parliamentarians, the Togolese Ministry of the Interior has announced.

The candidates had until Midnight on Thursday, 28th February, to submit their applications. Male and female citizens who are 25 or over and qualify can stand for the elections. The outgoing assembly was elected from a single list presented by the country. ruling Rally of the Togolese people, the sole party, on 30th December 1979.

This freedom to stand for elections was granted to all the citizens by President Gnassingbe Eyadema on 12th January during the celebration of the 18th anniversary of his coming to power.


Senegalese airport to be rescue base for shuttle

An agreement has been signed between the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Air France on the use of Dakar airport as a rescue base for the US space shuttle. Under the agreement the shuttle will be able to land at Dakar should it experience problems after take-off.


Reported release from detention in Burkina Faso of former minister

Arba Hama Diallo, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the first National Council of the Revolution (CNR) Government which came to power on 4th August 1983, has been released in Ouagadougou after almost four months of detention official, sources disclosed.

This release, the same sources specify, appears to have stemmed from the wish of the CNR to "encourage all those with good will and who are desirous of making a positive contribution to the ongoing revolutionary process" in Burkina Faso.

Sankara denies being a "pawn" of Libya

President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso last week received African journalists covering the ninth Ouagadougou Pan- African cinema festival for a private luncheon.

The Burkinabe Head of State rejected reports that his country is a pawn of some pawn of Libya, Cuba, the USSR and Algeria", he pointed out and reaffirmed that "the Burkinabe revolution is not an imported revolution. The countries of which we are accused of being a pawn, he said, are represented in Oaugadougou at the ambassadorial level like all the other Countries with which we maintain diplomatic relations".

President Sankara then confirmed that he "no longer receives letters of credence in Oaugadougou," stressing, "I receive them in the villages among the peasants". Thus recent credentials from the Ambassadors of France, the United States, the GDR, Guinea and Pakistan were received in the remotest villages of the

Talking about the role of the military, President Sankara said the Burkinabe army has increased from 8,000 at the beginning of the revolution to 60,000 men today. In addition to its mission of defending the security of the state and of the people's interests, the Burkinabe army is an active agent of development for the growth of the people's achievements, he concluded.


Border Commission's meeting

The extraordinary session of the Ghana-Ivory Coast joint border demarcation commission has held a three-day meeting at the international trade centre in Abidjan. A report issued at the end of the session reveals that the demarcation work is completed. The Ivorian side has completed its work on the opening of an 8-metre wide service path along the common border which is 190km and 827 metres long.

The commission has noted the considerable work done by the Ivory Coast in spite of the economic crisis and various other difficulties, and its unswerving commitment to the commission.

The Ghanaian side was unable to produce any report on the state of the work done on the field. It instead read the 1979 report because no work was done in the field due mainly to the political developments in Ghana. It however expressed the hope that with the re- organisation of its commission and the renewed interest of the Ivorian Government to see the demarcation work completed, its delegation would be able to produce a positive report during the next joint commission's meeting.

Albert Agre, acting head of the Ivorian delegation and director of the department of studies and legislation at the Ministry of Justice, expressed satisfaction over the meeting.


Libya asks OAU for Chad expenses

Libya is seeking a refund of 900m US dollars (about 775m naira) from the OAU for what it called total expenses incurred on Libyan troops sent to Chad for peace- keeping purposes. In a note sent to the OAU secretariat through its Embassy in Addis Ababa on 28th January, Libya listed 17 items in which it claimed that the amount was expended.

Libya dispatched troops to Ndjamena in 1981 to help former President Goukouni Oueddei at the height of the Chadian civil war. Following persistent demands for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Chad by the OAU, Libyan forces returned to Tripoli by mid-November 1981. An OAU peace-keeping force, contributed by Nigeria, Senegal and Zaire, was then sent to Chad to maintain peace and security in the country.

Rebel activity hits cotton production

Rebel activity in southern Chad has driven down production of cotton, a key regional product, by up to 30% this past year, raising the spectre of serious revenue shortfalls for the government of President Hissein Habre, local officials and western financial experts say.

Andre de Chabannes, the Director General of the parastatal cotton firm, Cotontchad, estimated the most recent cotton crop in Logone Orientale province, Chad's main cotton-producing area, at 90,000 t. This compared with 158,000 t for the previous season - a fall of 30%.

