Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


President calls for vigilance

In his first official function as Head of State, President Momoh addressed heads of departments and top civil servants at State House. He described the present economic situation as precarious and called on all civil servants to ensure that the situation is salvaged. Momoh pointed out that failure would not only tell on him as President but on all civil servants in authority. That is why, he maintained: We should all join forces together, put our shoulders to the wheel, and ensure that we give our best to justify the confidence reposed in my administration by the entire populace.

In another engagement, President Momoh handed over the symbol of authority of the office of Force Commander to Brigadier Tarawalli at a ceremony held at the Hockey Pitch, Wilberforce. Speaking at the ceremony, the President said he was taking leave of the armed forces with mixed feelings. He said he was happy that the people of Sierra Leone had reposed much confidence in him by electing him to the exalted office of President of the Republic.

President Momoh said he felt sad as he was leaving behind very familiar surroundings as well as very close friends and colleagues with whom he had worked for many years. He said sources said he had been retired, he would, however, be part and parcel of the armed forces by virtue of his position as Commander-in-Chief. Gen. Momoh assured the army that his government would continue to show keen interest in their welfare and that any effort to make things better would not be spared.

He said that the government has every right to expect that the army should be prepared at all times to pour its full weight behind the new administration, adding that eternal vigilance is the price we have to pay for our liberty.

Noting that members of the armed forces had served him diligently when he was force commander, President Momoh said he had no doubt that they would give the same degree of dedicated service to his successor, Brigadier Tarawalli.

In his acceptance speech, Brigadier M.S. Tarawally described the post of Force Commander as a trustworthy position and therefore a source of great pride for him in having reached the pinnacle of his career. He thanked President Momoh for the trust and honour bestowed on him and promised that they will never be misplaced.

On behalf of the entire Republic of Sierra Leone military forces, the new Commander Force warmly congratulated the President adding that they share his joy and pride.

Gen Momoh's new cabinet

Maj-Gen Joseph Momoh has named a 19-member cabinet, taking the defence, establishment and state enterprises for himself. He appointed Francis Minah First Vice-President, Attorney General and Justice Minister, and Abubakar Kamara Second Vice- President with responsibility for lands, housing and country planning.

Other ministers are: Finance, Development and Economic Planning, Joe Amara Bangali; Foreign Affairs, Abdul Karim Koroma; Agriculture, Natural Resources and Forestry, Suffrian Kargbo; Trade and Industry, Michael Abdulai; Education, Joe Jackson; Transport and Communications, Sheku Sesay; Mines and Labour, Sanie Sesay; Health, Salia Jusu- Sheriff; Works, Energy and Power, Hassan Gbassay Kanu; Information, Broadcasting, Tourism, A.G. Sembu Forna; Cultural Affairs, Social Welfare and Rural Development, Tom Smith; Leader of the House, Harry T.T. Williams; Internal Affairs, S.B. Kawuwu Konteh; Forces Commander and Minister of State, Brig Mohamed Tarawalli; Police Inspector-General and Minister of State, P.M. Johnson; Minister of State for Party Affairs, E.T. Kamara.

Gen Momoh also appointed 13 ministers without Cabinet rank. The last cabinet of retired President Siaka Stevens had 25 members. Former First Vice-President S.I. Koroma reportedly submitted a letter of resignation, but there has been no official statement. Family sources said he was returning to his farm at Port Loko.

Brig Tarawalli said earlier that his predecessor, Gen. Momoh, had become President. "not by force of arms but by strict constitutional methods. As custodian of state security, the army accepted this constitutional arrangement and pledged loyalty to the new President," he said.


Don't "harass" peaceful citizens

Head of State and President of the Interim National Assembly, Samuel K. Doe, has appealed to the military and other security forces not to harass any peaceful citizens, adding that if they suspect any home of harbouring rebels or dissidents, they should report them to the Ministry of Defence or to the Chief of Staff who will issue the necessary orders. He said security forces are not to go into private homes to conduct any search without search orders.

At the same time, Gen Doe has asked all security forces to remain vigilant in apprehending the remaining rebels and dissidents. He also called on all citizens not to harbour any of these people and that, in particular, anyone knowing the whereabouts of Cooper Teah, Harry Greaves Jr, Moses Duopoh and John L. Leeman should report them to the security. Head of State Doe added that if they are caught in anyone's home, that person will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Retirements at Finance Ministry

A total of 215 employees of the Finance Ministry in Monrovia have been declared retrenched and retired in keeping with the recent directive by the Head of State. Disclos- ing this at a news conference, Finance Minister Maj G. Alvin Jones said the number was made up of 149 persons being declared redundant, while 66 persons were retired after 23 years to 27 years of service.

