Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Second party registered The peoples monthly and probate court at the temple of justice in Monrovia has dismissed an objection filed against the registration of the Liberian Action Party (LAP).

In her ruling Judge Virginia Ash Thompson said the failure of the objectors to sufficiently identify themselves vitiated the entire objection and makes it fit for dismissal.

The Liberian Action Party therefore becomes the second, after General Doe's party, to be registered for the impending elections for a civilian administration.

Suspension on UPP lifted

The suspension imposed on the proposed United People's Party, UPP, on 17th January this year by the Special Elections Commission (Secom) has been lifted. In a letter addressed to the chairman of the UPP, Gabriel Barcus Matthews, by Commissioner Isaac Randolph, Secom is quoted as acknowledging receipt of a letter from the UPP on 10th April in which it said full payment of the fine of 600 dollars imposed on them had been made.

Secom said it was pleased to inform the proposed UPP that in compliance with their decision, the suspension imposed on them on 17th January was hereby lifted with immediate effect.

Concern over continued detention

The organising committee of the proposed Liberian People's Party, LPP, has expressed serious concern over the continued detention without formal charges of several of its members and the delay in the trial of its co-chairman, Dusty Wolokolie.

According to a release by LPP, those being detained for what has been described as security reasons include Tom Camara, co-chairman of the LPP committee on public affairs and information, Partisan James Fumian and Luciette Massally. Others are Christian Herbert, Larry Tokpah, Ezekial Padjibor, and Dempster Yallah.

It may be recalled that in February this year Tom Camara was arrested by security personnel in Monrovia, while James Fumian, Christian Herbert, Larry Tokpah, Ezekial Padjibor, Dempster Yallah and Miss Luciette Massally were arrested in December last year.

Military housing project

An $8 million grant for the continuation of a military housing project has been signed with the American government at the Ministry of Defence, Monrovia. Minister of Defence, Gray D. Allison signed for the Liberian government while the Director of US Assistance centre for the Middle East and Africa, Lt Col John Michael Chessnoe signed for his government.

Justice has been done

One of four politicians released by Gen Doe from detention has said that justice prevailed when the Head of State accepted the findings and verdict of the Joint Security, and swiftly effected his release from prison. Counsellor Tuan Wreh along with the other politicians were held for questioning following the Flanzamaton assassination attempt on the Liberian Leader. Counsellor Tuan Wreh, Chairman of the Liberian Action Party (LAP), made the statement at the party's headquarters in Sinkor where he had a press conference.

Chairman Wreh praised the Joint Security, and pointed out that LAP was grateful for the speedy and professional manner the actual investigation involving him and his colleagues, Baccus Matthews, Dr Edward Kesselly and Mr Harry Greeves was conducted.

On the question of the late Flanzamaton to involve the politicians in his attempted assassination of the Head of State, Counsellor Wreh said it was at the investigation that he first met Mr Flanzamaton who he described as a "Mephistophelian with satanic designs to destroy him and his colleagues".

Counsellor Wreh, a former Dean of the Law School at the University of Liberia, also denounced, condemned and depreciated what he described as the "fiendish act of the would-be assassin Flanzamaton. Counsellor Wreh also asserted that Flanzamaton had told "nothing but blatant lies calculated to put an innocent man like me into trouble for nothing".

Fraternities free to operate

Gen Samuel K. Doe has lifted the ban on the operations of all fraternities in the country. In a special redemption day message Gen Doe said fraternities such as the Masonic Craft, Odd Fellows, United Brothers of Friendship, and their sister organizations are free to operate within the limits of the laws of Liberia. Gen Doe said the decision to lift the ban on the fraternities was based on numerous requests received by him from various fraternities in the country to resume their activities which came to a halt after April 12, 1980. Report on economy submitted The 15-Member National Commission set up by the Head of State last March to review the Liberian Economy, has submitted its report to the Government.

The commission recommended that Which Government give consideration to orderly reduction and eventual abolition of all duties "so that the whole of Liberia become a duty-free zone". It recommended that pre-financial construction projects be postponed until the national economy improves.

This was disclosed by the Liberian of State, Gen Samuel K. Doe whe delivered the Fifth Redemption message at the Executive Mansion.


