Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Measuring inflation

In his recent statement, the Ghanaian Secretary for Economic Planning and Finance alleged that inflation in Ghana today had fallen from 100% to 20%.

I have just visited Ghana where I came face to face with conditions pertaining to goods and services and I therefore find it difficult to understand the basis for the Secretary's interpretation of inflation figures.

For example, a bottle of cold water sells at C2 instead of 20 pesewas, a bottle of local gin (akpeteshie) costs C120 instead of C40, and a boiled egg is now C20 from C4. Necessities such as palm oil sells at C150 instead of C40 and a tin of rice at C60 which until the revolution sold for C20.

Whilst the daily wage for an unskilled labourer is now C100 as against the pre-revolutionary payment of €30, boarding fees for secondary students has risen from €419 to over 1000 per term and an amount of C200 is demanded for a journey from Sunyani to Accra by the private buses.

I don't claim to be an economist, but in a situation where the prices of goods and services keep rising and nobody is able to afford the money to buy the barest necessities, how can they say that inflation is dropping?

I wonder what sort of measuring rod is being applied to Ghana's inflation rate.

Ababio Amankwa, Heilbron, West Germany

Executions in Ghana

It is viewed with anguish the intensification of the executions in Ghana by the Rawlings regime (Talking Drums, June 3, 1985).

In the words of an eminent scholar, 'If you create a society where division and conflict increases then you must not whine if that division and conflict manifests itself in deeply unattractive and damaging ways. On assumption of power, the so-called PNDC government has been pursuing policies based on negative ideologies which are tantamount to polarization of unity, peace and freedom in Ghana.

The manifestation of the PNDC's divisive and retrogressive policies is the economic morass in which Ghana is now irretrievably stuck, and therefore the intensification of the executions is designed to cover up the misdeed and misrule of the PNDC and to divert attention from the abysmal failure of its economic recovery programme which was announced with fanfare and progressive devaluation by the military authorities.

Formulation of a programme is one thing and its implementation is another. The PNDC cannot be unaware of the fact that administration decides the policy and management carries it out. Owing to Ghanaians' disillusionment with the PNDC regime and disinterestedness in its principles and policies, coupled with the exodus of thousands of competent Ghanaians management and skilled personnel escaping death squads, it is not surprising that the PNDC's economic recovery programme has stalled and the machinery of government has shamefully broken down in the country.

It must be realized that the increasing political instability and economic crisis in Ghana have been created by the self-styled revolutionists themselves and that the blood of innocent Ghanaians are being spilled profusely for reasons best known to the cult of Rawlings. The present political set-up in which the PNDC does government business in secrecy and resorts to executions and repres- sion as a cover from the wrath of the people of Ghana is unacceptable.

To arrest the deterioration of the political, economic and social conditions of the country, it is time for a general mobilization of all true Ghanaians for an all-out civil disobedience as a final onslaught on the PNDC to remove the regime together with its inhuman practices in order to re-establish an ideal and responsible government which will be accountable to the people openly.

Ekow Johnson, Majorca, Spain

Hilton Fyle the psychoanalyst?

When I read your news item about Mr Hilton Fyle praising Flt-Lt. Rawlings and his PNDC regime, I was very furious but not at all surprised. People like him sit in London and when they visit despotic regimes in Africa, they are treated as celebrities.

Is it any wonder therefore that they make such inane comments? The least he could have done if he wanted to maintain the least credibility for his BBC programme would have been to keep quiet.

Mr Fyle does an admirable job as a disc-jockey. I believe he should stick to that and not venture into things he is not equipped to deal with. His comments were uncalled for, since when did he become a judge of character to talk so authoritatively about Flr Lt Rawlings' character?

Yau Nyame, Stuttgart, Germany

Voice of the revolution?

If Mr Hilton Fyle says so, it must be right. "Mr Voice of Britain in Africa" himself has stated after a week's visit to Ghana that all is well with the country. Now that the High Priest of opinion formation in Africa himself has pronounced himself satisfied with progress in Ghana, I hope all the doubting Thomases are now convinced that Fit-Lt. Rawlings has wrought a miracle. I only hope that Ghanaians listen to Mr Fyle and do not disturb the PNDC any more.

Only one thing worries me: does it mean that the BBC's Network Africa and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation are now on the same wavelength since both have decided that Flt- Lt. Rawlings is the best thing that has happened to Ghana?

Sophia Sampson, Washington, D.C

Ghana, Nigeria and West Africa

The expulsion of illegal immigrants, especially Ghanaians and West Africans, from Nigeria is everything but fraternal. The only reason which can be adduced for this action other than the obvious current economic problem is vindictiveness.

When their economy was in a boom, many Nigerians noticed the presence of aliens in their midst and, in fact, were a welcome part of the labour force.

Recent successes of many Nigerian Secondary Schools at GCE (General Certificate of Education) are, in no small measure, due to the presence of Ghanaian teachers.

From all indications, these sporadic expulsion orders will not benefit Nigerians; Ugandans did not benefit when Idi Amin expelled Asians from Uganda in 1972 just as Ghanaians did not benefit when the aliens left Ghana in 1970. It was Ghanaians who suffered more because our agricultural production, especially cocoa, fell drastically and our market stalls stood empty for years.

So there must certainly be a concerted action by all West African governments to resolve their immi- gration problems in order to avoid such expulsions which do nothing but sour relations.

Samuel Asare, West Germany

talking drums 1985-07-08 nigeria's security boss writes - we reply