He said those retired at the Finance Ministry would begin to receive their pension benefits from government as of January next year, while those retrenched will be paid for the months they worked. Minister Jones said a list of the employees retrenched and retired would be submitted to the office of the Head of State to duly inform him that his directive had been carried out

Mr Jones said those employees retired or retrenched would not be re-employed nor replaced, adding, the Finance Ministry will continue to get rid of unproductive employees as a matter of policy.

Warning over currency smuggling

There has been no official word on Deputy Finance Minister, G. Alvin Jones, has warned Forces Commander Sam Kint, but Defence that any security personnel caught conniving with travellers to smuggle the national currency out of the country will be recom- mended for execution. Mr Jones gave the warning during a press conference at the Finance Ministry. The press conference centred on plans to rigidly enforce economic measures announced by the Head of State.

The Finance Minister disclosed that individuals travelling out of the country should arrive at the port two hours before departure to allow ample time for security checks. He said the security check was intended to arrest those travellers who would violate the Head of State's mandate against taking more than 1,000 dollars physical cash out of the country.

Minister Jones then warned any amount in excess of the 1,000 dollars would be confiscated and deposited in government revenue. Minister Jones said it was in the best interest of travellers to arrive at the airport well in advance because their suitcases, bags and person would be thoroughly searched before

departure from the country. He called on travellers wishing to take more then 1,000 dollars out of the country to utillise the banking system and avoid embarrassment at the ports of departure.

Warning "not government policy"

The Minister of Finance has warned that any security personnel conniving with travellers to smuggle national currency out of the country will be recommended for execution. But the Minister of Information, Maj Carlton A Karpeh, wishes the public to know that this statement is not government. The Minister said the Head of a fact of policy of the State stated as a policy in his 22nd November Executive Mansion speech that any person found criminally corrupt will be dealt with in keeping with the law.

The Minister of Information therefore points out that the statement of the Minister of Finance is merely his own declaration of the fact he intends to recommend to government, and therefore no one should interpret the Minister of Finance's statement as government policy.

Opposition leaders released

Head of State, Samuel Doe, has ordered the immediate release of five opposition leaders arrested during the abortive coup of 12th November. Those released were named as Edward B. Kesselly, S. Jarbaru Carlson and Carlos Smith, members of the Unity Party; and Gabriel W. Kpoleh and Leslie Green, members of the Liberia Unification Party. An Executive Mansion release, issued in Monrovia, quoted Doe as saying that the lives of these politicians were no longer in danger and "it was not his intention to keep political opponents in jail."

Special inauguration committee

The Head of State and President of the Interim National Assembly, Samuel K. Doe, has appointed a 21-man special inaugural committee with immediate effect. According to press secretary Patrick Kugmeh, the special inaugural committee, headed by Foreign Minister T. Earnest Eastman, among other things will ensure the preparation and co- ordination of all activities relative to the successful holding of the ensuing January 1986 inaugural ceremonies. Finance Minister G. Alvin Jones is co-chairman.

Trial of former forces commander

The trial of the former Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Morfris Zeze, continues, with five more witnesses due to take the stand. Briefing the press, the chairman of the tribunal said as a result of the testimony by General Zeze, several military officers, both junior and senior, have been subpoenaed to appear before the tribunal for questioning.

The officers are to clarify and exonerate themselves from their complicity in the 12th November abortive invasion. The chairman said because of the latest development, the trial of Gen Zeze, which should have ended last weekend, will now end on Tuesday.



The government has signed a protocol of understanding under which Canada places at the disposal of Burkina Faso a subsidy of 4m Canadian dollars, about 1.4bn CFA francs. This non- refundable aid will serve to help the people of Passore province to rehabilitate, conserve and manage the vegetation.

French financial aid

Four financing agreements totalling 267.5m CFA francs have been signed between France and the government at the Ministry of Financial Resources. The money will help to finance, among other things, current expenses in the economic and financial services to the tune of 17.5m CFA francs, and the first phase of the agricultural fertiliser project to the tune of 25m CFA francs.

The money will also help to finance the second phase of the hydro-agricultural development project in Savili, and the first phase of the rural development project of Zergo. The two development projects cost 60m and 165m CFA francs respectively.


President Diouf in France

On the occasion of the dinner given in honour of the Senegalese President at the Elysee, President Francois Mitterand issued a warning to Colonel Qadhafi, stating that if he attempted to relaunch hostilities in Chad, he would come up against an appropriate retort from France.

