Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Foreign journalists not welcome

Foreign journalists are still not allowed to visit Liberia. The measure was cabled to the Liberian Embassy in Ivory Coast by the Liberian Ministry of Information which said it wanted to reduce the volume of news reports on the recent developments in the country. Meanwhile, the Information Minister Carlton Karpeh has criticised the manner in which certain Anglo-Saxon media organisations had covered the coup attempt.

Doe's message to Reagan

Head of State Gen Samuel Kanyon Doe has assured US President Ronald Reagan that despite the unhappy and painful incident of 12th November his government seeks no revenge and that it will continue to pursue a policy of reconciliation and reconstruction.

A release issued in Monrovia said Gen Doe recounted the sacrifices his government had made in trying to put the Liberian ship of state on the course of civilian constitutional authority. Following the 15th October general elections, the release said, Gen Doe appealed to all Liberians for reconciliation and reconstruction with the hope that as Liberians all would join forces as members of the only political party essential to economic recovery and in fighting all the challenges and decisions requisite to our national agenda.

According to the release Gen Doe expressed surprise that at such a time when unity is indispensable, certain Liberians would, with the help of foreigners, 'invade' the country with all the negative consequences it engenders both at home and abroad.

Gen Doe's message follows the one sent by President Reagan in which the American leader regretted the attempt to forcibly unseat Gen Doe's government, which he said. threatened the return of Liberia to civilian rule.

Work for peace and progress

The deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Colonel Edward Massaquoi, has called upon LEC employees to rally their human resources and work together in a spirit of national reconciliation, peace and progress. Colonel Massaquoi, who is also chairman of the joint security, was speaking at the LEC bushrod yard where he addressed the LEC employees on the recent 12th November coup attempt.

He told the LEC employees not to connive with all obscure forces that were determined to sabotage national development. He indicated that the Liberian government will not be vindictive against those who were in support of the 12th November incident, noting that the government was fostering a spirit of reconciliation so that the progress of national economic development will not be retarded.

Colonel Massaquoi told the LEC employees to cooperate with security forces in tracking enemies of the state, most especially the 12th November rebels.

New economic measures

The Minister of Information has clarified that pensioners earning less than 200 dollars per month are exempt from the 25 per cent salary deduction to be effected from the beginning of this month.

The minister also said no person will be permitted to take more than 1,000 dollars in cash out of the country as announced by the government on 22nd November. He said any money more than 1,000 dollars cash to be taken out of the country will have to be done through the banking system.

The Minister said the clarification was necessary as the earlier report had implied that no money more than 1,000 dollars cash will be taken out of the country without speaking about the use of the banking system which includes travellers cheques, money orders, and letters of credit.


Formation of news agency

A training course has opened in Bamako for about 20 regional correspondents for the launching of the Malian news agency and advertising agency (AMAP). "We are at the launching phase of this new agency," Cheick Moctary Diarra, AMAP Director General, said at the opening of the training course.

The national news agency, which has been in the making at the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications for three years, will improve upon its reception conditions and its news transmission capacity. AMAP is the fruit of co-operation between Mali, UNESCO and the FRG and it was on the basis of UNESCO recommendations in 1980 that the FRG decided to give aid to some agencies of a certain number of African countries, including Mali.

These agencies would be able to transmit their news items to PANA.


Multi-party system not workable

Multi-party politics may never work in Nigeria for a long time, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, former Oyo State governor has said. Dr Olunloyo, who was giving suggestions to Babalakin panel in Ibadan on the political future of the country, said that in Nigeria "political contests are too closely intertwined with economic contest."

"There is economic contest masquerading as political contest, there is a lot of bread and butter calculations involved in Nigerian politics," he added.

He suggested, however, that a zero party or one-party system if discussed and agreed should be tried.

Dr Olunloyo cautioned against hurried return to party politics but suggested a gradual return level-by-level starting from the local government graduating to state government

and eventually federal executive level. He suggested that the military should be around until a final and well-calculated military disengagement.

In his suggestion, Alhaj Umaru Omolowo, for- mer Oyo State police commissioner, said that all politicians of the first republic regardless of their ages and qualifications should be banned from further participation in party politics in Nigeria.

Don't hold political meetings

Politicians in Ondo State have been warned against holding political meetings of any sort. Governor Mike Akhigbe, who gave the warning, said the fact that President Babangida promised a political programme for the country next year was not an indication to the resumption of politics in any part of the country now.

