Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Fund for Ghana's detainees

The Ghana Bar Association has set up a Human Rights Fund for the maintenance of the families and dependents of known Ghanaians detained since the beginning of the 31st December Revolution..

A statement signed by the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Human Rights Fund of the Bar Association said the continued absence of the detained who are the bread-winners of their families have broken up homes and thrown their children out of school.

"Others cannot enter secondary schools because they have no financial support, added the statement. The statement appealed to the general public to support the fund.

Beneficiaries under the Human Rights Fund include Kankam Da Costa, one time Central Regional Minister detained since January 1982, Obeng Manu, a Kumasi barrister, Sam Okudzeto, an Accra barrister and Tommy Thompson, publisher of the Free Press, all detained last month.

Also on the list of beneficiaries are 13 more people detained at various times since January 1982.

Names of detainees

The Ghana Bar Association has released a list of the names of Ghanaians who have been detained by the military government since its inception on December 31, 1981.

These are Kankam Da Costa, former Central Regional Minister detained since January 1982, Dan Nii Oku, E.Y. Agyepong, David Korley, Appiah Amankwah, Nai Abundau Quaye IV, Timoty Kwasi Asa, Alhaji Abubakari Musa and A.K. Twumasi Afriyie since 1983.

Others detained since 1984 are: Adimah Tetteh, Emmanuel Narh, Ahmed Malik and George Darko. The rest are Sam Okudzeto, Obeng Manu, Tommy Thompson and Alhaji T.D. Damba.

GDM calls for unity

The Ghana Democratic Movement has stressed the need for unity among all political groups in Ghana to organise and arouse the political awareness of the people to the grave situation in the country.

To this end the Movement has urged that every possible means should be used to expose the illegality, corruption and incompetence of the Rawlings regime and also bring to the notice of international organisations the futility of giving support to the illegal regime. These were contained in a resolution passed at the end of its first annual international delegates conference in London.

Members of the Movement affirmed their belief that sovereignty resides in the people of Ghana and therefore the will of the people must be expressed through universal adult suffrage to elect leaders and governments of their own choice.

Noting that the introduction of the evils of class war and destruction of social institutions by this regime had led to chaos and heightened criminality, the delegates called for the unconditional abolition of the PNDC regime and the restoration of full democratic government in Ghana.

With regard to human rights, the resolution condemned the barbaric murders and atrocities meted out to innocent citizens, the introduction of secret and public tribunals and pledged to bring justice to all those responsible for this abuse of human rights.

On the economic front the resolution decried the aggravation of economic inequality under the Rawlings regime, damaging dispersal of manpower and brain drain, the stifling of entrepreneurship, the seasonal devaluations of dubious relevance and warned that the piling up of unproductive debt will create serious difficulties for succeeding governments and untold hardships for future generations.

Delegates to the conference came from America, West Germany,Zimbabwe, Belgium, Switzerland and Britain

Chief's call on human rights

The Omanhene of New Juabeng, Dasebre Kwaku Boateng II has said whatever political system Ghanaians choose must be based on a deep respect for human rights

"Man's inalienable rights, like freedom of speech, freedom of association and right to trial before detention should constitute the bedrock of any new democratic system," he said.

Dasebre Kwaku Boateng made these remarks when the National President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Edwi Tengey, the National Secretary, Kabra Blay-Amihere and members of the Eastern Regional Branch of GJA paid a courtesy call on the Omanhene at Koforidua.

Every Ghanaian should regard it a duty to help evolve a meaningful democratic system, said Dasebre Boateng. Our rich history and cultural heritage should guide us in the search, he added.

The President and Secretary of GJA who were in Koforidua as part of the National Executives regional tour also called on the PNDC Regional Secretary, Mr Daniel Agyekum.

Mr Agyekum said the Ghanaian press should see its duty performed if and when it helps the government to bring about national development.

"No government can execute its mandate without the press," said Mr Agyekum who advised the media men to see themselves as partners in progress.

Parents to pay for furniture

As from the next academic year, parents whose children are in first year cycle institutions under the Accra City- Council (ACC) will pay C50 each for the provision of furniture for the schools, M E.T. Mensah, the ACC chairman has announced.