National identity card

All Gambians above 18 years now can have a national identity card. The card, measuring 67 by 99 millimeters (about 2.75 by 4.5 inches) and supplied by the British firm of Bradley Wilk plastics, is encased in a protective laminated material. The bearer's name, date of sex, address and a photograph are the information set against a background of the national colours - green and blue.


Party elects National Political Bureau

The Central Committee of the Came People's Democratic Movement, CF newly elected in Bamenda has held its session in Yaounde. The 65 elected-member- committee presided over by the nat party chairman, HE Paul Biya, examined and adopted the by-laws of the party elected committee officials and members of the Political Bureau.

In an inaugural address to the committee, chairman Paul Biya declared that the class of Cameroonians to symbolise cornerstone of this phase of nation-bui will not be dictated by what misleading analysts would consider as the restoration of past values. President Biya said they would be picked from those who have confidence in the future of the nation.

At this crucial period of the national existence, President Biya said the renovation task, to which Cameroon are resolutely committed, will more than ever before consist of constantly adapting the sum total of human values to the sociocultural heritage of the nation.

President Biya reminded the new Central Committee that the transformation of the party into a democratic movement implied a well-grounded pursuit of the new option for stringency, moralisation, democratisation.

Elucidating further, President Biya said this means a renewal of the political thinking, a thinking which, he remarked already transforming the overall atmosphere and must continue to do progressively and methodically covering the entire national life.

In an assignment to the members of the committee, President Biya outlined important guidelines for the implementation of the Bamenda resolutions. These include free dialogue and discussions and party meetings, loyalty, competence and discipline.

Those elected to the national bureau are: Francois Sengat Kuo, Solomon Tandem luna, Luc Ayang, Joseph Charles oumba, Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, Basilemah, Bouba Bello Goni, Michael Kima abong, Sadou Hayatou, Jean Marcel lengueme, Theodore Mauyi and Jean kwete.

12 members of the national political bureau are elected from among the 65 members of the Central Committee. The national political bureau is a sort of steering committee.


Idiagbon defends death Penalty

General Tunde Idiagbon, the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, has defended the death penalty for drug pushers. Gen Idiagbon said in a Radio Nigeria programme: "Cocaine, heroin and similar narcotics dehumanise and embolden criminals to commit grievous atrocities as well as induce insanity and even death... they are too dangerous for the society and must be wiped out".

It was the second official reaction to public scathing criticisms of the execution. The critics said while they did not underestimate the seriousness and dangers of drugs, death was wrong. The government was urged to direct its mind to reform, rather than elimination as the society would suffer the effect of brutalization in the end.

Gen Idiagbon dismissed criticisms that the present administration was insensitive to public and press reactions.

He said on Radio Nigeria Public Affairs Programme "Matters of the moment" that the death penalty for drug pushers was a "unique Nigerian solution" to a unique Nigerian problem. And the government did not have to look up to foreign countries for solutions.

Assurances on relief aid

At a meeting with the administrator of the UN development programme, Bradford Morse, the Head of State, General Buhari, has given assurances to the international community that Nigeria would continue to offer assistance in the haulage of relief materials for neighbouring countries, "in the interest of humanity and African brotherhood".

Identity cards from July

From the first of July Nigerians above 10 will be expected to carry identity cards for which a N56.3 million contract was awarded in 1982.

Internal Affairs Minister, Major-General Mohammed Magoro who announced the date said the contract was for the provision of equipment and that Nigerians would undertake the packaging of the cards.

He explained that the scheme apart from personal identification would help curb increasing criminal tendency among some foreigners.

The scheme, he added, would "also assist the National Population Commission in its request for accurate and up to date national population figures".

Each Nigerian registered under the scheme would have to pay N1 for a new card and two naira to replace a lost one.

Protest to Britain over imprisoned Nigerian

Minister of External Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Gambari, has denied allegations by the British Government that detained Britons in the country were being maltreated. Dr Gambari told the acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Thomas Wyatt, who was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs, that the Britons in detention were not being discriminated against. He said that it is also untrue that British High Commission officials were being denied consular access to visit those in prison.

The Minister told Mr Wyatt to convey to the British authorities the protest of the Federal Military Government on the maltreatment in Britain of an imprisoned Nigerian, Mr Mohamed Yusuf. Mr Yusuf was convicted by a British court for his involvement in the abortive attempt to kidnap Umaru Dikko last year.