He said since the ban on political activities was still in force, no group would be allowed to arrange or hold any political meetings either secretly or openly.

Governor Akhigbe was addressing former political detainees including ex-governor Adekunle Ajasin and his former deputy, Chief Akin Omoboriowo in a meeting in his office in Akure.

He said that it was his responsibility to stop any meeting suspected to have political intentions in any part of the state.

He told the politicians, some of whom regained freedom in September this year, that their release was still conditional, adding that they were all expected to keep the peace and live a quiet life.

Foreign accounts operators

Operators of foreign accounts in the country can now do so without disclosing the source of

the money. Decree No. 18 published to this effect stated that such money must, however, be designated as an internationally-convertible currency.

The currencies US dollar, British pound sterling, French francs, Deutshcemarks, Swiss franc and other such currencies as the AFRC may from time to time order to be published in the gazette.

Those authorised to operate such accounts are persons resident in Nigeria, corporate bodies registered in Nigeria, diplomats and their missions and international organisations.

Minister's advice to journalists

Journalists have been told to ensure that in the course of their professional assignments they avoid the news materials which tended to divide the country. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lt-Col Anthony Ukpo, gave the advice in Enugu, Anambra State, in a message to the second biennial delegates' conference of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). • Gov. Omervah He stated that at this stage of the development of journalism in the country, there was a need for a censorship mechanism for the promotion of high professional stan- dards. Colonel Ukpo said so far the Federal Military Government has not been let down by the Nigerian journalists since the abrogation of Decree 4 of 1984. He urged the NUJ to offer proposals on how best to solve the problem of impatience by the people...

The State Governor, Group Capt Emeka Omeruah, who declared the conference open, said members of the NUJ should see them- selves as true partners of the government; he pointed out that journalists owe the society a duty to promote peace and unity in the country. The Governor called on members to consider the consequences of functionalised professional unions.

NLC ultimatum condemned

The recent ultimatum given by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on civil servants pay cut "is a flagrant abuse of tolerance and liberalism," the former director-general of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Dr Walter Ofonagoro, has said.

Dr Ofonagoro said that the NLC went to sleep' and did not raise a finger during the ousted Buhari/Idiagbon administration.

He said that the massive retrenchment carried out by that administration, which brought untold hardship to the people did not get "enough condemnation" by the NLC.

Dr Ofonagoro said "NLC's present attitude is not bravery but an abuse of tolerance and liberalism."

The Federal Government, according to him, should work out a crash programme for the exportation of agricultural proceeds in order to improve the country's balance of payment position.

He said that government should abolish a non-resident account to enable Nigerians working abroad to bring home some percent-age of their earnings.

The Western countries, strategies of giving assistance with their conditions, he said, was the bane of Nigeria's and Third World's economic problems.

Feel free to disagree

Newly appointed commissioners in Gongola State have been advised to feel free to disagree with government where its policies appear to them to be wrong and against the public interest.

Governor Yohanna Madaki, who gave the advice in Yola, said that loyalty to governor and government should not mean worship of personality or "giving blind obedience to illegality".

He said while swearing in the new commissioners that they would only be doing their duty if they disagreed with him based on their honest and reasonable conviction as to rightness or wrongness of a course of action.

Don't refuse IMF loan

Refusal to reach an agreement with the IMF could lead to economic and social problems in the country, a bank executive has warned.

The warning was given by the strategic planning manager of the United Bank for Africa, Dr Boniface Chizea, during a symposium on IMF organised by the Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers.

Dr Chizea explained that a delay at finalising agreement with the fund could result in more factory closures, rising unemployment, retrenchments, increased loss of purchasing power, pervasive and endemic scarcity, spiralling price increases, which could definitely cause insecurity of life and property, leading to disorder.

He said: "If the nation refuses the loan, the first glimmer of the consequences of such a decision are already there for all to see," adding that the creditors had made the acceptance of an IMF loan as a pre-condition for their willingness to extend further credit to us. He also explained that the nation needed to move away from austerity conditions to growth.

Promotions in the Army

Soldiers have been assured that current pay cuts ordered by the Federal Government would not stop normal promotions in the Army. Brigadier Peter Admokhai, General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanised Infantry Division, who was on a two-day visit to units under his command, explained that promotions would continue to be extended to deserving soldiers.

Obasanjo to serve on group

Nigeria has now decided to take part in the work of the Commonwealth contact group formed after the recent Bahamas summit. Former Head of State, Lt-Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, has therefore been appointed by President Babangida to represent Nigeria on the group.