He explained that though it is the commitment of the government as well as the ACC to improve upon facilities in these schools, the council's meagre resources have not been able to cope with its numerous functions.

Mr Mensah, who is also the Greater Accra District Secretary, was speaking at a ceremony at Teshie when the Teshie 1974 classmates union presented stuffed chairs, mats and forms estimated at C60,000 to the various first cycle institutions in the town.

Calling Drums

Schools in the country are to switch from bells to drums to summon pupils to school starting from January 1986.

An official of the Ghana Education Service said that the drums the traditional Talking Drums - would help children appreciate their culture.

Substitute for coal

The Ghana Railway Corporation (GRC) is to substitute briquettes produced locally for imported coal to run its steam engines. The briquettes could also be used as fuel wood in the homes and in industry. The raw material used in the production of the briquettes is saw-dust, a 100 per cent waste from sawn timber which has posed environmental problems for the timber industry as far as its disposal is concerned. The new product is manufactured by CHAONUS Limited based at Akim Oda. The company has already started trial tests.

Britain's gift to armed forces

The British Government has presented training equipment worth 100,000 pounds sterling to the Ghana armed forces in Accra. The items include audio-visual material, video films and tapes, binoculars and other training equipment. The gift is in response to an appeal by the forces in 1983.

The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Kelvin Burns, who made the presentation, said the gift should be regarded as part of the existing exchange programmes between the armed forces of Ghana and Britain. Receiving the items, the Force Commander, Maj-Gen. Arnold Quainoo, said the British gesture underscores the spirit of common brotherhood aimed at making Ghana self-sufficient.

It is also a testimony of the long-standing relationship between the two countries.

Canada helps gold industry

Ghana and Canada have signed a 30 million dollar (about N27 million) management agreement for the rehabilitation of the state gold mining corporation, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) has reported.

Under the terms of the agreement, a Canada-Ghana mining group has been set up to re-organise and take full management control of the Tarkwa, Prestea and Dunkwa mines.

Iranian delegation's visit

A five-man Iranian delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Construction and Rural Development, Mr Ahmad Shafat, is in Accra on a goodwill visit. Speaking to newsmen at the Kotoka international airport, Mr Shafat said there has been a significant improvement in relations between Ghana and Iran.

He said the delegation would explore further areas of cooperation between the two countries. He said the aim of the visit is to increase and develop relations with countries which share common views and aspirations with Iran. His Ministry works toward the improvement of rural areas by providing health facilities, cottage industries and adult education. The delegation, which has already visited Tanzania, will leave for Sierra Leone on the next stage of its African tour.


New police chief

By Presidential decree, Capt. Madji Kodjo Ayakou, officer of the gendarmerie and former prefect of Tchamba, has been nominated director of the national police to replace Mr Kodjo Akeroume.

Report of further bomb explosions

Two bombs exploded simultaneously in Lome late Saturday, August 24, afternoon, at the airport and the national social security offices. The airport bomb was found in a toilet. Security men rushed it to a field where it exploded harmlessly, Togo's television reported.

The other bomb did minor damage. Two weeks ago there were three bomb explosions. The Head of State, General Gnassinbe Eyadema, has ordered security forces to take every step to combat saboteurs.


Arrest of opposition members

The national daily, 'Le Soleil', has reported that Mr Abdoulaye Wade, secretary general of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) and main opposition leader in parliament has been arrested and imprisoned following disturbances in Dakar.

According to the Dakar daily paper about 20 people were apprehended at the same time as Mr Wade, including Mr Boubacar Sall, a member of Parliament, Mr Abdoulaye Bathily, secretary general of the Democratic League Movement for the Labour Party (LD-MPT) and Mrs Eugenie Rokhaya Aw, a journalist.

'Le Soleil' also pointed out that the accused who are liable to imprisonment and a fine, will be tried. The arrests follow a demonstration organised by the Senegalese Democratic Alliance (ADS), which comprises five opposition parties which refused to comply with a banning order by the Dakar regional governor.

