Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Where are we heading to?

In a couple of months, the government of Flt-Lt Rawlings will be four years in office. The PNDC has ruled without any approved opposition to blame, the economy of Ghana is fast declining and there are no clear indications of economic salvation, neither are there indications of political and social progress for Ghana. Reviewing the activities of the PNDC administration for the past four years, I cannot believe that Rawlings of May/June, 1979, is really the same man whose regime has executed many Ghanaians and seized properties, especially cars and houses to reduce the rich to abject poverty. The 1983 killer hunger, detention of journalists, politicians and people with dissenting views, empty hospitals, poor facilities for schools and the universities, the devaluation of the cedi to less than three cents, killings by stray bullets, sending over seven hundred children to Cuba, and last but not the least the lack of mass involvement and participation by the people as he had promised are veritable instances which go to prove that Rawlings has failed and is not equal to the task before him.

On reading Dr Limann's interview in West Africa of 26th of August, 1985, I found his answers to questions mature and statesman-like. He is a disciplined scholar and was ever ready to admit the failures of his ministers. What we see in Ghanaian politics today is a complete political rape.

What has happened to all the people who started the PNDC, ie. Amartei- Kwei, Akata Pore, Adjei Boadi, Rev Damuah, Maj-Gen Nunoo-Mensah, etc, before the PNDC attained its 4th year? Rawlings should learn to admit that no human is infallible.

Osei Kwaku, Heilbron, W. Germany.

Being our brother's keeper

I have closely followed the article in your magazine under 'Towards Constitutional Government' entitled 'Economic Recovery Under Unitary Government' by Dr John K. Mumuni Braimah of West Germany, and I must say that the three-part treatise took quite some time to make the simple point that federal form of government will not be suitable for Ghana.

He must have agonised over the problem for quite a long time because like many Ghanaians born and bred in the country, the current state of affairs is not satisfactory and would like something to be done to ameliorate it.

However, his solution to a democratic election of candidates to represent the people, without doubt, is quite retrogressive. His recommendation presumably aimed at avoiding all the hustle of electioneering is to elect (as before independence) non-salaried councillors (in local councils) to represent various communities of the country. His reason for this suggestion is that it will be much cheaper than any other form of election already in practice.

Simple as his suggestion may seem, there are several inherent loop-holes which could erode all democratic principles underlying the exercise. The Ghanaian population has grown in size and have become more sophisticated and educated since the last time this form of election was practised.

In my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with the one man, one vote principle, Carefully executed to avoid the corrupting influences, it should serve our purposes quite well.

Kwame Akroma, London

Is this democracy?

The PNDC under the leadership of Flt-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings has been in power for nearly four years after wrenching power from the civilian administrators. The reasons for this undemocratic change of government have been well-documented but the question still needs to be asked: has the government achieved what it set out to do on December 31, 1981? Indeed, does the government represent the people?

I believe that in spite of all the well-orchestrated propaganda to present the PNDC to the world as a sober, rational and good-intentioned government will not be successful because basic ingredients of democracy have been forcibly suppressed in the society.

The fragile Ghanaian press which has always managed to exist on the fringes of boldness and unbiased journalism is effectively controlled from the castle, no matter how loudly the sycophantic Editors may claim. A censored press only serves to demoralise the people and in such an atmosphere hypocrisy has ample room to flourish to serve the bloated egos of those in power. This is because the government hears its own voice and echoes of it all the time, thereby deceiving itself and the hapless population that everything is alright.

The people meanwhile, having been cowed into silence and to the point of economic strangulation have little choice but to fully occupy themselves to make a living and thereby leave the affairs of the state to the vocal few.

It is obvious to all but the few at the top that the whole December 31 affair was a waste of Ghanaians' time because the realisation has now dawned on us all that the government needs something more than good intentions to manage successfully the affairs of the state.

Rawlings must re-think the whole situation and hand over to the civilians.

Mary Sefah, Regensburg, West Germany

A nation in a hurry

Your comment of October 7, 1985, titled as above, touched a number of issues on Nigeria of yesterday and today on which I would like to make a few observations.

Nigeria, from all indications since independence have behaved more like a person possessed by an unfathomable force which has been driving him to an eventual self-destruction. The same can be said of many of the other countries in the West African sub-region.

However, considering the nation's wealth in terms of human and natural resources and the magnitude of the problems that confronted her during the tortuous course of the past 25 years, Nigeria has done pretty well to have come this far without more serious and permanent damage.

I therefore nodded approvingly when you concluded that "one considers all the terrible things that could possibly have happened to Nigeria... it has to be said that the nation has done much better than could have been imagined. Even though things look bleak now, all things considered, Nigerians have a lot to be proud about and deserve hearty 25th anniversary congratulations".

We all have to look forward with optimism that over the next 25 years things will change for the better if we all as one people, work together to eliminate all the national cankers that threaten the foundation of the society.

F. Oluwasani, Wembley

talking drums 1985-10-14 Azumah's World Crown at stake