President Abdou Diouf for his part issued an appeal to Western countries to strengthen their economic sanctions against the Pretoria regime. He said, "with the system of apartheid one cannot even speak of violations of human rights, it is a question of their being purely and simply negated. This is the reason that African public opinion is less and less able to understand the passivity of certain Western governments, who are normally so sensitive to human rights' issues, in the face of what has become a real genocide of the black South African people today."

"In this regard France plays a vanguard role. Within the framework of economic sanctions against South Africa, it decided on an embargo of her purchases of coal from that country. This measure, which comes on top of many others taken by the French government over the past few months, is an eloquent testimony to the vigour and sincerity of the commitment in the struggle against apartheid."


Growth in membership of PANA

Somalia has signed the PANA convention. The organisation has grown over the past three months Liberia, Libya and Jibouti have also ratified the convention.

Countries which have not signed the convention include Botswana, the Central African Republic, the Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Seychelles, Swaziland, the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic and Morocco.


Economic emergency regulations

Rules governing various forms of deduction from workers' salaries have been suspended for the period of the state of economic emergency. One of the rules requires the consent of workers before deduction can be effective in their salaries. Another rule is that total deduction from the pay of a worker should not exceed one-third of his salary for the month.

The suspension of this rule is contained in the national economic emergency power decree which also gives the President powers to make regulations for the purpose of revamping and stimulating the national economy. Among other things, the President can make regulations for the operation of public and private companies to improve and generally assist in revamping the economy.

He is also authorised to introduce measures that may assist in the conservation of foreign exchange, reduce inflation and unemployment, as well as encourage and stimulate interest in locally manufactured goods. The decree is contained in an extraordinary gazette issue on December 3. The state of national economic emergency, which took effect from last month, will last until December 1986.

Talks on salary reductions

The Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity, Rear Adm. Patrick Koshoni, has addressed newsmen on government decision to extend the pay cut to the private sector. The Minister pointed out that government's decision with respect to the cuts in salaries for public service workers does not represent the only sacrifice to be made. These pay cuts, government has decided, should be extended to workers in the organised private sector.

Meanwhile, government has decided to:

1. Set up a tripartite committee made up of representatives of the federal government, the state governments, the organised private sector and the Nigeria Labour Congress to, among other things, define and propose the level of sacrifices to be borne by the non-weak sector of the economy in an equitable manner. The procedures of this committee shall form the basis of further deliberations for the various organs of government decision-making

The details of the pay cuts are as follows: Salary levels above 20,000 naira, 20%, 15,500 naira to 20,000 naira, 15%; 13,812 naira to 15,499 naira, 12%; 11,046 naira to 13,811 naira, 10%; 8,034 naira to 11,045 naira, 7%; 3,174 naira to 8,033 naira, 4%; and up to 3,174 naira 2%.

Central Bank report on economic performance

The Central Bank of Nigeria has released a report on development in the country's economy during the first half of this year. According to the report, the Nigerian economy continued to be depressed during the first half of this year in spite of the indication of slight improvement in some areas.

Agricultural and industrial production for instance, showed increases from their level in the corresponding period in 1984. Improved performance in the agricultural sector is attributable to the favourable weather conditions which prevailed throughout the planting season. In the oil sector, Nigeria produced a total of 279.94m barrels of crude in the six month period.

Night of Songs for Idiagbon

A night of songs was held for the former Chief of State, Supreme Headquarters, retired Major-General Babatunde Idiagbon, now detained in Bauchi prison yard, Bauchi State, soon after he arrived there.

A report in the National Concord said the nation's ex-number two had maintained his calm since he was brought to the jail house about six weeks ago.

The report said that Idiagbon neither spoke to the prison officials nor the inmates, who teased him by asking him to launch "War Against Indiscipline" (WAI) at the prison yard for warders and prisoners alike. On hearing the news of his arrival at the prison, inmates were said to have held a night of songs for the deposed army chief.

The report said that although the prisoners did not rehearse the songs prior to the night, they were able to sing uniformly from their cells, such numbers as "no condition is permanent in this world, he who lives in a glass-house should not throw stones, life is like a boomerang, whatever goes up must come down." As well as "all we are saying, give us freedom, all we are saying, don't jail poor souls, all we are saying, don't kill smugglers, long live President Babangida."

Exiles free to return

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lt- Col. Anthony Ukpo, has said in London that the Federal Government "has no intention to make a special appeal to self-exiled Nigerians" to return to the country.