Mr Wade heads the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), which has eight seats in the National Assembly to the ruling Socialist party's 110. Also arrested was ADS chairman, Abdoulaye Bathily, who is also secretary general of the Democratic League (LD), a Marxist group. Other member-groups in the ADS, which was set up in July, are the Socialist Workers Organisation, which follows a Trotskyist line, the Union for a New Democracy, and the Union for People's Democracy, a Maoist group.

Fishing agreement with Portugal

According to a spokesman for the Secretariat of State for Fisheries, Portugal and Senegal have concluded a fisheries agreement which will enable Portugues high-sea fishing company owners to operate in Senegalese waters. The source added tha at this stage eight fishing licenses will be granted to Portuguese fishermen, although they should be used by those already operating in Guinea-Bissau waters. Under the agreement, the latter will now be allowed to fish in Senegalese waters particularly in the areas bordering Guinea Bissau's territorial waters.

Mobutu ends visit

President Mobutu of Zaire has paid a visit to Senegal and was met at the airport by President Diouf. According to Dakar radio, Diouf later received Mobutu and held "lengthy and private talks" with him. On the same day Diouf received the new Secretary General of the OAU, Id Oumarou.

Japanese financial aid

Japan has granted Senegal a non-repayable subsidy worth 550m yen or approximately 1bn CFA francs for the expansion of water supply projects in the rural areas. The agreement to this effect was signed on August 9 at the Ministry of Finance by Senegal's Commerce Minister and the Japanese Ambassador to Senegal.

EEC drought aid

The EEC has granted Senegal 33bn CFA francs to help combat desert encroachment and to promote self-sufficiency in food Dieter Frisch, general director of development at the European Commission and Mamadou Toure, Minister of Finance signed the agreement.

Aid from Federal Germany

Water supply and rural development projects are the focus of FRG development aid to Senegal over the next two years agreed by the two governments in Bonn The FRG Minstry of Economic Cooper- ation said that DM 74m has been approved and, in addition, DM 26.5m from earlier pledges was re-programmed. The aid will also aid self-help groups to improve rural production and reafforestation with DM 7m.


River development budget

Despite a financially "difficult situation" the Ministerial Council of the Gambia River Development Organisation (OMVG) has set a 14% higher budget for 1985/86 than for last year. The budget totals 162,654,015 CFA francs (378,265 dollars).

Ministers said technical studies for an anti-seawater dam at Balingho in Gambia were satisfactorily advanced, as were feasibility studies for a reservoir at Kekreti in Senegal. They gave instructions to the development body's commissariat to bring forward similar studies for projects on the upper reaches of the river in Guinea and on the rivers Geba and Corubal in Guinea/Bissau. Reliable sources said a meeting with aid donors for these two phases could be held very soon.


LAP expresses dismay

The Liberian Action Party, LAP, has expressed great shock and dismay at the recent statement made by the Head of State linking the party to an alleged plot to assassinate officials of the Liberian Govern- ment. Reacting to the statement the chairman of the LAP, Mr Tuan Wreh, said the party is a legitimate political organisation duly certified by the Special Elections Commission (Secom) to carry on political activities in the country.

The LAP chairman also said his party has no formal or secret link or association with any person or any Liberian or group of Liberians to initiate a mercenary invasion or establish a death squad as a means to effect political revenge.

He said 'the linkage of the party to some alleged plotters seeking to destabilise the state and engage in political assassination is totally false and without one iota of truth and is designed to destroy our good image as a party and possibly to provide a pretext either for the banning of our party or possibly so as to order a stiff action against the leadership of the party.

At this stage, the LAP would like to draw the attention of the public to a previous statement made by the Government on April 10 1985, accusing the proposed United People's Party and the now-banned proposed Liberian People's Party of being responsible for a coup plot which was alleged to have been unearthed by security agents in the country. "To conclude," he said, "the LAP and its membership want to assure the Government and the people of Liberia that we shall never condescend to enter into any criminal conspiracy with any political or economic malefactors and saboteurs".

Trial of minister starts

The trial of former finance minister, Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has commenced at the special supreme military tribunal in Monrovia. The trial of Mrs Sirleaf was held behind closed doors and journalists were stopped from covering the trial.

