Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Recent workers' demonstrations in Accra and Tema against the latest devaluation of the cedi by the PNDC from sixty to ninety cedis per US dollar were also in condemnation of what the workers considered an insufficient hike in the daily minimum wage which was raised from seventy to ninety cedis. We reproduce below both the take home pay for the various categories of Ghanaian workers and a typical monthly expenditure of a senior level worker.


talking drums 1986-02-17 page 22 ghana pay statistics


Money given to wife to prepare dinner for a family of four at C150 a day for 20 days Money to cater for breakfast/lunch (brunch) and dinner for the family for four weekends at C400 each weekend Transportation expenses from office in Accra to suburban home at C30 a day for 20 days Pocket money for two school children at C40 a day for 20 days Money spent by employee at work on lunch, others at C20 a day for 20 days Water and electricity Rent C3,000.00 C1,600,00 C600.00 C800.00 C400.00 C150.00 C300.00 C6,850.00

Workers tell PNDC to improve their lot

Workers of the financial institutions have pointed out to the PNDC Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning that the concern of the government should be how to better the lot of the ordinary worker and not how much the worker in a particular organisation earns.

In a press statement signed by the Secretary of the Association of Financial Institutions, Solomon Pobee, the workers wondered whether with the alleged 'fat' allowances earned by the staff of SSNIT the workers are living decently at all.

The workers' press statement was in reaction to a prepared speech by Dr Kwesi Botchwsey, citing the Social Security and National Insurance Trust as organisations an example of public which enjoy fantastic allowances. Dr Botchwey noted that such allowances which were not commensurate with work done, were a drain on the economy. We reproduce here the full text of the workers statement which regrettably did not appear to have any news value for the national newspapers and had to be carried as an advertiser's announcement in the private media:

Press Statement

The Association of Financial Institutions (ASSOFIN) has followed with keen interest recent pronouncements by the PNDC Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning on allowances of Financial Institutions in general and SSNIT in particular and wish to point out that we are issuing this statement not because SSNIT is a member of the Association (that is belonging to the same category) but because we are part of the working people. It is in this light that we view these developments as unhealthy attempts to plant a wedge in the working forces of the country.

We wish to point it out that the employees of the Financial Institutions in general and SSNIT in particular are not the highest paid workers in the country so that the concern of the PNDC Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning and all others should be how to better the lot of the ordinary worker and not how much the worker in a particular organisation earns. The issue, therefore, is whether even with the alleged "fat" allowances earned by the staff of SSNIT, the workers are living decently at all. There is no doubt that recent economic policies of the Government have worsened the plight of the ordinary worker and any assurance that the present economic policies being pursued will not have any adverse effects on the already miserable worker is misplaced.

We wish to reiterate that instead of thinking of cutting off the so-called "fat" allowances, the Government should find ways of raising the real income of the average worker. This is the crux of the matter.

The Association, however, wishes to assure the Government that it has and will always seek cordial relationship between the Government and workers and that the Association is not by this statement condoning any acts of indiscipline or laziness on the part of its members. It will continue to urge its members towards hard work as it is the only way to increase output and success.

To quote for from the late L.I. Brezhnev, "Everybody appreciates that people work better and with more pleasure when they sense a constant effort to improve the conditions of their work and life. Regretfully, we still have economic executives who feel that these are minor matters. This attitude is fundamentally wrong and harmful."

This we believe should be the guiding Tsikata declared. principle to any economic policy which seeks to improve the lot of workers unless such a policy does not see the human factor as the most important element in every system of production. Solomon Pobee (Secretary)

Appointments in Ghana following Interior Secretary's dismissal

The Office of the Chairman of the PNDC has announced that Colonel J.M. Ewa, rtd, has been relieved of his post as Secretary for Interior.

A member of the PNDC, Brigadier Mensah- Wood, has assumed temporary responsibility for the Ministry of Interior following the re- lease of Colonel J.M. Ewa as Secretary of the Ministry. This is in addition to his present duty.

An official statement also said Mr Kofi Quanson, Director of the Bureau of National Investigation, takes over the additional responsibility as Commissioner of Criminal Investigation Department, CID, at the police the GBC. headquarters. These changes take immediate effect. According to the statement, the police council has been expanded and Mr Kofi Quanson has been appointed a full member of the council, while Inspector Hamidu of the police CDR (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution) becomes a co-opted member.

Media must help in nation-building

Captain (rtd) Kojo Tsikata, PNDC member, has advised media practitioners not to become tools of foreign intelligence organisations and collaborate in the conspiracy against attempts to establish social justice in the country.