Dr Gambari told the High Commissioner that Nigeria was concerned and distressed by the frequency at which the acting Nigerian High Commissioner in London was being summoned to the Foreign Office for harassment. The Federal Military Government, he said deplored the new campaign of calumny against Nigeria by the British press.

He pointed out that the campaign by the British press was not only detrimental to normalising relations between the two countries, but would also undermine the excellent relations between Nigeria and its neighbours.

Decision deferred on Britons

The trial judge hearing the case against two Britons accused of conspiring to steal an aircraft from the Murtala Muhammed international airport in 1984, has reserved until 7th May his ruling on the defendants' application for the case against them to be dropped on the grounds that they had already been tried and discharged by the Lagos high court for the same offence.

Students condemn doctors' dismissal

The students' unions of four universities have jointly criticised the Federal Government's sacking of 64 doctors as a reprisal for the doctors' national strike of February 4 to March 18.

The critical students' unions are those of Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye; University of Ife; University of Lagos; and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ado-Ekiti. A joint statement issued by three union. presidents Adewale Adeniji (Ago Iwoye), Wale Lawal (Ife), Tiewei Julius (Ado Ekiti) and secretary-general Oye Alademehin (Lagos) said:

"We wish to hold our breath for now. But, while doing so, we seriously condemn this retrogressive step of the Federal Military Government. Since a stitch in time saves nine, we call on the government to quickly recall all the doctors, if only to act as consultants since drugs are not available for treatment.

"The doctors were patriotic in their struggle for the common men in our society, who are nutritionally deficient and culturally denied".

The students said it was unfair to sack doctors at a time when "one doctor treats 144,000 persons instead of one to 5,000 by United Nations (UN) standards".

Their statement added: "We wish to emphasise that even jailing will not resolve the crisis in our hospitals".

Government refutes allegation

The Federal Military Government (FMG) has said that recent reports that people in Chad face starvation "because Nigeria has closed its ports to Chad-bound emergency food shipment "does not reflect the true picture of the situation.

A Federal Military Government statement explained that its stand on this matter has been that in view of the congestion in our ports and having regard to the fact that we are already committed to allow similar food aid to pass to Niger, our port facilities are so over-stretched that they cannot take on additional imports destined for Chad.

"The Head of the Federal Military Government has therefore consistently advised the Chadian government and food donors that consignments of food to Chad should be sent through Cameroun.

"Despite this, some food aid donors, in flagrant violation of our sovereignty, have sent some consignments of food destined for Chad into Nigeria and, in one case, even transported them to Maiduguri where they are being held by our customs authorities. "However, it remains our policy to assist our neighbours, the Federal Military Government is now carrying out necessary investigations to establish how so much food consignments destined for Chad have been routed through Nigeria against our wishes, and it is expected that difficulties will be resolved soon".

Chad basin commission meets in Lagos

Nigeria has been hosting the 30th session of the Lake Chad basin commission. The six day conference will be followed by a two-day ministerial session.

Major issues being discussed relate to border demarcation, security on Lake Chad, the extent of the drought in the Sahel and how to combat it..

Others are the evaluation, evolution, development and equitable utilisation of the water resources of the Lake Chad basin. The aim of the commission is to initiate, promote and co-ordinate natural resources development projects and research.

Nigeria's minister of Agriculture, water resources and rural development, Dr Bukar Shaib, is its current chairman. Members of the commission are Camerouns Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Co-operation pacts with 41 countries

Nigeria has so far entered into economic, scientific and technical co-operation agreements with 41 countries.

The minister of national planning, Chief Michael Adigun, who made this known while briefing newsmen in Lagos, said that the countries were in Africa, Europe and the Pacific.

The minister explained that the agreements made provision for the establishment of joint economic commissions which should meet annually to discuss, review and monitor the implementation of various projects and programmes identified under the accord. In the past year, Chief Adigun stated, joint economic meetings were held with 11 countries. These are Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Others were Romania, Bulgaria, Cuba, Libya, Niger and the Gambia.

He said that the meetings afforded Nigeria opportunities to consolidate her economic and technical co-operation with those countries and improve her balance of payment position.