Mr Chabannes said the expected drop was the result of fighting between rebels and government forces around the province's main towns of Moundou and Doba. This prevented many farmers from planting last June and kept others from harvesting on schedule in November. He added that Cotontchad trucks had also been unable to circulate freely in Logane Orientale and neighbouring Moyen Chari provinces because of rebel activity.

Specialists in the capital said, however, that the final fall in production could be less than expected given the delay in collecting some output figures. At the same time last year, estimates for the 1983 season put production at 130,000 t, while the final figure was some 30,000 t higher, they said. If the 30% fall in production is confirmed, Western financial experts said, it would result in a significant drop in income for the state, which relies heavily on the cotton sector for revenue via import and export duties and its share as majority owner of Cotonchad.


Trade with Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia is to export to Guinea motorcycles, machine tools and ceramics, according to documents signed at the conclusion of a session of the Czechoslovak-Guinean mixed commission. for economic and scientific cooperation in Conakry. Guinea will export to Czechoslovakia bauxite, coffee oleaginous seeds and other products.


Beer and cigarette prices go up

Increases have been announced in the prices of beer and cigarettes. A packet of Rothmans King Size and Super Star will sell at C80.00 instead of C60 and one stick will retail at C4.00. A packet of Pall Mall, Embassy, and Hollywood will sell at C70.00 instead of C50.00 and one stick will retail at C3.50. One packet of Cresta, Tusker and Sweet Menthol will be sold at C60 instead of C40 and a stick at C3.00.

Beer prices were given as one bottle C72.00 and a mini-bottle at C40.00. A jug of draught beer will sell at C36 in hotels and at C35 in bars.

A bottle of stout will sell at C62.00 in hotels and restaurants and at C60.00 in bars.

Police clinic opens

A regional police clinic is to be opened at Bolgatanga to serve police personnel in the Upper East Region.

An old bungalow is currently being renovated with materials provided by the Police Headquarters in Accra to serve as a clinic.

According to Mr S. Adakura, Chief Superintendent of Police of the Regional Police Headquarters in Bolgatanga, the clinic will get its supply of drugs from the Police Central Hospital in Accra.

The clinic, he said, will be manned by a qualified medical officer.

Fishing vessel fined

A fishing vessel, belonging to the Mankoadze Fisheries Limited has been fined 15 million CFA by the Senegalese authorities after being arrested for allegedly fishing in their territorial waters.

A director of the company, Mr Robert Kwamena Ocran, told newsmen at Tema that on February 8, at about 9.30pm a wireless message from the vessel, "PIONEER 2" indicated that it had been arrested though its position was in Gambian waters. He said the incident was reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after which an official accompanied representatives of Mankoadze Fisheries to Senegal.

Ocran calls for fishing laws

The managing director of Mankoadze Fisheries Limited, Mr Robert Ocran has called on the Government to enforce the law making it an offence for foreign vessels to fish in Ghanaian waters without permission.

This he said, would protect the country's water from exploitation by foreign poachers.

Mr Ocran explained that many foreign vessels were doing unauthorised fishing in Ghana's waters without being arrested thus depriving smaller Ghanaian vessels of viable business.

Colour TV in twelve months

The government has signed two different agreements with Japan and the Soviet Union in Accra. Under the first agreement, Ghana is to receive a grant of 44m yen, about 8.7m cedis, from the Government of Japan for the purchase of essential spare parts and light equipment to improve the technical standard of GBC (Ghana Broadcasting Corporation) television.

Under the second agreement, the Soviet Union will maintain a separate consular office in Accra.

The Japanese agreement, which takes immediate effect, was signed for Ghana by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Obed Asamoah, while the Japanese Ambassador, Mr Naoki Nakano, signed for his country. It is a follow-up of a cultural aid agreement signed between the two countries in January. Under that agreement, Japan granted Ghana 698m yen for the rehabilitation programme of the GBC.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Obed Asamoah said the grant is yet another manifestation of the Government of Japan's interest in assisting in the socio- economic advancement of Ghana. He also said that apart from the annual grant to support economic programmes, Japan has, over the years, made available cultural grants to improve educational and scientific programmes in the country.