Foreign Minister Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi had earlier announced that Nigeria would not participate since the apartheid regime had never been known to respect any view different from its own.

Isiaku donates to state fund

Alhaji Isiaku Ibrahim, who has been described by the National Concord as the erstwhile right ear of ex-President Shehu Shagari has presented a quarter of a million naira towards efforts to develop his home state.

Alhaji Isiaku, a businessman of international repute, was on the forefront in the opposition of the Buhari/Idiagbon military regime which overthrew the popularly elected civilian government of President Shagari. In several international newspapers, Alhaji Isiaku declared his opposition to the Buhari military regime and also questioned the honesty of the coup makers who sought to justify their action with accusations of corruption by the civilian politicians.

He refused to return to Nigeria while Buhari. remained in power and his donation of 250,000 naira, sent to Lagos in the form of a certified cheque, is seen by many observers as an indi- cation of his new attitude towards the new regime headed by Babangida. His donation was reported in all the Nigerian newspapers and on the Federal Networks Television NTA.

Other donations at the launching of the Plateau State Industrial Development Appeal Fund came from the chief launcher of the Fund, Chief Yinka Folawiyo, 200,000 naira, Chief Louis Ogbogu who gave £5,000 plus another 25,000 naira, Chief Michael Ibru, chairman of the occasion, 199,000 naira, Saleh Jambo and household, 225,000 naira, Alhaji A.D. Nohammed, 100,000 naira, and Prince Ado Ibrahim, 50,000 naira. More than 1.8 million naira was collected at the launching to raise the amount collected so far towards the fund to 6.3 million naira. The fund has a target of 15 million naira.

Arms on Ghana plane

The plane that was found at Dublin airport last week with arms on board has been confirmed as a Ghana-registerd plane owned by a Viennese company.

Irish police had been baffled about why equipment similar to that used by the IRA should be on a Ghana plane, as reported in Talking Drums last week.

The Boeing 707, registration number 9G- ACY, is owned by an import-export company called Penetex owned in turn by a Viennese conservative councillor Peter Neuman and registered in Ghana. He is said to have acquired the plane three years ago as payment of a debt.

The plane is said to be regularly used by the Libyan international show jumping team and had just returned from Libya. Police fear that Libya had started supplying arms to the IRA again.

28 killed in tribal clashes

Large groups of Mobas from north-eastern Ghana are reportedly fleeing towards Togo seeking refuge in Togo. According to explanations given by these refugees their flight from Ghana follows bloody clashes. which broke out on 17th November between Nanumba and Konkomba communities in the Mamprusi area. The clashes, caused by chieftaincy disputes, have left 17 Mobas and 11. Konkombas dead. Concern at increased use of "pidgin English" The Echo has expressed concern about the alarming rate at which pidgin English is spreading on the campuses of second cycle and other institutions of higher learning. It says what began as a joke of gossip language in schools is now becoming the lingua franca of the youth.

The paper is aware of the existence of slang, colloquial and even what is described as the city language in some parts of the world, but it points out that in these cases, one cannot find a mixture in which all the tenses are thrown to the wind and words are picked from far and wide, making no sense to the listener.

This practice among the future leaders of this country, says The Echo, must be stopped. It therefore calls on the Ministry of Education, the Ghana education service, teachers and parents to take stern measures to stop this pidgin English in schools.

'No glut of foreign aid' Botchway

It has never been the intention of the PNDC government to perpetuate dependence on foreign loans and saddle future governments with long-term liabilities, Dr Kwesi Botchway, Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning has declared.

In an interview before he left Accra for the consultative group meeting on Ghana in Paris, Dr Botchway said there was the belief in certain quarters that the government was contracting huge loans without letting the people know how they were being utilized.

He said it must be understood that until the launching of the Economic Recovery Pro- gramme, Ghana was getting less bilateral assistance than the average official develop- ment assistance from the donor countries and institutions. Dr Kwesi Botchway According to the Secretary, a study of the average annual flow of loan per capita from bilateral donors to recipient countries amounted to about 45 dollars while Ghana had 17 dollars, adding that it was wrong to presume that Ghana was contracting too much loans.

Dr Botchway said Ghana was now getting near the average from the bilateral sources, adding that there was "no glut of foreign aid to Ghana". "The assistance we are getting is to help. secure the future of our projects but not saddle future generations with hardship," Dr Botchway added.

