Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Let's talk about this too

Please allow me space in your wonderful magazine to voice something on Uganda, once the pearl of Africa, now torn into pieces by some power-wealth greed rulers (not leaders), who have no qualities of leading people. However my main concern is of the innocent people dying and suffering in the Luwero and West Nile triangles. I personally witnessed it, and the scene is almost comparable to what is happening in Ethiopia. This is a fertile land where anything can grow naturally, but the politicians are making it hard, for the simple reasons that the two triangles are areas which do not support the ruling party.

Soldiers are being offered to go and rape, kill and loot in order to avenge for the people's disinterest in the UPC. One victim, who lost his family through the brutalities of the unruly soldiers in the Luwero area was informed that, that was a lesson for him and his grandchildren as to why they did not vote for UPC in that area. We don't deny the fact that the bush is hiding some guerillas (because they have their noble cause) but the almost half a million displaced people do not possess any arms.

The international community should do something about the situation in Uganda.

Ssenbdagala Mukasa, Paris

We ain't seen nothing yet in Liberia

Another Idi Amin is in the making in Liberia. Sergeant Doe's thirst for power and his zeal to hang on to it at all costs may well make him oustrip his mentor in violence and gore.

In a testimony before the US Congressional Subcommittee on foreign affairs which was in the process of considering an appropriation of $1.3 billion in aid to Africa, one Dr Patric Seyon, formerly of the University of Liberia, made a passionate plea to the US to save democracy in Liberia. Dr Seyon's plea is characteristic of the sycophantic African academic who, when the political tides become unfavourable, has wanted change .. any change. Thus, when the master sergeant with only sixth grade education murdered his way to the Executive Mansion, the "intellectuals", brandishing their new-fangled ideologies, jumped onto the political wagon, and gave the sergeant the legitimacy he needed. Thus, the types of Tipoteh Narh, Senyon etc, all active in the proscribed Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) were outsmarted when it became clear that the frills of power were too delicious for the one-time seedy-looking sergeant to leave voluntarily. But the harm has already been done.

There is no way someone like Doe would comprehend fine concepts like human rights, free press, or democracy. If people who have spent years in school to train for professions like law etc, will stoop so low as to draft legislations which make sense only to their master, then I'm afraid Doe has every right to want to continue sitting in the Executive Mansion just likely anybody else, no matter how ineffective.

The point of my argument is that Doe is not the problem. The problem is the "schooled" men and women who have sold their consciences, and pursue their narrow interests. Doe's histrionics are just the beginning of another Idi Amin.

If anybody has any illusion that democracy will come to Liberia under Sergeant Doe, that person must be living in a fool's paradise. The so- called preparation for a return to constitutional rule was a smokescreen and a sheer waste of time and scarce resources.

Kwaku Kpatakpa Gyampo
Los Angeles, Ca. USA

The Asantes - Rawlings dilemma

Even when legal experts confess their doubt of the responsibilities and powers of paramount chiefs in Ghana, it is dangerous for me as an amateur to hazard an opinion. But I am a Ghanaian and can confidently say that the paramount chiefs swear a customary oath to lead their subjects through thick and thin before the chiefs are enthroned, and that the consequences of violating the traditional oath are disastrous.

It must not be forgotten that Ghana has been under a military 'siege' during the so-called revolution led by Rawlings and his gang, as a result of which many Ghanaians have lost their lives and millions of innocent people have suffered the worst form of indignities unknown in the history of Ghana.

The contribution on "The Asantes Rawlings Dilemma" which appeared in the Talking Drums, March 25, 1985 is an excellent exposé. I am of the view that the article is an invaluable advice for our most respected traditional chiefs in Ghana not to walk in where angels fear to tread.

Before 1978 Rawlings considered General Akuffo as the man who could be depended on to remove Mr Acheamping, and therefore established friendly relations with the general, often visiting the General in his house, but later on Rawlings executed him. He struck friendship with ex-President Limann and became a regular visitor to the President, often taking dinners at Dr Limann's residence. Concerned advisers warned the President against the development without success. After overthrowing the President, Rawlings told the world that Limann's Government was the most disgraceful man in Ghana.

Rawlings has abandoned his former close associates, Chris Atim, Akata Pore, Amartey Kwei, Adjei Boadi and many others, to their fate after using them for a purpose. This is a vivid description of the character of the man who now goes to Manhyia Palace in Kumasi secretly to court another friendship. Rawlings can be seen as one who is incapable of maintaining lasting friendship with anyone. He is craftily attaching himself to Manhyia Palace to achieve an aim and then sever relations with the palace thereafter.

The horrible atrocities, kidnapping and murder of innocent people perpetrated by the repressive military regime of Rawlings are inescapable and traumatic memories. The pseudo- revolutionary co-hort bears full responsibility for the importation and propagation of malicious and poisonous ideology that has stirred up divisions in the country and culminated in corruption, indiscipline and tribalism.

In order that some of our traditional rulers may retain the confidence and continued support of their subjects who have not forgiven Rawlings and Tsikata for the intolerable human suffering generated by their spurious revolution, it is in the interest of some of our paramount chiefs to honour their oath of enthronement and to stand by their subjects firmly in this hour of crisis.

Our noble chiefs should not wait until they are discarded by Rawlings, or until Rawlings himself falls like a fruit. I hope that our chiefs who are responding favourably to Rawlings approaches will seriously ponder over my humble observations.

