Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Ghana sports on the rocks?

Mr Ebo Quansah's article on why Ghana sports is on the rocks betrays a familiar theme, and a boring, uncritical one too. That anything that happened in Ghana after the December 31st coup must be 'Libyan inspired'. To him therefore, the 'Sports for All' policy was lifted from Col. Gaddafi's Third Universal Theory.

Knowing Ebo as a competent journal- ist, I would not attribute this to ignorance. But what drove Ebo to such absurd limits still baffles me. At the time that the policy was launched, I had not even read Gaddafi's theory, and now that I have read it, I am not sure that it is the sort that appeals to me. But that is not the point for debate.

As one of Ghana's leading sports journalists, I am surprised that Ebo never heard of 'Sports for All' till it was launched in 1982. Since independence, it has existed on the shelves of the Ministry. It has been endorsed by all governments, but few Ministers ever read it. Even if they did, it probably did not appeal to them.

However, it appealed to me as a viable alternative to the no-policy situation that existed then and now. What we tried to do therefore was to practicalise the policy. It was discussed in the National Sports Council circles and agreed upon. It is therefore insulting to suggest that it was nothing but sheepish copying of another person's idea.

I am not opposed to copying from good examples, but in this case, the idea was original and to suggest otherwise, as a way of buttressing the unnecessary 'anti- Gaddafi' hysteria which has become a hallmark of some political circles in Ghana today is unacceptable.

That apart, Ebo was a member of the sports council committees which found serious financial and managerial irregu- larities on the part of those he now describes as the 'sine qua non' of sports development in Ghana. If the type of corruption which the godfathers of Ghana sports nurtured in the corridors of the National Sports Council, the clear incompetence which such officials displayed, that the NSC was riddled with unnecessary factionalism and petty bickering, that Ghana sports was 'dead' at the time I took office means nothing to Ebo then his analysis is appropriate.

But for me, to allow that state of affairs to exist in Ghana, is to encourage incom- petence and mediocrity; factors which have no doubt contributed to our coun- try's present state. And since Ebo's own committee made some recommendations which I accepted, it behoves on him to tell readers what he also found there.

To be 'technical' is not a licence to loot funds from the NSC, and sell off sports equipment to friends and business colleagues. I was the first to admit that the 'Sports for All' policy had been a failure.

The reasons are different from Ebo's. The NSC has structural problems, and unless these are remedied, empty promises which have become a hall mark of cronies of Rawlings should not deceive anyone. After all, Justice Annan's association with Ghana sports did not start after his appointment to the PNDC. And like many others who wormed their way to the NSC, his record there is not an admirable one.

It is interesting that Ebo did not see anything positive about some of the measures adopted in 1982. That the PNP's foot-dragging attitude towards the Africa Cup of Nations was shelved in favour of participation, a factor which helped Ghana to win the cup, is ignored; that national sports festival a was organised also escaped Ebo's telescopic eyes; that an attempt was made to make the NSC financially viable, to reduce the free for all scramble, and introduce discipline in the financial management of the NSC means nothing to him.

While Ebo's comments are useful, journalists who wait until a nation has suffered immensely from the activities of those in power, in order that they can write long articles on what went wrong programme. are doing a disservice to society. Ebo had enough access to the ministry while I was there, he could have written or expressed his reservations then, and probably saved the nation a lot, but he chose to wait. What use is that today?

Zaya Yeebo, London


Chum, be a sport! The policy might have been dusty at the ministry but its implementation that necessitated the carting of Defence committee members to the Accra Sports Stadium for insignificant games like tug-of-war and 'ampe' at a time competitive events like basketball and handball were dormant for lack of equipment, cannot be unconnected to Gaddafy's theory of mass participation.

Was it a mere coincidence that the 1982 sports festival was cited at the Legon campus with students on holidays at a time that public money was being wasted on various study committees on Big Brother's Green Book?

As for the charge of indulging in what went wrong, I can only direct Mr Yeebo to ask Mr Christian Aggrey, revolutionary editor of the Ghanaian Times what happened when I reported his own resig- nation from the PNDC. The revolutionaries have their own rules for critical journalists -

Ebo Quansah.

A political programme

For some time now, the Rawlings regime in Ghana has been moving from left to right and right to left contemporaneously. The constant shifts of ideological positions may be due to the revolutionaries' desire to please their Marxist friends and the donor countries at the same time.

