Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Let's fight apartheid - Euro-American hegemony

It is rather noteworthy the way in which apartheid policy in South Africa resembles the policies of the different European colonizing powers with regard to their erstwhile colonies as they "prepared" these colonies for "independence".

The present theory of apartheid is to "prepare the blacks in South Africa for independence" in their purported areas of origin. The South African government selects certain "responsible" blacks who willingly accept the trappings of presidency (official residences, flags, Mercedes Benz) while eliminating those blacks who propose alternatives not in the interests of the European population.

Black South Africans become not citizens of South Africa, but citizens of Ceskei, Transkei, etc. Outside of their respective "homelands" such individuals become aliens subject to deportation. And their presence outside of their homelands is tolerated only on the grounds that they could provide cheap labour for the white (European) metropolis.

Isn't the political ideology of apartheid very similar to European political practices vis-a-vis African "pre-independence" and "post- independence" days? Recall that when independence came our appointed homeland leaders were given flags, bands, "armies" and Mercedes Benz and were relegated to our respective homelands some large, some very small. We were subject to deportation from the motherland, and our presence there was justified to perform menial services. We were no longer British citizens but Gambians or Kenyans.

Note how our homeland leaders waste our resources to build up their rickety little armies just to protect their homeland status and to brutalize us. Note how we hang on to these fake and artificial nationalities to the point of our stupid talk about illegal aliens in Africa. Think of how the naive pride of our homeland leaders swell when they are welcomed at Lancaster House or Elysee Palace to receive the blessings of some European Botha.

I am not advocating that we should establish petty atavistic ethnic enclaves in Africa as an alternative to the European created states of Africa but rather that we should demonstrate mature thinking by establishing regional groupings with one currency, freedom of movement and eventually an acceptable Lingua Franca.

What about the Federal Republic of West Africa headed by a committee of decision-makers who in turn elect a chairman to serve for some stipulated term. We ought to be fed-up by now with all these illiterate thugs decked out with hand-me-down European military uniforms who so often hi-jack and then loot our homelands. At least the South African homelands have been spared that embarrassment.

I think it is time that we should start militating against our "homelands" status and the hegemony that Euro- Americans still enjoy in Africa - to be maintained as areas of cheap resources.

C.A. Jalloh, Hyattsville, U.S.A.

A vehicle without steering-wheel

I have nothing against the nomination of Major-General Momoh as the sole candidate for the presidential referendum in October by the All-People's Party Congress (Talking Drums, August 12, 1985). I also appreciate the fact that fourteen years in office of President Siaka Stevens is a mark of political stability in Sierra Leone.

However, President Siaka Stevens and his All-People's Congress should remember that every government is like a vehicle with the opposition party as the steering wheel. Therefore, one party system of government is just like a vehicle without a steering-wheel with the whole population as the passengers.

If this vehicle happens to move on a straight and smooth road to its destination economic and political prosperity all well and good. On the other hand, if this vehicle unfortunately takes the rough road, then the passengers would be in for a shock. I therefore join hands with the people of Sierra Leone for prayers, for only God knows which way this undirected machine is moving.

Mensah B. Stephen, Marseille, France

New hospital fees

It is with great interest that I read an article TANOH JUSTIFIES HOSPITAL FEES (Talking Drums, August 12).

The PNDC Secretary for Health in his nationwide broadcast brings to the attention of the whole world that the cost of delivering health services ha been rising steeply all over the world and Ghana was no exemption, and so the PNDC government finds it necessary to raise adequate funds to meet the higher cost.

Is Ghana going to use the local CEDI to meet the worldwide inflation If so, WHY won't the PNDC government use the BILLIONS OF CEDI which were collected from TRADERS TRANSPORT OWNERS, BUS NESSMEN and WOMEN in the wake of the Revolution by the CITIZEN’s VETTING COMMITTEE (CVC), not the COMMISSIONERS FOR REVENUE COLLECTION?

I will be very grateful if the Honourable Secretary will tell the whole world WHO receives FREE AND OVERRIDING PRIORITY in our hospital THE PNDC OFFICIALS or THE COMMON MAN, in whose interest the revolution was launched?

It is just inhuman for the PNDC government to raise funds at the expense of the COMMON MAN’S LIFE. Well, may be, that is another method of the MASS EXECUTION instead of the FIRING SQUAD.

Bafour Ansah, London

Rawlings and the Bishop

With regard to the Rawlings speech on Bishop Sarpong, two things strike me. I notice that Flt-Lt. Rawlings called himself Head of State when all along there has been a scrupulous attempt to stick to "Chairman of the PNDC". We know there is no difference between the two, but it is still worth noting that he has dropped all the pretences now

The second point I would like make is this, since nobody made him Head of State (or Chairman of the PNDC for that matter) it should not be difficult for him to give it up if he feels it is interfering with the things he wants to do. He could stop being Head of State long enough to punch Bishop Sarpong on the nose or wherever, and then come back to assume the position

Sitsofe Amegbe, Los Angeles, US

Rawlings' many firsts

Flight-Lieutenant Rawlings has introduced many things into Ghanaian political and social life. He should not let being Head of State stand in the way of beating up Bishop Sarpong and teaching him a lesson. He would have become the first Ghanaian Head of State to punch a Bishop who irritated him, and who knows, the fashion might catch on. He is after all a trailblazer; it will only be another first.

Francis Abaka, Bristol

Constitutional debate

I have been reading avidly the various contributions to the constitutional debate you have launched.

Unfortunately, I cannot write any of the learned treaties we have been treated so far. This much however I do know and I am sure of - under military government, people cannot be free because decisions are made only by the leader and his friends. The real test of the existence of freedom is:

1) Whether you can be arrested without reason, that is, having infringed any laws. This guarantee exists under a constitution and can only be suspended under a state of emergency.

2) The right to determine periodically who should govern the country on the assessment of past performance or projected programmes.

The struggle in South Africa is all about these two matters. The whites will not allow the blacks to vote and the police have emergency powers to arrest all the time.

If a state of affairs exists where these two issues prevail, nobody can talk about democracy in Ghana as there isn't any in South Africa.

Cynthia Agyei, Monrovia

The Army Bank

Major-General Tunde Idiagbon has made a spirited defence of the proposed Army Bank in Nigeria. Did it not occur to him that there are other groups of Nigerians more widely scattered around the country who ought to have the same facilities?

I refer to the long-suffering Nigerian farmer who lives and toils in every corner of the country. If the army needs a bank for its exclusive use because there are army camps in "remote areas" does the farmer not need it even more?

It is obvious to me that the ruling military groups in Nigeria are determined to make the members of the Armed Forces into the privileged class. Since the rest of us are not suitably armed to fight them in the only way they know how, we shall sit and watch them. But they should at least spare us the annoyance of having to listen to lame excuses. They should not insult our intelligence also. By the way, will the bank clerks, cashier, accountants, managers, etc, all also be soldiers or will they be drawn from the ranks of the "bloody civilians"?

S.T. Annan, Brixton

Publish the speech

I disagree with the Rev. Bishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong in asking the Catholic Standard not to publish the full text of the speech made by Flt-Lt. Jerry Rawlings in which he made the shocking attacks on the Bishop.

After all, this was an open speech, made on live radio and television broadcasts to the entire country and the newspaper had a right, in fact an obligation, to publish it in full.

If the man himself was not ashamed to use such language in the open, it is not the business of anybody to try to protect him from being exposed. For all we know he is very proud of that speech and regards it as one of his better performances.

Edith A. Nyamasekpo, Glasgow

talking drums 1985-09-02 Coup in Nigeria Fresh hope emerges