He told a Western Europe correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Nigerian citizens who left the country on their own after the overthrow of the Shagari regime were free to come back.

He however, emphasised that those of them who had a case to answer would do so under the country's judicial system.

Faith in ECOWAS

Nigeria has reiterated her determination to work toward the survival of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS; she has therefore called on other member- states of the Community to take a similar stand so that ECOWAS could achieve the objectives for which it was set up.

President Ibrahim Babangida said in Lagos that although ECOWAS still had a long way to go before it could fulfil its stated objectives, it has presented a useful means of promoting accelerated economic development among countries. The President was speaking at the first patron's dinner of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

On Chad, Maj-Gen Babangida said Nigeria would continue to work within the framework of OAU resolutions to resolve the conflict in that country. He stated that according to the OAU peace formula, there must be immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign troops from Chad.

Give veto power to Africa

Nigeria has proposed an immediate review of the UN Charter to make provisions for an equitable distribution of veto power within the organisation. President Ibrahim Babangida said in Lagos in his annual foreign policy address that the present situation where a vast majority of members of the world body were denied veto power was morally wrong and politically unjustifiable.

Maj-Gen Babangida pointed out that there could be no justification for the continued denial of veto power to the continent of Africa which has 51 member-states constituting one third of the entire membership of the UN. He said it was a matter of right that at least one African member-state should be considered eligible for entry into the club of veto powers in the Security Council.

President Babangida called on the super powers to rededicate themselves to the principle on which the UN was founded 40 years ago. He said the super powers' preference for increased bilateralism to the use of the UN as an instrument for solving international problems was a contributory factor towards tension and instability.

New NUJ president

Mr George Izobo, aged 44, is the new president of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). He defeated incumbent president, Alhaji Bola Adedoja, with 103 votes to 88, in the general elections of the union concluded last Saturday in Enugu, Anambra State. Also elected into office for a two year term along with Mr Izobo are 11 new officials of the union

Review of aviation agreements

The Nigerian government is to review ma bilateral aviation agreements it entered into make for equitable air traffic between Nigeria and the countries involved. The Minister Transport and Aviation, Brig. Jeremiah Use has announced this in Lagos. He told the delegation of the Institute of Nigerian Aeronautic Engineers, which paid him a courtesy call that many such agreements were interpreted to the disadvantage of Nigeria.

For instance, the Minister said that by virtue of the agreement between Nigeria and Great Britain, British Caledonian airways was given schedule-landing traffic lights in two airports in Nigeria while Nigeria Airways was allowed only one British airport. He said that Niger would seek for a redress of the situation.

Brig. Useni said that Nigeria Airway was planning to establish a maintenance system to handle the servicing and maintenance of its aircraft, most of which, he said, was presently done abroad. He said that the Ministry had taken steps to ensure aviation and navigational safety, and the country's main airports were equipped with instrument landing systems while five had terminal area radars.

He said that Nigeria's airspace would soo be totally covered by radar and two are= control centres would also be created. Earlier the President of the Institute, Mr G.O. Jobudu said that a policy should be evolved on aircraft standardisation.

Ban on private international passenger flights

The restriction placed on private airlines from operating international passenger flights will remain in force in spite of pressure from private airlines owners. The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Brig. Jeremiah Useni, told newsmen at Murtala Muhammad Airport on his way to Port Harcourt to inaugurate a marine boat, that the airlines should be content with the international cargo flight they were allowed to operate.

He dismissed the view that the national airline was not making profit. The Minister said that Nigeria Airways needed more aircraft to enable it to cope with the increasing volume of air traffic.


Grain deficit in Southern areas

Southern Chad, which usually supplies most of the country's agricultural produce, has faced famine because of military attacks and the effects of drought.

The food situation should, nevertheless, improve during the current year as compared with preceding harvests which registered a deficit of about 300,000 tonnes. It is estimated that 500,000 tonnes of grain will be produced in 1985 to enable the people to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency in food production.


Donor countries pledge over 500 million dollars

Donor countries have pledged 517m dollars in new commitments to Ghana in 1986. This is the outcome of the two day consultative group meeting on Ghana in Paris. Reports say even as a preliminary indication, the amount exceeds what the World Bank had recommended to the donor countries.

From bilateral sources, Ghana is to receive nearly 210m dollars as opposed to the 146m dollars it received last year. Multilateral sources also pledged over 300m dollars. The spokesman for the World Bank said in the calculation lower-end figures were adopted in order to ensure that figures remained realistic. Using the same strategy last year, 415m dollars was expected, yet so far 418m dollars has actually been received.