He said that whether Ghana will achieve progress in her nation-building effort or remain a tool of foreign interest depends significantly on the contribution of the journalist.

The PNDC member was speaking at the 25th Graduation Day ceremony of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra on the theme, "The press as an instrument for socio- economic transformation".

Captain Tsikata noted that the complex experience Ghana is now going through demanded that the journalist developed a high degree of perceptiveness about the social forces at play in the society.

He urged mediamen, therefore, to develop a greater sense of responsibility towards nation- building.

He told journalists not to forsake humanity a veneer of professionalism and be manipulated by powerful forces against society.

"To refuse to love humanity in the name of press freedom, to cross over to the other side of the street upon seeing the wounded man lying helpless, and to become a mouthpiece of those who inflict the wounds is, in my view, both inhuman and unprofessional,"

He was critical of those who feel that the journalist has no particular responsibility in the face of the human suffering and deprivation that plague the Third World today, but has to carry on his role in glorious isolation from everybody else, especially from the government.

Captain Tsikata believed that such separation of man as a journalist from man as a human being experiencing the conditions of his society and responding in a human way to those conditions was an extraordinary deception.

He regretted that under the guise of the demand for professional neutrality and so- called balance, a subtle attempt was being made to ensure that the press remains an instrument for protecting the status quo.

Import right TV sets

The GBC has strongly advised that all Ghanaians abroad who want to come home with colour television sets must ensure that they purchase the EUROPEAN PAL SYSTEM B which has similar bands and channels like

The Director-General of the GBC, Mr L.H. Fifi-Hesse, explained that with the change over, Ghana will be using Band 3 with channels ranging from 5 to 12.

Apart from the EUROPEAN PAL SYSTEM B, there are the American and French systems which use different Bands and channels and that people with these sets might not get any reception.

He further warned that even though Britain uses the EUROPEAN PAL SYSTEM B, it uses different Bands and channels and might not work effectively in Ghana. Those who want to buy from Britain must also ask for definite specifications before they get them.

According to the Director-General, adequate arrangements have been made by the Ministries of Trade and Industries, Science and Technology for Ghana Sanyo Limited and GIHOC Electronics (Akasanoma) to produce colour television sets for the country before the April deadline.

He said that by April this year, work would have been completed on the Kisi transmission station in the Central Region and Ajankote in the Greater Accra Region to enable viewers in Greater Accra, Eastern, Central and Western Regions to use their colour sets, while Ashanti and the rest of the country will be viewing theirs in the latter part of the year. He further advised that those with black and white television sets not to worry unnecessarily as with the change-over they will receive clearer pictures. They will continue receiving until the present Band 1 gets out of use and all would have to change over completely to the new Band 3.

Agreement on co-operatives

The Ghana Co-operative Movement (GCM) and the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) have signed an agreement in Accra covering co-operation to promote operatives in West Africa. Accra radio reported that the project aims at improving the standard of co-operatives in the 16 countries making up ECOWAS. The project is being financed by the Canadian Co-operative Council.


OATUU meeting ends in stalemate

The rescheduled meeting of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) ended in Accra with two presidents. One was elected by 28 member nations of OATUU while a 16-nation group also elected another president.

The president was elected by 28 majority member nations Nigeria's former founding president of NLC, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu, while Libya's El-Nafishy, the incumbent president, was accepted as president by the 16 nations. The crisis which began from the first day of the conference got to its peak on Saturday when some members of the OATUU signed and passed a vote of no confidence in OATUU Secretary General, Mr Denis Akumu. The secretary general of Zaire Central Labour Unions, Mr Kombo Ntonga, moved a motion demanding:

That Mr Denis Akumu be removed as OATUU scribe because he no longer enjoys the confidence of a majority of member nations.

That Mr Akumu's refusal to surrender the financial records of OATUU secretariat, which he heads, to the finance committee of the organisation was a violation of the constution of OATUU and an abuse of office.

That Mr Akumu's acceptance of paying 5,000 dollars out of the 25,000 dollars paid by Sudan to his personal account in London for "exigency" purposes was a betrayal of trust and he should be removed.

As soon as Mr Kombo read the motion, the presiding chairman of the congress, Mr Augustus Yankey of the Ghana Trades Union Congress, overruled it.

He argued that the motion was unconstitutional and not properly tabled by the mover. Following a stalemate, 28 members backing Mr Ntonga's motion staged a walk-out.

The 28 nations later reconvened and continued deliberations after which they held OATUU executive council election.

