Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


AFRC breaks off IMF loan discussions

The debate on the desirability of obtaining an IMF loan applied for in 1983 has ended with President Babangida's announcement on 12th December, that the negotiations will be discontinued.

Explaining his decision, the President said that following the deliberations of the presi- dential committee on the IMF loan, inaugur- ated on 25th September 1985, it was "not at all clear from the evidence that the additional sacrifice involved by obtaining the loan is less than the additional sacrifice entailed in not taking the loan".

Panel to inquire into detainees' cases

Members of the special panel to investigate the cases of persons conditionally released from detention and those still in detention under the State Security Detention of Persons Decree 1984 and the Recovery of Public Property Special Military Tribunal Decree 1984 have been sworn in, in Lagos.

The five-member panel is headed by Mr Justice Sampson Uwaifo. Others are: Mr Abdulai Jifa, Maj Claytus Emein, and Sqn- Ldr Ibrahim Baba. The fifth member, Police Commissioner Emmanual Igowe, who was not present at the ceremony, will be sworn in later. The panel will enquire into the cases of all persons released from prison, detention or other custody after the 27th August coup, and determine whether their release was justified. It will also review the cases of all persons still detained under the State Security Decree of 1984 in order to determine whether or not they should be released. The panel is to submit its report not later than three months from the date of its first public sitting.

Inter-state problems

The Federal military government has adjusted some disputed boundaries between Imo and Cross River States. A decree released in Lagos on the boundary adjustment, empowers the Minister of Internal Affairs to embark immediately on a survey to delineate and to demarcate the boundaries concerned as affected by the decree.

The decree stipulates that prominent and clearly visible and identifiable pillars and other survey marks are to be installed on both sides of the boundaries of the survey line or boundary corridor. All laws enforced in the State of which an adjusted area forms a part shall have effect in the adjusted area. All persons found guilty of an offence under the decree shall be liable to a fine not exceeding 200 naira, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

Military co-operation talks with Brazil

A committee has been set up to look into the exchange of training programmes between Nigeria and Brazil. This was announced in Lagos by the Chief of General Staff, Cmdre Ebitu Ukiwe, when he received the Brazilian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff, Jose Maria do Amaral Oliviera.

Cmdre Ukiwe said that there was an urgent need for Nigeria and Brazil to work more closely. He said that such close co-operation would enable Nigeria to gain from Brazil's wealth of experience in military potential.. Adm Oliviera expressed his country's willing- ness to forge such close co-operation. He invited Cmdre Ukiwe to visit Brazil as soon as possible.

Return kidnapped youths

Governor David Jang of Benue State has called for the return of five youths kidnapped during the boundary clash between Madugu commu- nity in the State and Obudu in Cross River State. He said the return of the youths, whether dead or alive, was the only way normal rela- tions between the two communities could be restored.

Receiving a special Federal government delegation which assessed the extent of damage done during the disturbance, Governor Jang pointed out that if the fate of the kidnapped persons was not known the govern- ment might not be able to sustain the patience being exercised by the families of the victims.

The military assistant to the Chief of General Staff, Navy Capt Suleiman Saidu, who led the delegation, told the Governor that the President was personally concerned about the incident.

Technical training in USSR

More than 7,000 Nigerians have so far ac- quired technical education in the Soviet Union under the Nigerian-Soviet friendship and cultural programme. Since the inception of the association in 1967, 300 scholarships are offered annually to Nigerians.

These facts were disclosed when members of the Cross River State branch of the associa- tion paid a courtesy call on the governor. The Commissioner for Information, Dr Ogah, who stood in for the Governor, expressed the hope that with the establishment of the State branch, more of the indigenes would benefit from the programme.

Calabar University closed

The University of Calabar, Cross River State, has been closed down following a boycott of classes by the students. All the students were ordered to leave the campus immediately. The registrar of the university, Mr E. J. Akpan, said in a statement that the measure was taken to safeguard life and property.


Sankara proclaims Jamahiriyah

The Chairman of the National Revolutionary Council, Capt Thomas Sankara has proclaimed the creation of the jamahiri system in Burkina Faso, thus making it the second Jamahiriyah in the world.