A communique issued at the end of the meeting noted that several bilateral donors have substantially increased their support for Ghana on account of the bold and far-reaching nature of the reform measures of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Britain, for instance, has pledged 14m pounds this year, twice as much as last year. Others have indicated that increases might be forthcoming in the course of 1986. The communique said members of the consultative group warmly applauded Ghana's continued progress in the programme. They noted, however, that much more remained to be done in the context of implementing the PNDC's medium-term programme.

The group agreed with the PNDC's proposed agenda for continued reform and observed that substantial technical and financial assistance would be needed. The group, comprising 16 bilateral and multilateral World Bank regional Vice President for western Africa.

Later at a news conference, the Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botchway, who led Ghana's delegation to the meeting expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting, although the figure requested was 600m dollars. He spoke of the progress and problems associated with Ghana's recovery efforts and the determination of the PNDC to better the lot of all Ghanaians.

Protest over mistreatment of Ghanaians

Ghana has protested with the Togolese government over the violations of the country's territorial integrity and human rights of Ghanaian citizens in Togo. The government has also demanded the immediate and un- conditional release of all Ghanaians being detained in Togo without trial.

A statement in Accra by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said persistent reports reaching the government of Ghana speak of continued arrest and detention of a number of Ghanaians in Togo.

The statement reminded the Togolese government that it is against international law for one state to subject the citizens of another to detention or imprisonment without the due process of law. Moreover, the detention and inhuman treatment meted out to these Ghanaians are against the spirit of ECOWAS. It is also a violation of the agreement signed by Togo, Ghana, Nigeria and Benin in Lagos last December.

The statement said, Ghana therefore views these violations of the freedom of Ghanaians and the unauthorised crossing of Togolese security personnel into Ghana's territory to arrest Ghanaians with all seriousness. This is because such unwarranted acts can always lead to strained relations between states.

Ban on possession of arms

The PNDC (Provisional National Defence Council) has prohibited, with immediate effect, the possession of arms and ammunition within the Bawku district of the Upper East Region to help contain lawlessness in the area. A legislative instrument directs all residents of the district to deposit any arms or ammunition in their possession at the nearest police station. The instrument empowers the police to arrest, without warrant, persons suspected to be manufacturing, possessing or carrying arms and ammunition within the district. It also asked the regional secretary and district secretaries to ensure that these directives are strictly complied with to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.

It is recalled that recent clashes among various tribes in the area has resulted in the death of scores of people.

Aliens' registration regulations

The Ministry of Interior has reminded all proprietors of hotels, rest houses and dwelling houses to comply with the Aliens' registration regulation of 1974 which requires them to furnish the Ministry, through district immigration officers, with information on foreign nationals for whom accommodation has been provided.

According to an official statement, inspectors of the immigration department have embarked on an exercise to ensure compliance with these regulations. The statement warned that offenders of the immigration law would be

Exercise with British troops

The Ghana armed forces have embarked on a 26-day communications exercise codenamed X-Kangaroo Mercury. The exercise, which is under a Commonwealth training accord involves over 130 Ghanaians and British troops in long-range signal procedures. It started on November 25 and will end on the 20th of next month.

UK to supply solar-powered equipment

Britain has agreed to supply Ghana with solar- powered telecommunications equipment for use in the railway rehabilitation project. This was announced by the Western Regional Secretary, Dr Don Arthur, on his return home from Britain where he led a two-man delegation for a two-week tour at the invitation of the British government.

He said officials of the British company which installed the solar-powered refrigerator in a clinic at Amasaman in the Greater Accra region will soon be in the country for feasibility studies on the tele- communication equipment.

Christmas meetings

A General Meeting of the Asanteman Association will be held on Sunday December 15 at 4pm, at 8 Leighfield House, Woodbery Down, London N4. All members are invited to attend to discuss the setting up of the Asanteman Committee and also Christmas activities.

Members of the Kwabre Kroye Kuo of United Kingdom and ireland are invited to the annual Christmas dance at Surrey Hall, Binfield Road, Stockwell on December 14. The function starts from 4pm and members will have access to a bar, buffet and music to be provided by Disco Sounds.

The Amaniampong Kro Ye Kuo is holding a mass super Christmas dance on December 14, from 6pm-12 midnight. The venue is the Assembly Hall, Gladsmore Community School, Gladsmore Road, Tottenham N15. Music will be provided live by the Fontomfrom Band from Ghana.

talking drums 1985-12-09 educating women for progress