The nations included Ethiopia, Zambia, Algeria, Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Liberia, Malagasy Republic, Gambia, Sierra-Leone, Togo, Senegal and Cameroonian Republic. Ă–thers are Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Angola, Malawi, Cape Verde, Mali, Central African Republic, Niger, Rwanda, Mauritius, Guinea Bissau, Congo and Zaire.

At the elections, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu was returned unopposed as the new OATUU president. The faction also decided that although Accra still remained the headquarters of OATUU, Senegal would be the "operational and contact headquarters of the OATUU until the instrument of office is surrendered," because of the hostility of the Ghanaian government

The 16 nation faction also continued their deliberations at the Nkrumah Hall and re- elected Libyan and Kenyan labour leaders as president and secretary respectively.

The group included Guinea, Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Morocco, Somalia and Mauritania.


Restoration of full ties with UK

President Babangida has restored full diplomatic relations with Britain after 20 months of strained relations caused by the abortive attempt to kidnap from London to Nigeria the former Minister of Transport and Communications, Alhaji Umaru Dikko.

The Nigerian high Commissioner in London was implicated in the plot and his government was advised to withdraw him. The military government of General Buhari, however, retaliated by similarly advising the British government to withdraw its High Commission from Lagos.

In August, General Buhari was removed from office by President Babangida amidst accusations of human rights abuses. Early last month President Babangida's Foreign Minister, Professor Akinyemi, paid a successful visit to Britain at the end of which he intimated that the relations between the two countries were returning to normal. Meanwhile, Britain has announced that Mr Martin Evans, its former High Commissioner in Zimbabwe, will be the new High governor. Commissioner in Lagos.

Freedom of religion and the ICO issue

The Federal Government has said that it will not impose any religion on the people of the country. Giving this assurance in Abuja, children. President Ibrahim Babangida said this is because no responsible government that wanted to succeed will deliberately create problems for itself.

The President was speaking while in augurating the 20-member panel set up to look into the implications of Nigeria's full membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, ICO. Maj-Gen Babangida said that contrary to media reports there was no pressure from any quarter in Nigeria to join the ICO. The government, he said, is also not out to prove the superiority of any religion.

He therefore expressed concern over the insinuation and inflammatory statements in the mass media which, he said, could undermine the unity of the country. The President reiterated his administration's commitment to fairness in all issues of national interest.

The chairman of the panel, Lt-Col. John Shagaya, said the members were fully conscious of the sensitive nature of their assignment. He appealed to the mass media to stop further comments on the ICO issue until the panel have compiled its work. After the inauguration, the members began a closed- door session.

Recent deportation of illegal aliens

Nigeria deported 3,437 illegal immigrants last month, The Guardian newspaper has quoted an official of the immigration department. According to the report, Libyans topped the list with 1,998 followed by Ghana 695, Togo 216, Niger 212, and Benin Republic 182.

Countries which had between 30 and 40 deportees are Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ivory Coast, while Senegal, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Chad, Uganda and Zaire each had fewer than 10. The Philippines, Britain, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey had one illegal immigrant each, the report said.

The official said that the illegal immigrants entered the country with visitor's visas but decided to stay when they found conditions favourable.

Akure Airport opened

President Ibrahim Babangida arrived in Akura Airport on Feb 8 at 11.47 am, along with his service chiefs, to commission the N29 million airport complex.

The President, who flew in a Nigerian Airways Boeing 737 aircraft, was presented Akhigbe, the six-year-old daughter of the state with a bouquet of flowers by Miss Azie

President Babangida later inspected a guard of honour mounted by the 19 Mechanised Battalion of the Nigerian Army led by Major O. Babalola.

The ceremony, which took place at the terminal building of the airport, was witnessed by an unprecedented crowd from a cross-section of the society, including school

The President was treated to different types of songs and cultural dances.

Among those who were in the presidential team were the chief of army staff, Major- General Sanni Abacha, and the Minister of Communications, Lt-Col Tanko Ayuba.

New Airways boss assures public

The acting Managing Director of Nigerian Airways, Malam Zakari Musa Haruna, has assured patrons of the airline and the entire public of improved air transportation service. Speaking at Akure, Ondo State, while launching the national airline's first commercial flight into the newly com- missioned airport, Malam Zakari said he and his team are now doing a self-reappraisal, aimed at identifying those factors responsible for public complaints.

At the end of the exercise, he said, a bold step will be made towards removing those constraints which militate against the expected improved services.

We are happy that the government too is not oblique to our problems as regards the provision of various equipment which include aircraft and navigational aids. We are satisfied that the efforts being made by the government in addition to our commitment to raise the standard of air transportation will yield fruitful results," he said.