Peter Tetteh, Paris, France

Screening of illegal residence

I read with dismay in your February 4, 1985 issue the Nigeria High Commissioner in Ghana Major General Eyarna's statement that illegal residents would be sent home. Who are the aliens? If the Nigerian government still feels that the Ghanaians who remained behind after the mass expulsion in January 1983 are the cause of their worsening economy then it has all power to send them away.

But it seems to me that the Nigerian authorities have failed to learn from what happened to Ghana after a similar aliens compliance order and what is happening in Nigeria today after the Ali Baba episode. The strangest thing the General said was that the expulsions will strengthen the ties between the two countries. What sort of ties and at what costs?

It is about time ECOWAS heads of state found a lasting solution to the problems of West Africa bearing in mind that the migration of West Africans to each other's country would continue for a long time to come.

Fahmy Saidu Salif, West Germany

GDM lacks will to effect threat

Did Mr J. H. Mensah need another precious space to rehearse what was over generously reported on page 24 of Talking Drums?

Unlike Mr Mensah in Talking Drums, dated 1/4/85, I do not see my comments on GDM's statement as envisaging "scenario" quite different, if to GDM "PNDC is to commit itself to handover political power back to the people of Ghana and to remove itself from seat of Government.". What prevents it from bringing into operation the 1979 constitution or the reinstatement of President Hilla Liman's government?

On what basis and from which angle is the PNDC, notorious for its infamy "to remove itself from seat of Government?" Has the PNDC conceded any failure or shown any willingness to hand over political power?

GDM's statement ADVERTISER'S ANNOUNCEMENT on pages 14 & 15 of Talking Drums, dated 30/1/84 proclaimed to the world in the last, but one paragraph, which I quote inter alia:-

"We say to Rawlings and Tsikata "Go away now and take your troubles with you. Leave the people of Ghana to rebuild the nation you have ruined. This is your last chance, soon it will be too late. You can either leave now through a voluntary handover or few weeks later as casualties of violent upheaval".

Now that the GDM seems to have lost the will to effect its threat "... OR FEW WEEKS LATER AS THE CASUALTIES OF VIOLENT Rawlings. UPHEAVAL" and not having the gusto of other virile political movements elsewhere in the World, is GDM not embarking upon proposals for national dialogue from a far weaker position?

Mr Mensah went on "some means. must be found for inducing them to go: and that means principally some agency that could bail them out of the corner into which they have planted themselves by their own violence and unlawful conduct." Is he not treading on means of escape in case of political reality?

Is the feedback of the ignorant-talk of the so-called improvement in Ghana's economy put out by the propaganda outfit of another tribal appointee P. V. Obeng, not a moral booster to strengthen the resolve of Rawlings/Tsikata regime to legitimise the murderous regime on the models of Unigov or Nicaraguan government?

"But we should be aware that Ghana could just as end up under the dictatorship of a martial law administrator, or even bloodier gang of left wing radicals" Mr Mensah wrote.

First, Rawlings is more than a Martial Law Administrator, GDM's inducement is not going far to remove such a freak from Ghana's present and future political life, a situation that was beautifully painted in London Times January 1984: "If a man with a gun and a military following can impose his will on a nation when he disagrees with the actions of the elected government, then another man with a gun and a military following is entitled to replace the present ruler when things put it. become too much for him in his turn."

Is the quotation from London Times not the kind of situation GDM is advocating since without safeguards it urges them to "Return Armed Forces to barracks and their essential role of defending our borders?" Why would Mr J. H. Mensah ignore the behavioural tactics of PNDC leadership? Apart from re-echoing Brigadier Nunoo Mensah's under statement "to hand over to whom' chairman Rawlings cynically has not openly disapproved or endorsed any of the statements by PNDC members and secretaries. Was Professor Mawuse Dake not shouting so many months ago about the type of government the PNDC envisaged? Is it not the same thing we’ve heard from Justice Annan? What has the chairman himself said so far on Justice Annan's statements? The nearest clue is the appointment of a committee to collate views on future government, after a visit to Nicaragua by Chairman

Mr Mensah intimated among other things: "And it has no point of contact either with many other politicians who believed in democracy." Is the proposal for national dialogue, "Talking Drums" dated 21/1/85 seeking "a point of contact?" Did Rawlings not have the "golden" chance to form a political party during the civilian rule? Any attempt by PNDC is not to handover "political power back to the people", but a ruse to be geared to legitimise the bloody regime.

Mr Mensah parried "Leaving aside cheap personal attacks . . .' which ones did he identify?

On his generous invitation to contact GDM, would it be necessary to truck with a movement that intrudes supinely into the realms of political fantasy?

It needs to be brought home to all and sundry that the despicable Rawlings/Tsikata regime has created needless divisions and never-to-be forgotten bitterness, the PNDC therefore will either continue to foist itself on Ghana or the regime is efficiently removed with pinpoint military precision to bring an illegality and political senselessness to an end.

In the politico-military crusade against Rawlings/Tsikata regime, "the heroes of the future shall be those who could lead the people out of the stiffling fog of disintegration through serfdom where determination, purpose and confidence will create that brotherhood Jesus Christ proclaimed two thousand years ago of which "so much has been said but so little done" as late Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah rightly

Ntim Gyarkari, London


The Editor,


68 Mansfield Road, London NW3 2HLL

talking drums 1985-04-29 Ghana tourism - rise and fall of Cameroon national unity party