Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Rawlings must test his popularity

Once the second most powerful man in Rawlings administration, Maj General Nunoo Mensah when asked when the PNDC would hand over power made the memorable retort: To whom? Not long after he saw the folly of his statement and quietly left the PNDC.

Quite a good number of them that time including Rev Dr Kwabena Damnah, a renowned author of many books, Miss Ama Atta Aidoo and others also left the scene. I believe they left for Rawlings to see that the time was ripe to hand over power to a popularly elected leader. Our long wait so far has been in vain while the administration has resorted to silencing its opponents, through executions and imprisonment after being pronounced guilty by the kangaroo courts. This is another apartheid in black Africa.

We Ghanaians need stability for progress and Rawlings can contribute to this by handing over or do as Samuel Doe is doing to see whether he is liked by the electorate.

James Amoako Mensah, West Germany

Rawlings has no mandate to rule

It is not hard to understand what's going on in Ghana today. The high rate of unemployment, the cedi's swift descent to worthlessness and now the executions! It is an indisputable fact that Jerry Rawlings has executed more Ghanaians than all his predecessors put together.

Like all other uniformed leaders in the continent, Jerry Rawlings came with promises he never even attempted to fulfill.

All those who were in the streets of Accra singing Halleluiah today have another tune to sing. They are more than surprised to see their self-styled saviour slaughtering their brothers for faked attempted coups. This brings me to the question: how did Rawlings become leader of Ghana? The so-called redeemer must bear in mind that he never got the mandate of Ghanaians. But apart from that he must answer whether it is a crime to bring down a leader who has failed his people?

I. Idriss,
Munich, West Germany

Which way now, Ghana?

Ever since the military took over from the PNP Ghanaians are yet to understand the system of government being applied today. The PNDC government recognizes that genuine participatory democracy is an obstacle to its socialist direction and is therefore devoting much of its time to deceive Ghanaians with a phoney search for a novel type of government for Ghana.

Whilst democracy has turned Western Europe and the US into comfortable societies Rawlings and his government seek to emulate the standards of the socialist east when they themselves depend on the Democratic West for their survival.

Ghanaians would like to see their nation developing in terms of social justice, economic prosperity, internal tranquility and food for every man and they are all ready to help make this a reality. Therefore the earlier Ghanaians are invited to choose their own leaders, the better it will be for the whole community since that will be the first step towards the participation of Ghanaians in shaping their destiny.

Ababio Amankwa, W. Germany

Condemnation of apartheid

The inhuman treatment being meted out to the oppressed blacks of South Africa deserves all the condemnations African and world leaders have been pouring on the obnoxious apartheid regime in Pretoria.

Even African military or dictatorial regimes who are also guilty of similar violations of fundamental human rights have, on many occasions, spoken publicly against the apartheid regime of South Africa.

At the various OAU meetings many hours are normally devoted to discuss the apartheid question and the dangers it poses to the organisation yet due to a sense of guilt African leaders merely pass resolutions which are never implemented.

The OAU Liberation Committee met in Accra early this year and adopted a Programme of Action which was expected to unleash the last blow against apartheid in South Africa as well as any traces of colonialism and imperialism in other parts of the continent. All the countries represented at the Accra meeting pledged financial and material support for this struggle yet several months after the meeting the liberation process has remained dormant.

To eliminate this sense of guilt it is now appropriate to examine the cases of violation of human rights in the oppressive regimes in Africa.

Recently the country's Minister of External Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Gambari told a meeting of OAU foreign ministers that it would be an act of cruelty to continue to offer mere words and resolutions on the liberation struggle in South Africa. (Talking Drums of March 11, 1985.)

Yet since the inception of the Buhari regime people have been executed and many innocent politicians are now languishing in jails. The Buhari regime has dismissed thousands of workers.

When Tanzania helped the Ugandan exiles to bring down the dictatorial Amin regime, the people of Uganda thought they had been liberated, but the situation soon degenerated into something worse than the Amin days.