Dr Asamoah stated that the aid, which comes soon after the successful visit to this country of a Japanese theatre group, reaffirms the desire of the two countries to enhance cultural ties between them.

On his part, Mr Naoki Nakano said the cultural grant is purposely set aside by the Government of Japan to finance recipient countries purchase of equipment and materials for the promotion of education and research, preservation and utilisation of cultural assets. He stressed that the agreement is another demonstration of the Lagos. desire of his Government to deepen further the already cordial bonds of friendship existing between Ghana and Japan.

The Director of Engineering of GBC, Mr Bonsu-Bruce announced that within the next 20 to 24 months the country's television network will go entirely colour Atoyebi. and cover the whole country. By February next year, all areas under the Greater Accra Region will have gone colour, while areas in Sekondi-Takoradi will have their turn between May and June.

Tractor spare parts from Romania

The spokesman said they have also appealed to the British Medical delivery of 73m cedis' worth of tractor spare parts. The General Manager of Agricultural Mechanisation Ltd, Mr Ablor Mensah, said a large consignment of tractor tyres worth 17.5m cedis had already been delivered.

He announced that 1,568 cases of tractor spare parts were at the docks awaiting delivery. They were brought in under a Ghana-Roumanian bilateral trade agreement. He emphasised that the spare parts would be sufficient to rehabilitate at least 80% of the tractors and equipment in the system.

Political commitment

The Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Obed Asamoah, has warned that without a certain level of political commitment, all efforts by African countries to deal with economic problems will only achieve partial results. Addressing the OAU Council of Ministers' meeting in Addis Abba, Dr Asamoah reminded the delegates that all African countries inherited weak economic structures from their colonial masters.

Also, the umbilical cord that ties African countries to the economies of their colonial masters through trading partners and other economic structures do not allow for an individual viable process of industrialisation, and there is an urgent need to break away from these.

On foreign debts, Dr Asamoah wondered whether African nations can expect cooperations from the industrialised nations to reduce their debt burden. He also wondered whether African countries can persuade the industrialised nations to take such measures as to enable them to obtain a more equitable system of international trade.


Dr Beko tortured

The first Vice-President of the banned NMA, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti who was arrested in connection with the ongoing doctors' strike is being subjected to torture by security men, spokesmen of the proscribed medical bodies have alleged in Lagos.

The allegation, contained in a statement titled "Beko Tortured" was jointly signed by the Secretary of the banned NMA, Dr Ayo Falope, the chairman of its Lagos State branch, Dr B. Oye-Adeniran and the president of the banned NMA Dr Wole

Worried by the deteriorating health condition of Dr Beko Kuti, the spokesman appealed to the Nigerian public to prevail on the government to be humane in handling doctors.

According to them, "we have not committed any crimes, we have only asked that our country be given a befitting health care system".

The spokesman said they have also appealed to the British Medical Association, the Commonwealth Medical Association as well as African Medical Association and societies to restrain the government from the inhuman treatment being meted out to striking doctors in detention.

They said that since Dr Beko Kuti was taken away no friend or relative has been allowed by security men to see him.

Last week they learnt that his health condition was very critical. The spokesman said a doctor was called in to see Dr Beko Kuti urgently in his Ikoyi Prison cell at about 4pm after interrogation.

They said the information gathered from the doctor indicated that the security forces were still not satisfied with information at their disposal.

"We are extremely worried about his state of health and the rather sudden onset of his illness," they said.

Students boycott lectures

Students of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, have begun an indefinite boycott of lectures in total support and solidarity with the proscribed Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). A communique issued at the end of the second special congress of the students union, and signed by the chairman of the Congress and the President of the Students Union, Messrs Yau Ado and Yau Musa, respectively, made a six-point demand. The demand included the immediate and unconditional lifting of the ban on NMA and NARD, the recall of sacked doctors and the removal of the Minister of Health. The other demands in the communique are the release of arrested doctors and a halt to the intimidation and harassment of doctors. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the students have packed out of the campus.

Nurses blame govt.

The Federal Military Government (FMG) has been rebuked for proscribing both the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the national Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

It was also blamed for getting seven leaders of the two associations arrested over the stalemate in resolving the on-going hospital crisis in the country. The condemnation came from the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) in Lagos.