He also said that about 200 Nigerians are to benefit from the EEC training programme.


More French aid

Six financial agreements have been signed between the French Aid and Cooperation Fund and the Government of the Ivory Coast. The financial agreements amount to 640,750,000 CFA francs.


Nigeria expels 100,000

The Niger Interior Ministry has announced that Niger was preparing to receive more than 100,000 of its citizens whom it expected to be expelled from Nigeria. President Seyni Kountche was expected to raise the issue of the expulsions during a visit to Lagos. According to "analysts" in Niamey, the expulsion threat, if carried out, would further worsen Niger-Nigerian relations in the wake of Nigeria's closure of its land borders which had damaged severely the economies of Nigeria's landlocked neighbours.


Further devaluation of Cedi in 1985 budget

The PNDC has finally overcome its trepidations over the 1985 budget and presented one which is notable for a further devaluation of the cedi and increase in the prices of petroleum products and other items.

The cedi exchange rate has been adjusted from 50 to 53 cedis to the American dollar while the prices of petrol have jumped from 85 cedis to 95 cedis per a gallon of premium, and from 80 cedis to 90 cedis per gallon of regular. Gas oil is now 80 cedis and 50 cedis for a gallon of kerosine.

Highlights of the budget presented by the Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botchwey are: Ghanaians resident abroad may now open foreign currency accounts with commercial banks authorised to deal in foreign exchange.

Goods imported under the Special Unnumbered License (SUL) are to attract a 50 per cent fee.

Duty exemption is however maintained for all agricultural inputs as well as crude oil and oil related products.

Basic tax exemption has been increased from 1,500 cedis to 5,000 cedis per annum for men and women with dependents in society where the minimum daily wage is cedis.

Tax exemption on educational expenses for children has been increased from cedis per child per annum to 1000 cedis

Interest on deposit rates have been increased by one per cent while lending rates remain unchanged.

Government projections are that revenue is expected to increase from 22,641 mil cedis while recurrent expenditure rises of 27,485 million to 48,510 million cedis. Development expenditure is also expected to double from 3,994 million to 8. million cedis.

No tears for aliens

The Daily Graphic has expressed sympathy for Ghana's High Commissioner in Nigeria who had to deal with 30,000 "recalcitrant and hollow-headed Ghanaians affected by an expulsion order.

These people, after a similar episode just years earlier, had ignored government appeals that they should stay at home to help rebuild the Ghanaian nation; they should not expect a repetition of the cordial welcome accorded them in 1983" the newspaper warned

On 21st April Accra radio reported the arrival home of the first group Ghanaians to leave Nigeria after issuance of the expulsion order.

Nigeria told to open borders

Ghana has asked Nigeria to open its land borders to facilitate the repatriation of illegal immigrants. Meanwhile a Nigerian press comment on the expulsion order including an article in the 'Vanguard' called on the Government to consider that such mass expulsions damaged Nigeria's international reputation while failing to tackle the problem of border security. The general impression, the Vanguard said, was that the major cause of illegal entry of aliens was the corruption of border security forces.

Hospital faces shortage of stationery

Patients at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, in Accra, are being asked to provide their own pieces of paper in the form of exercise books and fullscap sheets for the writing of laboratory reports, doctors comments, prescriptions and the like. This is a result of an acute shortage of stationery that the hospital is grappling presently with.

A visit to the hospital recently by the Mirror revealed that the situation was so acute that the best the hospital authorities could do was to re-use some old folders which, under normal circumstances, are kept for records.

The exercise books and other stationery demanded, according to some hospital authority interviewed, were being used in place of registers, injection forms, prescription forms, out-patient medical and surgical cards and even tablet envelopes.

Concerned Citizens Association

The Concerned Citizens Association of Ghana has been inaugurated at Tema with a call on members to expose malpractices. They were also urged to rededicate themselves towards the government's Economic Recovery Programme.

In his inaugural address, Dr E. K. Quarshie, a homoeopath noted that the Health. association will not only concentrate on exposing malpractices, but will also help foster good relations between the government and the people.

Earlier in a welcome address Asafoatse Armah, a mechanic technician who is an adviser to the association deplored the situation whereby government vehicles which develop the slight mechanical hitch are sold to private companies and individuals at a very low price. He said such vehicles are later found in excellent conditions.