Senegambia's security achievements

President Aboud Diouf of Senegal on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Confederation of Senegambia has noted that the achievements made so far include the establishment of permanent consultations which has made it possible for both confederate states to harmonise their general policies in the field of foreign relations and to adopt concerted and co-ordinated positions on African and international major issues.

"I am sure that we will strengthen this important gain in a second phase during which we will streamline by mutual consent our diplomatic representation abroad with regard to the number and jurisdiction of our missions abroad, in view of the very difficult international situation and the limited resources of our state," President Diouf added. Other achievements guided by the same approach concern the integration of the armed forces and the Confederal security forces. On this point, the first goal was to ensure security for the people and the political stability of the states in order to guarantee a solid foundation for the Confederal edifice. "We have been successful thanks to the efficiency, the spirit of self-denial, and the devotion and sense of responsibility which the Confederal armed forces and security forces have displayed in the discharge of their important mission," he concluded.


Gen. Doe receives Baby Doc

Head of State Gen. Samuel Doe has announced that his government is prepared to offer political asylum to the ousted president of Haiti, Jean Claude Duvalier. Ex-President Duvalier, known as Baby Doc, was forced to flee his country last week following widespread demonstrations against his incompetent and despotic rule. He and his entourage fled in an American- provided aircraft to France where he has stayed since.

New leader for LAP

The chairman of the opposition Liberal Action Party (LAP), Tuan Wreh, has resigned his post in order to serve in the newly convened Senate despite a boycott of the legislature by his party. The sources said Mr Wreh had been replaced by the LAP's unsuccessful candidate for vice- president in national elections last October, Emmanuel Koroma.

Mr Wreh and four LAP members elected to the House of Representatives have agreed to take their seats in defiance of the boycott.. Meanwhile lawyers for Jackson Doe, the LAP's presidential candidate in the recent elections who was arrested and charged with treason following a November coup attempt against President Doe, have petitioned for his transfer to a civilian jail, local press reports said.

Repeal of Decrees

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Samuel B. Hills, has said no decree promulgated by the former PRC (People's Redemption Council) and INA (Interim National Assembly) will be repealed by the National Legislature unless a bill for the repeal of those decrees is brought before the legislature.

Meanwhile the Ministry of National Security has announced the release of a number of persons arrested following the 12th November abortive invasion. Those ordered released are: Sah Bober, Alexander Wakor, Joseph Gonor, Charles Johnson, Charles Brooks, Samuel Smith and Malbur Poloye. Others ordered released include Freeman Wonder, Maurice Teh, Stanley Konor, Thomas Peh and Sylvester Fokpa.

Also released are 17 employees of the government's agricultural development project in Bong County and agricultural research institute. "The releases bring to 110 the number of prisoners freed in connection with the coup since President Doe was sworn in as civilian President earlier this month. Those released include 60 police officers.

Trial of political leader begins

One of the leaders of the Liberian Action Party (LAP), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has appeared in court for a preliminary hearing on a charge of treason. According to AFP, the hearing was to determine whether the charges levelled against her in the wake of the attempted coup in November 1985 were sufficient to have her arraigned before a criminal court.

The agency also reported that lawyers representing Jackson Doe, leader of the LAP, ek had asked the court for the transfer of their client from a military to a civilian prison, because his detention in a military prison constituted a violation of human rights.


Parliamentary elections in May

Parliamentary elections are to be held President Joseph Momoh has announced. He said the poll was aimed at giving him a fresh parliament and allow the selection of a new team of ministers. The President promised that he would ensure the elections were free and fair and devoid of thuggery and vandalism.


Dismissals after coup attempt

Seven members of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau (PAIGC), currently in detention for their involvement in the 7th November coup attempt, led by the former First Vice-President of the State Council, Colonel Paulo Correia, have been dismissed from the party.

This decision affects the former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Buota Nam Batcha; Maj Benghate na Beate; Lt-Col Fore na Bitna, Border Guards Commander; Colonel Lamine Cisse, Air Force Commander; Colonel Pedro Ramos, head of national political leadership of the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces; and Benghangarem Nam Tchanda, head of the civilian household of President Bernardo Vieria.

The measures were taken during the meeting of the PAIGC Central Committee which took place from 23rd to 27th January and after the Minister of National Security and Public Order informed the committee on the report of the investigations into the attempt against state security.

The Central Committee set the date of the fourth congress of the PAIGC for 9th to 14th November. It also decided to hold in March the extraordinary meeting of the party committee in charge of economic issues.

talking drums 1986-02-17 ghana mystery death of a catholic priest - nigeria the press rules ok