He noted that the government's strategy was to contract long-term soft loans from international institutions like the International Development Association (IDA) with little or no interest.

Dr Botchway said as a result of the govern- ment's economic policies, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has averaged 3.3 per cent for the period 1983 to 1985 and 6.5 per cent from 1984/85 at a time when most African countries were registering negative growth.

At the same time, the Secretary pointed out, inflation has been brought down from 75 per cent in 1980/81 to a level of 40 per cent in 1982/83 and it is expected to go down to 15 per cent by the end of 1985.

New political order

The work of the National Commission for facilities. Democracy (NCD) is not shrouded in secrecy.

A good deal of work has been going on over the past year involving analysing of existing institutions, reviewing documents and reassessing Ghana's political history and culture. What may look like secrecy is therefore a cautious way of proceeding in order to cover all the available grounds and provide a philosophical framework for the new political order.

Mr Justice D.F. Annan, PND member and chairman of the NCD who made this known in Accra said the committee has now reached the stage of preparing to interact with the public. He said, with a view to the failure of the country's constitutional experiments due to their characteristic elitist nature, the NCD is basing its conception of politics on reversing the approach and forge a new political order which has its basis in local government.

Yam export won't harm supply

The revival of the exportation of yam by the government would in no way harm the domestic market since it would be restricted to the exportation of only 100 tonnes a week of a particular species known as "Dundunbanza". Mr Ibrahim Adam, Under-Secretary for Agriculture (Crops), who gave this assurance, was reacting to public out-cry on the lifting of the ban at a news conference in Accra. He explained that yam production this year has been very significant, rising to over 800,000 tonnes just as its close substitutes, cocoyam and cassava.

Mr Adam pointed out that though the Ministry of Agriculture has no current data on the national requirement, demand for yam as compared to other tubers is negligible.

Bolgatanga-Ouagadougou link

A microwave link between Bolgatanga and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso being installed by the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (P&T) under the ECOWAS- sponsored Intelcom project, is expected to be completed by July 1986.

The $600,000 Intelcom project is proceeding. on schedule to provide direct telephone, telex, telegraph and television links between the two West African economic community members.

Meanwhile, P&T engineers and Japanese experts are working on yet another microwave project sponsored by the Japanese Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF) to link Accra and the Upper Region of Ghana. The two projects when completed will link Ouagadougou to most parts of Ghana.

Under the $26 million OECF project, which started last May, low-power consumption microwave transmitter-receivers, each capable of handling 960 telephone channels and colour television transmissions, are being installed in more than 25 locations between Accra and Bolgatanga. Rural communities along this link will also have improved telecommunications

Telecommunication links between Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast, being financed by the African Development Bank under a Pan- African Telecommunication (PANAFTEL) project, will be commissioned by April 1986.

All are capable of stealing

Mr Yaw Akrasi-Sarpong, Secretary of the PNDC Secretariat, has suggested that all categories of workers, including management mal-d staff, should be searched before they leave their work premises because "every human being is capable of stealing".

He cited instances of top men who have been jailed for embezzlement or outright stealing involving huge sums of money and questioned whether such people had any moral right to point fingers at their juniors whose offences were "comparatively peanuts".

Expressing his own views after reading a speech on behalf of Mrs Aanaa Enin, PNDC member, at the inauguration of the CDR of the Poly-Products (Ghana) Limited in Accra, Mr Akrasi-Sarpong expressed disgust at an incident at one of the country's gold mines where a CDR member, who asked the security men to search a white man leaving the premises, was beaten up severely by the security men.

Deportees from W Germany

Twenty-seven Ghanaians repatriated from West Germany for various immigration offences have arrived in Accra. The deportees, including two babies, were accompanied in a special air transport plane by 30 German policemen.

A police spokesman told newsmen that the deportees, most of whom have been in West Germany for more than one year, were arrested either for entering Germany without the correct travelling documents or overstaying their residence permits. West German police sources disclosed that the plane had already discharged 15 Moroccan deportees in Casablanca and 27 Senegalese in Dakar.

Ghana-Togo differences

Maj-Gen Babangida is to call another summit of the heads of state of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria in Lagos in December to try to resolve differences among them. It is recalled that "a recent meeting between the four countries ended without a compromise on a major division between Ghana and Togo over an issue of bombings in Lome in which the Togolese accused Ghana of complicity".