The Footprints reported that all efforts made by journalists to solicit information following the adjournment of the trial, which lasted for nearly four hours, were to no avail. Mrs Sirleaf was charged with sedition, criminal malevolence, and violation of sections 88 and 94 of the uniform code of military justice.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Liberian Action Party, Councillor Tuan Wreh, has said that a statement which former finance minister, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, made recently in the United States, and for which she is being held was made by her in her personal capacity and not as a member of LAP. Counselor Wreh said the LAP has nothing to do with that speech and knew nothing about its content until the Government lately published it in newspapers.

Finance Minister's criticism of USA

The United States Congress has passed and approved a resolution to withhold support to Liberia's 1985/86 budget. Speaking at a press conference in Monrovia, Finance Minister G. Alvin Jones said the Americans say unless they are satisfied with the political situation in Liberia, funds from the US economic support grant would not be available.

LBS (Liberian Broadcasting System) radio quotes Minister Jones as saying: The Americans made particular reference to the freeing of political prisoners and a general return to civilian rule in Liberia. The Finance Minister has, therefore, called on his staff to exert all efforts in collecting the 238 million dollar domestic support of the 386.5 million dollar budget.

Minister Jones further expressed grave concern over the United States Govern- ment's behaviour towards Liberia, noting that it is going too far in Liberia's domestic affairs.

Advice to savers

The Government says because some banks which commenced operations in the country by accepting even 5 dollar savings accounts are now imposing hardships on the Liberian people, it is advisable that citizens should now save only with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Agriculture and Cooperative Development Bank, and the National Housing and Savings Bank, in support of the country.


President opens Chad faction meeting

A conference of the factions of the Transitional Government of National (GUNT) has been opened in Cotonu President Kerekou. According to Co radio, the GUNT President, Gou Oueddei, and a Libyan representative Abd al-Afiz Massud, were present at the opening ceremony. In his speech Kerekou urged the factions to make the meeting to peace in Chad irrespective of ideological or religious consideration


Secretary General's views on Africa's problems

The new OAU Secretary General has that Africa will always be confronted by economic problems so long as she is not self-sufficient in food. In an interview in Dakar with the Pan-African News A the OAU Secretary General, M Oumarou, who assumes office formally September 2, said the improvement in Africa's economic situation is a priority to which the Organisation devotes attention.

He said Africa's economic situation was aggravated by drought, desertification, famine and external debt is the main problem to which he will try to find remedies during his term of office. Mr Oumarou singled out the food for special attention. He said agriculture must be improved if food self-sufficiency is to be achieved.

On the rehabilitation plans drawn the recent OAU summit in Addis A Mr Oumarou said that the plans should "guide our actions in the proper direction as well as help us determine the objectives to be attained". He said that for moment Africa does not have the mean attaining all her objectives. For this reason we are obliged to work with the resources at our disposal," he said.

On the situation prevailing in South Africa, the Secretary General said it is high time that Africa, through the OAU took more urgent measures towards fighting apartheid. He said Africa should alert the international public opinion or need for South Africa's partners to understand that the root cause of struggle in South Africa is the disregard for human dignity.

Mr Oumarou urged the international community not to be "contented with OAU declarations of intent against apartheid. He said countries which have the power do so should bring pressure to bear on Pretoria regime in order recognise the rights of the black major "An increased focus is necessary if not indispensable for making the practitioners of apartheid recognise these rights," the Secretary General said African countries should on their part increase their material and financial support for the liberation movements, he said.

Commenting on African countries that are tied to the South African economy, he said that "in our struggle we cannot stop certain countries which are obliged by circumstances beyond their control to establish relations of survival with South Africa". Citing as an example Lesotho, he said "it is practically impossible for this country to survive economically without maintaining the best possible relation with South Africa".

On Afro-Arab cooperation the Secretary General said Arabs and Africans alike were anxious to give this cooperation a new lease of live as well as give it the most solid foundation.


Varsity told to stop transfers

An Ibadan High Court has restrained the University of Ibadan from transferring 22 of its students who are currently pursuing B.Sc degree courses in Architecture to other universities in the country until the determination of a suit before it.

