Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Come off it - Rawlings

Since Flt-Lt. Rawlings and his bunch of hardened fascist revolutionaries took power in December 1981, they have been trying unsuccessfully to create the impression that they are patriotic citizens whose main aim for taking over was to ensure social justice and economic stability. Yet events of the past 3½ years and the present socio- economic situations in Ghana has placed doubts in the minds of even the staunchest supporters of his regime, about his aims and objectives.

'Kalabule' and high costs of living which were the charges brought against the Limann regime, are now at their highest and most dangerous peak. Yet Rawlings is trying to convince the people of Ghana and the outside world that his revolution has come to redeem Ghana from chaos.

He knows very well that his revolution has been a total disaster, so it's high time he came off it and admitted failure.

He should give up trying to convince people about his achievements since he himself is not convinced about his aim.

Elvis Ankrah, London

He who is afraid...

I am an avid reader of your up-and-coming magazine each week it comes out. I think it will become, in time, one of West Africa's prominent news organs.

One thing seems to bother me, however, about your reports from Liberia, and the most important event that is now going on in this 'Glorious Land of Liberty' of ours: ie. the political process that should return the country to democratic civilian rule. Every report on the country seems to cater for the conspicuously volatile NDPL or the visibly bourgeois and upper class party, the LAP (Liberia People's party). It is inconceivable for me, for instance, that the foreign press (including your paper) can write so much about these two parties and say nothing about the Unity Party (UP), which was indeed the second party that broke the ice for all political parties, following the 'Almighty' NDPL.

As I write you now, UP is being illegally held up by an impotent Supreme Court that has long lost its supremacy with the Liberian people. The case of the two rascals who have the UP in Court, for example, is by far too substandard and low class for the highest court of the land to involve itself with.

For instance, it is often the party litigant who stands to lose the most (mostly the defendant, in this case the UP) that should take an appeal to the Supreme Court. For it is the defendant who is often accused of wrongdoing and who stands to be penalized if found guilty. However, it is the plaintiff who has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to lose that has appealed to that usually honourable court which has decided to appeal; only to delay the democratic process and thus deprive the Liberian people of participatory government for the first time in the country's 138-year history.

And all this the Justices of our highest court want to sweep under the carpet for only 'thirty pieces of silver', for what they call their daily bread for themselves and their families. Well, I have only one message for them: He who is afraid to lose his daily bread for unjust causes shall lose it a hundred- fold! So let them carry on, they will one day have to account for all of it!

For it is not difficult to see that they have all sold their birth and professional rights for the crumbs off the rich man's table. How can such other- wise honourable men lift up their heads tomorrow and walk the streets of Liberia's towns and cities? It's a crying shame for them and Liberia!!

J. Zuannah Monobaah, Monrovia

Quo Vadis Ghana?

In the past few weeks, I have been paralysed because of the executions in Ghana. I am sure this is happening to many Ghanaians, since most of my friends and relatives are complaining of the same feelings. So in a way the PNDC Government has achieved the aim it wants to achieve with the executions

Those who were executed can be categorised in four groups: soldiers, a businessman, workers and robbers. The soldiers were accused of attempting a coup. One could say that a soldier who plans a coup is aware of the consequences, if he should fail. The answer gets a little complicated when one asks why soldiers should raise arms against their own colleagues. In the coup of 1979 this was easy to answer; junior officers raised arms against senior officers. So far as the country is concerned, this was a mutiny, one of the biggest offences in any country.

This fact has not been discussed enough among Ghanaians. The recent anti-Rawlings abortive coups are not so easy to answer. I will give three possible mistakes in condoning with the coup from 31 December, 1981. This would also be in line with the reason which Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah gave for his resignation from the PNDC in 1982.

The second answer, which I am inclined to accept rather than the first one, is frustration. These officers have no say in what goes on in Ghana, although every Ghanaian believes that we are being ruled by the Armed Forces. Whereas these officers are inclined to suffer just as other Ghanaians, a few of them, and mostly some civilians, have the opportunity to enjoy under the cloak of the Armed Forces.

The third answer has something to do with the second one. Since there is no other means (for the time being) to change the government other than the use of force, these coup-attempts will go on unil the nightmare comes to an end. The PNDC Chairman fears that when these men-of-arms are tried publicly, they will have the support from most of the soldiers. This is exactly what happened when he himself appeared before the tribunal in his first coup which failed in 1979.

The private businessman was executed for fraud. The amount involved is 56.8 million Cedis. This is little more than $1 million. I don't know in what sector this businessman is involved. However, due to devaluation, he needed 53 million Cedis in order to get a letter of credit worth $1 million in foreign exchange, and he chose fraud to get the money and probably keep his employees who depend on him.

The third group are the workers who helped the businessman to acquire the 56.8 million Cedis. This is a slap in the face of the PNDC, since the PNDC has to accept that nothing has changed after all. This is a very bitter pill to swallow, after the destruction of Makola, and the brutalisation of innocent people. Some time ago, these workers would have accepted about 1000 Cedis to do the same job. Conditions brought about by the PNDC itself have pushed the prices in corruption also up. That armed robbery has increased in Ghana is the outcome of what the government itself practises: violence.

As many officials of the PNDC have said, the PNDC has come to stay. This means that those of us Ghanaians who have not got used to the executions and the general violation of human rights will have to find some remedy for our paralysis.

Ebenezer Mireku,
Binzwiesenstr Zurich, Switzerland

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