Doctors' dispute and emergency arrangements

All military and police medical institutions in the country are now open to the general public for emergency medical services. The Director of the Army Medical Corps, Maj- Gen A. Rimi announced this in a statement in Lagos. He said as at present, three hospitals in Lagos, Kaduna and Zaria were manned by the military. The hospitals are also open to the general public for emergency services.

Two journalists out of jail

Two journalists who were jailed under the Provisions of Decree No 4, have been released after completing their one-year term each.

Messrs Tunde Thompson and Uduka Irabor, assistant news editor and diplomatic correspondent respectively of the Nigerian Guardian were jailed for speculating about who might be appointed ambassadors by the military government which had seized power in December 1983. Of the eleven names they published, ten were correct.

Meanwhile the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) was scheduled to hold a reception last Thursday at the press centre, Victoria Island, Lagos for their freed colleagues.

Protest to Lagos on jailed Britons

Nigeria's acting High Commissioner was summoned to the Foreign Office last Tuesday and told that the condition in which two Britons are being held in a Lagos prison must be improved. Mr Malcolm Rifkind, British Minister of State, told Mr Ibrahim Karfi that the two men were being held in an overcrowded cell and the food was inadequate.

The two men, Mr Kenneth Clark and Mr Angus Patterson, employers of Bristow Helicopters, have been charged with conspiracy to steal an aircraft, thought neither of them knew how to fly aircraft.

Dikko kidnappers to appeal

Four men jailed on February 12 for attempting to kidnap Alhaji Umaru Dikko last July plan to ask the Criminal Appeal Court in Britain to quash their sentences.

The appeal, according to their lawyers, will be filed on time to beat the 28-day deadline allowed by British law.

Sir David Napley, attorney for three of the men, all Israelis, (Barak, Abitbol and Shapiro) told The Guardian on telephone that the appeal would be filed. He said: "We are working seriously on an appeal".

Ban on two natural rulers expires

The six-month order restricting two of the nation's foremost paramount rulers, has expired and the Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, the Ooni of Ife and Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano are now free to travel the length and breadth of the country.

The paramount rulers can now assume the chairmanship of the Council of Traditional Rulers of their respective states, from which they were also suspended six months ago.

The Ooni of Ife and the Emir of Kano were both suspended and restricted to their domains on August 31, last year, following their visit to Israel.

The paramount rulers held top-level discussions with several political leaders in Israel including its president and also visited Jerusalem.

Nigeria broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 1973.

Commission submits reports

The Adio Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Cocoa House fire disaster has submitted its report to the Oyo State Governor, Lt-Col Oladayo Popoola.

The commission's chairman, Justice Y. O. Adio observed that "though God gave us water and fire for the benefit of human beings, they could cause damages if not carefully handled". The report, according to him would be useful if it was implemented to the letter. Receiving the report on behalf of the other governors, Governor Popoola said that it would be thoroughly studied, adding that a white paper would be issued as soon as possible. The 25-storey building caught fire on January 9 this year.

Imprisonment of former Governor

The Kaduna zone of the special military tribunal on recovery of public property has sentenced a former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdul Dawakin-Tofa, to 21 years imprisonment on a two-count charge of corruptly enriching himself.

Alhaji Abdul was sentenced to 21 years. on each of the counts but the sentences are to run concurrently. He is also to forfeit 265,000 naira to the Federal Government.

Acquittal of US citizen

The special tribunal miscellaneous offences has discharged and acquitted an American woman, Marie McBroom, on a six-count charge of illegal dealing in petroleum products. In a judgement which lasted one hour and 10 minutes, the chairman of the tribunal, Mr Justice Adebayo Desalu, said the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. He said those purported to have signed an agreement with Marie McBroom did not appear to give evidence at the trial.

Warning to settlers in Equatorial Guinea

The Cross River Governor, Colonel Dan Archibong, has warned that any Nigerian who settled clandestinely in Equatorial Guinea would be doing so at his own risk. Colonel Achibong told 34 of the expected 500 returnees at the headquarters of the eastern national base.

talking drums 1985-03-11 rawlings brutalities at Gondar Barracks