The action of the court followed a motion filed by four of the students on behalf of others, when the institution informed them that their course would be discontinued this academic session.

Chief Babalola who filed the motion on behalf of the students urged the court to make a declaration that the senate of the institution was the competent body in law to decide students within the established faculties. He also urged the court to make a declaration that the university has a duty to provide the human and material facilities to enable the students who have been admitted and registered for B.Sc degree course in architecture, in the Faculty of Technology 1983/84 and 1984/85 sessions to complete the course of instruction for the award of B.Sc degree of the institution.

In addition he sought an injunction restraining the institution from transferring the students to any other university or taking any steps which have the effect of denying the students any opportunity of pursuing the course in the institution pending the final determination of the suit. Arguing the motion before Mr Justice Aderoju Aderemi, Chief Babalola contended that once a student was registered and matriculated in an institution the student becomes the member of the once institution adding that the whole idea becomes a contract.

Twenty undergraduates to withdraw

Twenty students of Ogun State University in Ago-Iwoye have been advised to withdraw for alleged poor academic performance.

The names of the students affected were contained in the latest news bulletin of the institution, according to a report on Ogun State Radio Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC).

Eighteen of those affected are from part two, while the two others are in part three. According to the bulletin, eight of the affected students were from the Social and Management Sciences.

The bulletin also indicated that four each were expelled from the faculty of Arts and Agricultural Sciences and one from the Faculty of Education.

In an interview the registrar of the university council took the step to emphasise excellence in academic performance.

Compensation for dismissed editor

An Enugu high court has ordered the Jupiter Publishing Company, publishers of the Satellite Newspapers, to pay N10,433.97 as damages to its former Editor, M. Obinwa Nnaji, for wrongful termination of his appointment.

Mr Nnaji had filed a claim for N100,000 as special and general damages, following the termination of his appointment in April last year, by the company contrary to the terms of contract entered into between both parties.

Counsel to the company, Mr L.M. Ezeofor, had told the court that Mr Nnaji was not entitled to a notice before the termination of his appointment, because he participated in a workers strike action.

This apart, counsel contended that Mr Nanji owed the company N13,948, being the amount spent to furnish his apartment and the balance of the vehicle advance granted to him.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Adrian Orah said the letter terminating Mr Nnaji's appointment stated that the action was taken "as a result of financial problems and subsequent reorganisation in the company".

The judge said that the company could not rely on previous misconduct which it condoned to dismiss Mr Nnaji.

Two death sentences commuted

One of the final acts of the Supreme Military Council is to commute the death sentences by firing squad passed on Jonathan Menyele and Anthony Owor to five calendar years imprisonment each. The two men were convicted of illegally storing more than 27,000 litres of automotive gas oil and more than 37,000 litres of similar liquid in tankers. The Council ordered the release of one of the tankers to its owner while the second tanker is to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

These decisions were contained in a communique passed on the meeting of the Supreme Military Council held in Lagos on August 20. Another person sentenced to death by firing squad for illegally storing automotive gas oil, Mr Stephen Adebo, had his sentence commuted to five calendar years in prison on the ground that the offence did not amount to economic sabotage against this country.

In the case of Oluwole Adeshokun Okunla, the Council reduced his 21 calendar years imprisonment to 10. Moruso Ajala, who was given 10 calendar years' imprisonment for unlawfully removing a NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) meter will now serve five calendar years with hard labour. The other person, Prof Ambrose Ali, former Governor of Bendel State, had his 21 calendar years imprisonment reduced to 10 calendar years. Prof Ali will, however, refund more than 600,000 naira to the Federal Government. A heroin convict, Morensa Lawal, had her death sentence by firing squad confirmed.

Two pilgrims in hospital

Two Nigerian pilgrims who performed this year's hajj to Mecca, were reported to have been hospitalised for mental illness.

A Radio Nigeria, Lagos programme "Hajj '85" quoted the medical officer in charge of Mecca Zone, Dr Halilu, as saying that the patients were being closely watched by a psychiatrist and were responding to treatment.

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