In an interview for Tripoli radio he pointed out that his role in the Burkina Faso Jamahiriyah was that he was the chairman of the National Revolutionary Council. He said that until the recent past, the country had been a republic, but now that it had gone beyond the era of republics, and the state of the revolutionary popular masses in Burkina Faso had been created.

Capt Sankara explained the basic norms on which the regime in Burkina Faso is founded. He pointed out that there are 7,300 co-ordina- tion bureaux in the country and that through these the views of the masses are collated and collected so that their will may be put into effect. The first Jamahiriyah in the world is Libya whose leader Col Qadhafi last week visited Burkina Faso from Senegal and Ghana.

A joint communique on Qadhafi's visit said that the Libyan leader highly praised the revolutionary victories that have enabled Burkina. Faso to establish a true people's republic, achieve material changes and very advanced development in the organisation process which struck him with admiration and marked a step forward in the identification of the goals set by the 1st September and 4th August revolutions.

Thomas Sankara on his part reiterated the militant commitment of the Burkinabe people to the Libyan people's cause.

The two leaders pledged to stand together with the people of Africa to make 1986 a year of the final attack against apartheid, and of the proclamation of a democratic, free and independent state in South Africa. The two expressed their solidarity with and decided to give their support to the frontline states in the fight against aggression carried out by the racist Pretoria regime. They urgently call on all African peoples to give material and moral aid to these countries.


Release of detainees

The special executive investigating board of the executive committee of the Joint Security of Liberia has announced that upon the approval of the Head of State, Gen Samuel Kanyon Doe, the following persons who were detained following the 12th November abortive invasion have been released from further detention.

The Ministry of National Security release issued in Monrovia named those released as David Wonseleah, Morris Kemokai, Siyuah James, Capt Kgargar, Z. Moses Pedgar, Moses Teah, Robert Sesuza; others are Peter Doe, Steven Zohn, Joseph Diprah; James David, James Bend and Dan Bohe.

The Ministry of Defence has issued a num- ber of directives to guide the conduct of military personnel following a 12th November invasion. The directives were announced in Monrovia by the Minister of National Defence, Maj-Gen Gray D. Allison, at a press conference at the ministry.

According to the directives all officers and enlisted men of the armed forces not engaged in the search of rebels and were issued weap- ons on the morning of 12th November should turn in such weapons to the arsenal commander without delay.

He said that all soldiers assigned to government officials and individuals are ordered to report to their commanders for duty, adding that henceforth, soldiers who receive money from civilians while on duty will be severely punished. According to the directives, civilians wearing military uniform under the pretext that they are soldiers are warned to desist from such practices or they would be subject to disciplinary action and arrested. All soldiers not performing security guard duty should immediately leave the streets according to the directives.

Trials of senior army officers continue

Four senior army officers have been charged with "aiding the enemy" in connection with the 12th November coup attempt against Head of State Samuel Doe and are to be tried by the special military tribunal, the independent 'Footprints' newspaper has reported.

It quoted tribunal chairman Maj-Gen Alfred Gayflor as saying that Lt-Cols Thomas Free- man and Henry Jack, Col Samuel Varney and Capt Samuel Taylor were also charged with "violation of the general articles of the uniform code of military justice".

Maj-Gen Gayflor also said the trial of former commanding Gen Morris Zaza has ended and the tribunal was preparing its report and final judgement for submission to the "convening authority" for action. General Zaza, the first of those arrested in the wake of the coup to take the stand, was tried for treason, sedition, aiding the enemy and violating the general articles of the uniform code of military justice.

No more curfew

The curfew which was imposed by the government following last month's abortive coup has been lifted. This was announced in an address to the nation by Gen Doe at the Unity Conference Centre.

Dismissed minister reinstated

The former Assistant Minister of State for Special Services, Mr Johnny Poh, has been reinstated by the Head of State. Gen Samuel K. Doe. In reinstating Mr Poh, the Head of State said investigations conducted by the joint security revealed that the accusations made against Mr Poh by Mrs Bady Odewo to the effect that he was harbouring rebels among others were false.

The national radio said the security report further revealed that the allegations made by the lady were based on domestic problems existing between the two and she may have used the opportunity to hit back at Mr Poh. Taking the decision to reinstate Assistant Minister Mr Poh, who was dismissed recently, Gen Doe said he believes in justice and fair play and noted that right must be put where it belongs.