The PNDC regime in Ghana has also in a statement urged all peace-loving nations "and all those who believe in oneness and the spiritual value of man" to redouble their efforts to eradicate apartheid in South Africa.

The statement in question further recalled with "undiminished sorrow and indignation, the gruesome and barbarous acts of unrestrained repression and brutalities unleashed by the apartheid police against the innocent people of Soweto", (Talking Drums of July 1, 1985).

While the PNDC regime found it necessary to condemn the apartheid regime in South Africa the people of Ghana are meanwhile being treated in the same way as in South Africa. If the PNDC regime believes in oneness and the spiritual value of man then the practice of sending people to the Kangaroo tribunals should cease.

The regime that has no respect for fundamental human rights and the people's freedom of expression and has unleashed harsh economic conditions on Ghanaians has no real moral right to condemn South Africa's policies.

The OAU should pay more attention to the gross violation of human rights currently raging on in Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and other places where there are no proper courts of law to try offenders. What is happening now is that the OAU is looking at the "speck in its brother's eye but pays no attention to the log in its own eye".

K.S. Owusu Appiah,
Raubach, West Germany

Rawlings abuses Ghanaians

Permit me to comment on the statement made by Flt-Lt. Rawlings in connection with the CIA affair that what the PNDC fears is the ignorance of the people (Talking Drums, July 29, 1985).

Misfits who suddenly find themselves in positions of influence, wealth or power are fond of adopting pretentious postures and using scathing expressions to compensate for their depressed tendencies. A nouveau riche in Accra went to his village for an annual festival. After gulping a few tots of schnapps, he demanded the attention of all the people around him for 'an important question'.

As soon as he was given the required audience, he asked whether poor people attended nature's call. When he was given an affirmative answer, he retorted 'What do they eat?' He meant that, because poor people could not afford to live on rich food, their bowel system should not function. A few years later, his business in Accra collapsed and he returned to the village where he lived in abject poverty and misery until he died.

Shakespeare wrote that 'Man, proud man, in his little brief authority, plays such fantastic tricks on earth that make the angels weep'. Really, the angels might have wept when Rawlings, too, in his temporary power, poured out venom on the people of Ghana at the durbar saying that his PNDC is afraid of the ignorance of the people of Ghana.

Before Jerry Rawlings was born, full blooded, knowledgeable and wise Ghanaians with unimpeachable character worked tirelessly to shape the political and economic destiny of the Gold Coast, now Ghana.

Our fathers used their knowledge, wisdom, patience and experience to achieve their objective, without senseless revolution, corruption, barbaric killings, murder and mutilation of human bodies to consolidate their power. To say that Ghanaians are ignorant is as unfor- givable as the abominable atrocities which the PNDC has committed against the peace-loving people of Ghana who will demand full accountability at all costs from the perpetrators and their collaborators.

Jerry Rawlings and partners may wish to ponder over John Halford's view that 'Revolutionaries believe that problems would be solved if only this government was toppled, or that person was removed from office, or such and such a law was passed so that this or that group be given their "rights". It isn't as simple as that' - Plain Truth, July, 1985.

From the PNDC's own 3½ years experience in office, it should rather be afraid of the repercussions of their nebulous political ideology and bogus economic theory that have induced the state of chaos, insecurity, tensions and confusion in Ghana, instead of casting abuses on Ghanaians whose initiative and hard work have produced the com- fort and wealth which the members of the PNDC and their relatives are enjoying freely.

A person becomes sober when the ego is deflated after an adverse change in his circumstances. He then begins to see things in their right perspective, because the hallucinations generated by intoxication of power have given way to realities. At that point, the revolutionaries will realise to their surprise that the people of Ghana were not being ignorant, but that they were thinking and watching the goings on during the entire period of the so-called revolution.

B.T. Amuzu, Choma, Zambia

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