The causes of stubbornness and confusion as seen in Ghana today can be found in the inspirational book which says 'many have eyes, and see not; they have ears but do not hear'. In spite of the invaluable advice given to the PNDC by well-meaning Ghanaians and recognised organisations to return the country to constitutional rule, the self-styled revolu- tionaries are adamant to their military government thinking; branding sensible advice as 'blatant misrepresentation' and refusing to see the harsh experiences of former military dictators elsewhere.

Unlike other military rulers, General Ibrahim Babangida of Nigeria has confidently demonstrated to the world in less than six months that there are responsible and conscientious military men in Africa who see the way of progress and listen to the will of the nation.

So far, General Babangida has not been killing his fellow Nigerians to consolidate his power. There is freedom of speech, as well as an inviolability of human rights in his country. Above all, he may return Nigeria to civilian rule without imposing a draconian economic re-adjustment

General Babangida of Nigeria has bravely blazed a trail of democracy, freedom and justice in Africa. It is up to Flt- Lt. Jerry Rawlings to stop, look and listen this time and announce a political programme for Ghana now.

D.K. Apreku, Oslo, Norway

A question of a "genuine" Ghanaian - the last word

Reading your article, "The Spy Drama - an epilogue" in the December 16th issue of Talking Drums, I have become more concerned than ever over this long existing feeling of some persons about a 'half caste'.

I believe it is morally and socially wrong if some sections of the society are to continue showing resentment to person's born not of two 'genuine' Ghanaian parents; this feeling, I'm sure, influenced the creation and inclusion of a clause in one of our past constitutions (1979, I believe) that permitted only someone born of two 'genuine' Ghanaian parents to stand as a presidential candidate in an election.

Now, what is the point of granting someone right of citizenship then discriminate against the person just because one of his or her parents is not a so-called genuine Ghanaian?

Are we going to end up one day saying that such persons should be classified as second class Ghanaians? Should they not have equal rights like anyone else?

From your article, it seems that this feeling is building up back home, especially after the spy exchange drama. I am sure you would agree with me that if such sentiments were ever expressed here in the UK about any group of persons because of their skin colour, there would be an awful fuss about racism etc.

Truly we are a highly nationalistic society but then one must remember that it was out of excessive Nationalism that Fascism emerged. The same can be said about Apartheid and other right wing extremist groups in the world. It would be a shame if after condemning such ideolo- gies, we turn round and do likewise, even if in a milder form.

If fellow blacks are going to distinguish between one another on superiority, how then can we justify the condemnation of Racism between Black and White persons; after all, the colour distinction is even greater.

We must consider ourselves as all Ghanaians, striving to improve our nation. For heaven's sake, let's not worsen the mess we are in by creating a race war since we do condemn apartheid.

G.A. Boadu, London

Happy New Year

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter to wish you and your endearing staff as well as your readers a hearty Christmas.

Talking Drums is a magazine in a class by itself, for its objectivity, openness and courage in reporting.

We the readers must continue our patronage in order to ensure an educative and productive advantages that emanate from the discussion in this magazine.

Africans cannot build verile, fair and equitable societies based on deceit unless we patronize free discussion, accept fair criticisms and support ONLY just causes.

For quite some time most magazines dealing with African issues have merely been sounding images of the rich and powerful. OBJECTIVITY IS BEING INFORMED, which necessarily lights both the heart and the path.

I do appeal to the readership of Talking Drums to make this paper the mouth. piece of our common continental goal: ideas, faith and a will to overcome.

Akeh-Ugah Ufumaka, Bronx, New York

Siki was the first

I refer to an article caption "Crown Prince ready for the throne", which ran on December 9, 1985 and wish to make a correction.

Dick Tiger was not the first African to win the world light-heavyweight boxing title. Battling Siki of Senegal was the first African to win the world light-heavy-weight crown. He won it in 1922 until 1924.

By winning that title Battling Siki also became the first African to win a world boxing title. Siki reigned as world champion from 1922 to 1924.

Dick Tiger was, therefore, the second African to win the world light-heavy- weight crown when he outpointed Jose Torres of Argentina.

Tiger lost the title to Bob Foster of the USA and could not regain it.

K.S. Owusu Appiah, West Germany


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Rawlings and Gaddafi on cover of Talking Drums magazine, 1986-01-13 - Ghana stands by Libya in US dispute - Doe pledges reconciliation