Bombs revelations soon

Head of State, General Eyadema has said that revelations about the wave of bombings in Lome since August will be made "very soon" at the trial of an alleged bomber and his three accomplices... Speaking to Agence France- Presse on 8th December, General Eyadema dismissed as "ridiculous" allegations in the Ghanaian press that "members of the Eyadema entourage" had been implicated in the explosion.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Atsu-Koffi Amega has said the first explosions had been caused by industrial dynamite, whereas the latest blast - the first to cause casualties - was caused by military dynamite of French origin. Asked about the Togolese opposition in exile in Paris, he said: "It is not they who pose the problem."

The Foreign Minister added that Togo had begun an inquiry into the arrest of 13 Ghanaian nationals who were being detained in Togolese prisons following a border incident.

Meanwhile there has been a demonstration in Lome in support of General Eyadema "for his work of peace, union and solidarity" over nearly 20 years. "The organisers of the march called on the people to remain vigilant in order to unmask the terrorists."


Qadhafi ends visit

The Libyan leader, Colonel Qadhafi who ended a three-day state visit to Ghana told a news conference before his departure that Libya will supply oil and other facilities to Ghana under favourable terms. He said the two countries agreed to expand their co-operation in the economic, agricultural and cultural fields.

Col Qadhafi said Libya needs Ghanaian teachers and labour force. He said Libya has the money, and Ghana has the raw materials, so we can utilise these factors for the mutual benefit of our countries. Col Qadhafi said he was deeply moved by the reception given him. This, he said, has demonstrated that Ghana and Libya are in the forefront of the battle. against the common enemies, namely, imperialism, racism, Zionism and backwardness.

In a reaction to a statement by President Mitterand of France, that Colonel Qadhafi should stay at home and stop stirring up trouble by his African tour, the Libyan leader pointed out that he does not take advice from anybody. At this stage, Flt-Lt Rawlings cut in and said: This question should have been directed to those who gave the enthusiastic welcome to Qadhafi. He added that President Mitterand has no right to enjoy the monopoly of deciding who should go round the continent.

Communique condemns CIA

A communique signed by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Obed Asamoah, and the Libyan Secretary for Information and Culture, Dr Muhammad al-Fayturi, condemned the imperialist designs against Libya and Ghana, with the aim of frustrating their revolutionary paths. It expressed disgust at the recent dia- bolical plan of the CIA with the backing of the American President to destabilise the popular and progressive regime of Libya.

The communique also noted with concern the persistent attempts of the CIA to interfere in the internal affairs of other states and condemned the agency's interference in the internal affairs of Ghana. It called on the US government to put an immediate halt to these manoeuvres in the interest of maintaining international peace, law and order.

On the African scene, the communique deplored moves aimed at regaining military, political and economic domination over African nations, thus threatening their security, integrity and political independence. It further condemned the policy of apartheid and racial discrimination and the systematic extermination of the black and coloured people of South Africa.

The communique stressed that the only solution to this abnormal situation is to escalate the armed struggle in racist South Africa until the white minority regime is defeated and a free state proclaimed. Libya and Ghana further voiced their condemnation and refusal to engage in dialogue or contacts with the apartheid regime. With regard to the Namibian issue, the two countries attacked the shameful attempt by the Botha clique, supported by some Western countries, especially by the United States. Britain and West Germany, to hinder the heroic and just struggle of the Namibian people to achieve their independence.

The two countries therefore reaffirmed their support for the UN Resolution 435 which forms the only acceptable basis for a lasting solution. Ghana and Libya expressed their full support for the frontline states in their resistance to aggressive attacks and subversion of racist South Africa.

Libya offers to train forces

Libya has offered to train a number of Ghanaian air force personnel in Libya. This was announced by the leader of a high-powered Libyan military delegation, Colonel Mas'ud Abd al-Hafiz, when he addressed officer cadets of the Military Academy and training school at Teshie. He said the gesture was to help strengthen relations between the two countries.

He pledged that the Ghana armed forces can always count on the support of their Libyan counterpart and hoped that the Military Academy will continue to live up to expectations as a factory which produces qualified men of war.