Negotiations with EEC

Negotiations between Niger and the European Economic Community (EEC) have begun on the utilisation of the 40.5bn CFA francs package granted to Niger under the Lome III convention. The general orientation of this programme of financing covers the field of rural development and food production. Co-operation between the European Development Fund (EDF) and Niger can be traced back to 1960. The EDF has already financed one irrigation project which cost 1.462bn CFA francs and the rehabilitation project of an air strip which cost 357m CFA francs.


US aid for telecommunications

The USA has given a subvention of 250,000 dollars - about 100m CFA francs for the conduct of studies to determine the main conditions required to establish a rural telecommunications network by satellite in Ivory Coast.

This telecommunications system comprises the use of satellites, earth stations and perhaps some other means of telecommunication and the subvention was granted within the frame- work of the US Trade and Development Programme (TDP) of the international agency for trade and development. Mr Ange Francois Barry Battesti, Minister of Public Works, Construction and Posts and Telecommunications, said that one of the priority objectives of the five-year development plan is to extend telecommunications to the rural areas, beginning with the prefectures and subprefectures followed by the other localities.


PANA's progress report

The interim director general of the Pan- African News Agency, Dr Ibrahim Dagash, has criticised media managers and editors who assume that "authentic journalistic sources are only those emanating from outside Africa".

Presenting his report to the first extraordinary session of the conference of African information ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Dr Dagash said that while many media managers and editors use PANA materials regularly, there were a few who preferred to use similar material from transnational news agencies regardless of the merits of PANA's news services.

Dr Dagash said he was convinced that "PANA can claim its integrity and capability in reporting Africa objectively and sincerely better than any other international media" which are leading PANA in the news market because they are "equipped with the experience and the technical know-how".

He disclosed that PANA might conclude co- operation agreements with major international news agencies subject to detailed studies investigating the advantages and disadvantages of such co-operation.

The interim director general conceded that many African news agencies still send news late to PANA. "Sometimes favouring the multinationals instead." Some of the news items received do not meet the highest professional standards and PANA's request for feedback its services often remain on unanswered, a situation which weakens the agency's effectiveness and ability to compete in the news market, Dr Dagash pointed out.

On the financial situation of PANA, Dr Dagash disclosed that to date, the contribution arrears of member states stand at some 10 million US dollars while the agency's 3.5 million dollars yearly budget is "only on paper".

Concerning the staff of the agency, the interim director general said that the "final structure of PANA remains to be implemented" and the provisions in the budget for various posts are still a problem area...

PANA's new director general

Congo's Auguste Mpassi-Muba has been elected the new director general of the Pan- African News Agency after two days of heated discussions by African information ministers at their meeting in Cairo.


Trial of rioters

The trial of 105 people charged in connection with violent incidents in December 1983 in the southern province of Casamance has begun before the state security court. It recalled that the clashes arising from "demonstrations by a secessionist movement" left 28 people dead. Nearly 300 people were detained of whom 181 had since been freed; seven died in detention and further 19 people had been listed as wanted persons.

Loan agreement with France

A 66.1m franc loan agreement has been signed at the Secretariat of the Ministry of Water and Forest Resources by Capt Tiana Diallo, Secretary of State to the Minister of Agri- cultural development in charge of water resources and forestry and Henri Rethore, French Ambassador to Conakry.

The loan, which is intended for the inte- grated development project in the cotton growing zones, will be used in the financing of an agricultural project for the production of cotton and food, the training of farmers, animal health, feeder roads and boreholes and development to increase the capacity of the Kankan ginning factory.



alias Comfort Amoako Agyemang, Director of Kotoko Textiles and Traders Nyamekye of International Cocoa

Asona Abusuapanin Emmanuel Amoako of Adansi Fomena, Ghana; Mr Peter Dwaah, former GNA correspondent in London; Madam Adwoa Bonna, Fomena; Mr Kwaku Ennin, Accra businessman; Mr I.K. Organisation, London; and Miss Gladys Baafi of London

announce the final funeral rites of Mrs Comfort Dwaah, Shop, Shoreditch, London E2, who was tragically killed in a motor accident near Swindon on September 24, 1985 at Anson Hall, Cricklewood, NW2 on Saturday 7th December, 1985 at 2pm-11pm.


All friends and sympathisers are invited. RSVP: Tel: 01-205 4987/01-206 2137/01-581 0228

talking drums 1985-12-02 The spy swap Sousoudis for 8 Ghanaians and families