In his remarks, the chairman of the association Mr J. K. Aidoo charged members to live above reproach and resuscitation of the country's economy.

Ex-MP appointed Minister

Mr Salifu Bawa Dy-Yakah, a private legal practitioner, has been appointed PNDC Secretary, the out-going Regional Secretary, Mr Yileh Chireh has been re-assigned to the PNDC Secretariat.

Mr Dy-Yakah was called to the Bar in 1966 and served in the Attorney-General's department as an Assistant State Attorney until 1968.

Between 1971 and 1983 he was the chairman of the Ghana-Burkina-Faso Border Demarcation Committee. Mr Dy-Yakah was also the PNP Member of Parliament for Jirapa-Lambussie Constituency in the Third Republic from 1979 to 1981.

New secretaries for education

Mrs Vida Yeboah and Mr Walter K. Blege have been appointed Deputy Secretaries for Education.

Mrs Yeboah was a former headmistress of Mfantsiman Secondary School and has since 1983 been the Assistant Director of the National Service Secretariat. Mr Blege was a former Headmaster of Mawuli and Anum Secondary Schools. He is also the author of a number of educational publications notable among which is one with the title "Alternatives in Education in a Developing Country: The Ghana Case".

Major Fred Opuni-Mensah has been appointed Executive Chairman of the Kumasi City Council.

Dr Akwei is dead

Dr Eustace Akwei, the first Ghanaian Director of Medical Services has died in Accra after a short illness. He was 71.

Dr Akwei, who was one time Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health, worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Brazzaville, Congo, after leaving the Ghana Civil Service.

He later returned home to serve in the erstwhile National Liberation Council (NLC) administration as Commissioner for

Assistance from W German state

Ghana and the State of Baden- Wuerttemberg in the FRG have signed a memorandum of understanding. Under it, Baden-Wuerttemberg will finance the establishment of an agricultural machine maintenance, repair and training centre in Ghana.

It will also provide additional agricultural equipment, spare parts and tools to the repair workshop of Ejura in Ashanti. The State will support the mechanisation and repair workshop at Somanya in the Eastern Region, and grant scholarships to 30 in students for refresher courses in agricultural management and engineering.

The memorandum stipulates that trade links between firms in Ghana and Baden- Wuerttemberg should be strengthened.

The memorandum was signed by the Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botchway, and the leader of a Baden-Wuerttemberg delegation, Gerhardt Weisel. Before the signing ceremony, Dr Botchway disclosed that the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg has agreed to donate pothole filling machinery and furniture-making equipment to Ghana. He noted that the machinery will assist the government immensely in its road rehabilitation programme.

American gift to hospital canteen

The US Ambassador in Ghana, Mr Robert Fritts has presented a gift of kitchen equipment and utensils, medical supplies, clothing and assorted food items worth C7.5 million ($150,000) to the Korle Bu Hospital Service canteen in Accra.

The items procured by the "American Friends of Ghana, a benevolent group in Buffalo, New York State is the single largest donation received by the canteen since its inception in 1973.

Ambassador Fritts told a gathering that the success story of the service canteen set up by Sister Madeline Chorman, a 72-year- old nun and Peace Corps volunteer "is a telling example of cooperation between Ghanaians and Americans and between government and private organisations".

Mr Celestine Gavor Diji, a Ghanaian resident of Buffalo and co-chairman of the American Friends of Ghana accompanied the gifts from the US.


The Political Counsellor for the Economic Development of CDRs, Lt Col J. Y. Assasie, (rtd), has urged soldiers to be extra vigilant against clandestine manoeuvres by certain disgruntled persons to disturb the prevailing peace in the country.

Soldiers, he said, owed it as a duty to support the Government and ensure stability at all times to enable the nation to achieve the accelerated economic and social advancement it desired.

Lt Col Assasie told a durbar of officers and men of the 4th Battalion of infantry in Kumasi that "whatever credit the Government gets is also an achievement for soldiers".

He drew the attention of the soldiers to the significance of human dignity and advised them to be more tactful in their dealings with civilians.


French aid in education

Under the terms of a financing agreement signed in Bamako, France is going to put at Mali's disposal a sum of 452m CFA francs. This will serve to finance several projects in the fields of health, public works and education.

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