The Commandant of the Academy, Brig Wilson Mensah-Wood, expressed the gratitude of the Ghana government for Libyan assist-ance. He however appealed to the Libyans to extend such assistance to cover the navy and the army as well as all grades and officers of the Ghana armed forces. Brig Mensah-Wood, who is also a member of the PNDC (Provis- ional National Defence Council), said mem- bers of the forces are ready to learn and accept more Libyan assistance both for the initial training of Ghanaian soldiers and for officers. He pledged that the assistance already offered will be utilised to the benefit of the armed forces.

Displeasure over Qadhafi's bodyguards

The 'Daily Graphic' has reported that some Ghanaians were displeased by the large number and behaviour of Libyan security personnel who accompanied Col Qadhafi on his recent visit to Ghana. But the newspaper was of the opinion that the matter should be "allowed to rest" so that those who seek to undermine Ghana's ties with Libya will not have an opportunity to put out anti-Libyan "misinformation".

Iran's support over CIA expulsions

A message from Iran's Foreign Minister expressing the all-round support of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the action taken by Ghana in expelling CIA spies from that country has been presented by the charge d'affaires of the Iranian embassy to the Foreign Minister of Ghana.

The Ghanaian Foreign Minister, expressed his appreciation and thanks for the timely step taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the first country that supported Ghana's action in an official manner. He expressed the hope that Iran and Ghana may be able to cooperate more and also more closely with each other in their struggle with the 'world-devouring power', that is, the USA.

PNDC statement on arrest of J. H. Mensah

The office of the political counsellor for the CDRS (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution), has condemned the activities of "the Ghana Democratic Movement, a reactionary opposition group based in London, whose officials, including Mr J. H. Mensah, are reported to have been arrested in the USA for attempting to smuggle a large quantity of arms for use in overthrowing the PNDC (Provisional National Defence Council)."

This was contained in a statement of reaction issued by the office of the political counsellor for CDRS in Accra on Mr Mensah's arrest. The statement assured Ghanaian stooges of imperialism and their local allies and agents that attempts to overthrow the revolution shall be ruthlessly crushed and stamped out by the combined forces of progress in this country. It called on all those committed to the country's struggle to overcome poverty, disease and deprivation, not to sit back while these agents of doom attempt to wrest our nationhood from us.

It stressed the need for continuing vigilance and said any complacency on the part of the forces of progress leading to the lowering of their guard will cost them dearly.

The statement reaffirmed the support of the cadres for the leadership of this process on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the 31st December revolution. Whilst not against the reconciliation policy, it cautioned against the alarming interpretation some are giving to it. It further cautioned against any form of reconciliation that tilts the balance of forces in favour of those who are objectively against the interests of the working people.

The statement advised Ghana's immediate eastern and western border neighbours, Togo and Ivory Coast and other professed friendly nations, particularly the United Kingdom, to desist from allowing their territories to be used as springboard for destabilisation activities in Ghana.

Such an accommodation on their part cannot be seen in any other light than the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the sovereignty of the people of Ghana, united in our Republic.

It expressed regret at the fact that the USA, also a professed friend of Ghana, made no attempt to alert the appropriate authorities in Ghana about the subversive activities of these elements. The norms of international law notwithstanding, the statement called on the PNDC to request the extradition of these criminal traitors for trial in Ghana.

It saluted the valiant brothers in the intelligence services and the people's armed forces for their vigilance and ready state to protect the ongoing process. The statement added that the best defence is that offered by a mobilised, organised and conscious people.

"The Graphic' has reported the refusal of a court in Newark, New Jersey, to grant bail to the three Ghanaians accused of buying arms and ammunition and trying to smuggle them into Ghana for subversive activities against the PNDC.

The three were named as: J. H. Mensah, a Finance Minister in the Busia regime, Joseph Boateng, a taxi driver in New York, and Kwasi Baidoo, a computer technician living in Dover, New Jersey. All three were said to be members of the Ghana Democratic Movement. Radio Ghana reported 'The Graphic' as saying that the American authorities have unwittingly done a great service. But as reported in our columns last week, Mr Mensah was granted bail in the sum of 10,000 dollars and was scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday.

talking drums 1985-12-23-30 looking back at 1985