Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


The drums don't beat in Liberia

We have not been seeing copies of your dynamic magazine in Liberia for some time. At first, we thought you were suffering from the disease that often plagues undertakings like yours - lack of funds; or to put it euphemistically, circumstances beyond your control have prevented your coming out.

But then, my friend in Washington D.C. wrote to tell me that you still come out and you are as full of fire as always. Could it be because of difficulties of repatriation of funds due to our financial problems? Please, don't abandon us; we are starving for critical analysis of events. J.S. Robertson,

Monrovia, Liberia

Editor's note: The authorities in Liberia slapped a punitive 115 per cent tax on Talking Drums and one other weekly magazine and made it impossible for our disributors to collect the magazines from the airport. This was after a number of our issues had been seized at the airport. We tried to argue and plead our way through, but it became obvious that our weekly efforts were ending up only in the warehouses at Robertsfield Airport! Most reluctantly, therefore, we had to stop sending copies to Liberia. We are hoping that one day, the atmosphere in Liberia will change and allow us to operate there again.

Babangida the brave

The performance of President Ibrahim Babangida so far. A soldier who cares about human rights and who is insistent that all opposing views should be heard is such a refreshing change from other soldiers on the west coast of Africa who think they are Alpha and Omega.

I just hope that those around the President will not succeed in telling him tales about people to poison his mind and spoil his pleasant disposition.

If he should continue like this, he will discover when he hands over power in October 1990 that he will be the most popular man around and Nigeria will be grateful to him forever.

R.I. Salawn, Brixton, UK

Unbelievers preaching the gospel

And so Flt-Lt Jerry Rawlings and his people have devalued the cedi once again. Then I have given up trying to understand the percentages involved. They say it has been over 3,500 per cent since April 1983, and there is more yet to come, we are told.

As for me, it is not because of any ideological antipathy towards the IMF or World Bank that I have such grave misgivings about the whole thing. What kind of 'recovery' programme is this that will kill everybody before it is declared a success or failure? And then, since it is quite obvious that at heart, neither Dr Kwesi Botchwey nor Flt-Lt Rawlings really believe in the IMF and went to the Fund most reluctantly, how can they make it work? Surely, an important ingredient in any curative process is 'faith' in the prescription? How can unbelievers preach a gospel and hope for a miracle?

Ama Serwah, London

Too many Professors

I couldn't agree more with Maigani on the composition of the committee appointed by President Babangida to collate views on the political future of Nigeria.

There are far too many 'book people' on it. My fear is that they are either going to spend so much time arguing with each other that they will not be able to come out with anything coherent, or they will produce something so academic and impractical that it will be totally unworkable.

I have every respect for Our academicians but I suggest they should spend their energies on research and writing books and thinking up fresh ideas.

I have heard that many of them in fact do not deserve to be called 'Professors', i.e., after they cease to be heads of department they really ought not to be called 'Professors' and yet they still stick to it. Can it be a sign of insecurity? How can such people deal with the hurly burly of everyday political life in Nigeria?

Amadu Andami, Balham

talking drums 1986-02-03 Demonstrations in Accra against Rawlings's economic measures