Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Formula for peace

I refer to the three part series (June 24, July 1 and July 8, 1985) ‘Ghana: towards the political kingdom', published under the general heading - ‘Towards Constitutional Government', by Paa Kwesi Mensah.

The writer, obviously worried by the political chaos that has bedevilled the motherland, attempted to lay a broad basis for a new political structure which would be based on "traditional legitimacy, consensus and moderation".

In his brilliant analysis of Ghana's socio-cultural development he correctly identified the conflict between western culture imposed on us through colonialism and traditional values which have oiled the wheels of society for many years.

Against this background he then proposed to bring back the Chiefs into the political forefront while admitting that the principles he had outlined could be given a quite different institutional expression.

I am positive that when his proposals are accepted and debated on by all Ghanaians a definite political motif would emerge which could lay a solid foundation for development. Chieftaincy, as an institution has come under severe battering over the years due to unending disputes and attempts by unscrupulous individuals to gain access to stools with money.

However, the general principle that Mr Mensah outlined needs to be further debated on because it may provide a way out of the coup d'etat in Ghana.

Robert Sampson, Cardiff, Wales

Begging the problem

I agree with Paa Kwesi Mensah that "the most important element in economic development is a sound political system." This is nothing new, since even before Dr Nkrumah, M. Gandhi, Lenin and Marx had pointed this out. The question which arises is what type of political system will give us the 'Freedom and Justice' which we need in tackling the problems of Ghana?

Paa Kwesi asserts that the features of our socio-cultural environment most relevant for political development are traditional legitimacy, consensus and moderation. Real representation also requires a meaningful say in the choice of a representative by the people, and that our only option is a no-party system.

Wherever there is a group of more than two people, there tend to be partiality as time goes on. It is therefore better to identify these groups within a group, so that it can be easier to guess the aims of the sub-groups. Even in a one-party system or no-party systems, there tend to be factions. An example of what happens when one faction comes to power are the dismissals and compulsory retirements which take place.

Paa Kwesi's representation of the CDR shows that it is nothing but a party so why doesn't he say so? If he speaks to a Ga, he will prove to him that the Omanhene of Ghana will never be the reinforcing mechanism which Paa Kwesi hopes will come about, and this has nothing to do with the fact that Accra is a city. His methods of elections would also be only alibi- elections. He will be introducing an election system which some socialist countries are trying to reverse.

Does Paa Kwesi also mean that the fact that the PNDC-CDR system exists legitimises it? Has he forgotten that the SMC-era survived almost eight years only to be described as the worst government Ghana has ever had?

Whereas his analysis is objective, Paa Kwesi's recommendations are begging the problem, and are not even consistent with his relevant features. There is a silent majority in Ghana, and all consistent recommendations should orientate on this majority, not on the shouting minority.

Ebenezer Mireku, Zurich, Switzerland

Sad story of Ghana's revolution

Thank you for the publication captioned 'Sad story of Ghana's revolution' (Talking Drums June 17, 1985) in which Mrs Nana Rawlings, wife of Ghana's Head of State, is reported to be upset by the indifference of the PNDC Secretaries; quarrels among the revolutionary organs and the lackadaisical performance of the tribunals of the PNDC government. She added that the unhealthy develop- ment was frustrating the efforts of the dedicated ones in the revolution.

A story is told of a president who organised a party for his prime minister and the cabinet ministers at the presidential palace. After the sumptuous dinner, the president addressed the guests pointing his finger at them saying 'You are the target' ostensibly shifting blame to his colleagues in case the government was overthrown.

When a setting changes and things begin to worsen, this inevitably reflects in confusion and disarray. Because the PNDC government is disintegrating, some of the revolutionaries are becom- ing jittery and have started to appor- tion blame in advance with a view to exonerating themselves from collective responsibility for the outrageous atrocities meted out to Ghanaians in the course of their so-called revolution which has come to the end of its tether, just as all the previous military revolutions in Ghana lost their momentum and did not achieve anything for the country except corruption, favouritism and nepotism.

Concerning talks of impropriety and corruption creeping in their midst as stated by Mrs Nana Rawlings, I think that the length of a frog can only be seen after it dies, according to a Ghanaian proverb. There have always been commissions of inquiry and a series of academic lectures on 'What Went Wrong' immediately after the demise of every government in Ghana for the purpose of investigating the conduct of the past regime.

Since governments come and go and since there is time for everything under the sun, the time will surely come when the PNDC and all its officials, past and present, will give account of their stewardship to the nation.

Joseph Amevor, Athens, Greece

What are we waiting for?

What are we waiting for? This is a real challenge to every Ghanaian either in the country or outside? If such highly organised crimes are being perpetrated by people in govern- ment in Ghana calling themselves saints then what justification is there for the government to execute bank clerks in their fraudulent deals?

It is very sad that 95% of the literate population have no access to Talking Drums magazine, to read well-written pieces like Kwasi Owusu's articles revealing some of the corruption in the society by those in power and their friends. At times we must blame our- selves for allowing a handful of friends to manipulate national resources to their benefit without any challenge from any quarters.

It is a common saying that whenever a government introduces austerity measures, there is always a loose end by which the rich get richer.

What lessons can Ghanaians of all walks of life (professional bodies, working class, farmers, traders and students) learn from Sudanese profes- sional' revolt which brought down their fascist government? They never depended on resolutions and paid-up advertisements. Effective action was taken inspite of the government being military.

Rawlings and his clique used violence as a way of achieving their own way however immoral.

Those who watched the Channel 4 TV programme on Ghana could recall the lyrics of the last song - HE WENT HIS OWN WAY TO MAKE GHANA WHAT IT IS TODAY - I'm convinced this could be related to Rawlings because he succumbed to the temptation to violently overthrow a government as a result of which unborn generations will be the recipients of a never ending chaos and corruption in our society.

Kwaku Amponsa, London

In search of true democracy

I read with much delight the editorial comment by the Free Press of Ghana which appeared in the Talking Drums of June 3, 1985.

Writing under the headline "In search of true democracy" the paper openly declared its support for constitutional rule in Ghana and in conclusion it called for referendum to decide on the issue at stake.

Free Press should be congratulated on coming our boldly on a burning national issue which the state-owned newspapers fear to discuss. Under the PNDC regime all the national papers have been reduced to mere government gazettes and the journalists who work on them have become sycophants.

On the question as to what form of government is suitable for Ghana, it is appropriate that the question is made open to the general public to debate on. Even without much education and campaigning on the issue of the people of Ghana, I am sure, have already formed an opinion on what type of government is suitable for them.

K.S. Owusu-Appiah, Raubach, West Germany

talking drums 1985-07-22 the cia in ghana behind the scranage-sousoudis affair