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Strictly Personal

The electorate and governance in the Ghanaian political system, By Michael Akeno



Abraham Lincoln, a one-time great President of America, made the follow­ing landmark statement: “Government of The People, By The People, For The People”

This is the popular definition of democracy, championed and propagated by America all over the world, to countries that practice this system of governance at the present time.

Ghana, a developing country in the modern world today, practises this system of governance at the present time.

In order to ensure an effective and efficient practice of democracy in the Ghanaian situation to be on the same level as prevails in other countries and America, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth today, there is the need for a thor­ough and elaborate education for the Ghanaian electorate as to what entails in the practice of this democratic system of governance.

This is so and very necessary because there had been deep ignorance among some of the Ghanaian electorate pertaining to a democratic system of governance.

Since Ghana embarked on the democratic system of governance, it can be observed that the majority of the electorate in Ghana does display ignorance in the choosing of leaders and other political office holders of the government of the country.

There are a number of nega­tive factors for this unfortunate situation that this article seeks to identify and address as a way of minimising this situation, if not eradicating it completely from the body system of Ghanaian politics.

The first factor that one can identify is that of low educa­tion and illiteracy. The second is ethnicism and sectionalism. The third is selfishness and avarice. The fourth is over-ambition. The fifth is corruption.

I shall attempt in the following to offer some suggestions for the minimising and eradication of this persistent and problematic situa­tion in the body politics of Ghana.

Although the ratio of litera­cy and illiteracy rate in Ghana is higher as compared to other Afri­can countries, there is an urgent need to step up the literacy rate in Ghana so that a great number of Ghanaians will be able to read and write.

This will facilitate easy communi­cation, interaction, and understand­ing among Ghanaians; and this in turn will bring about a good under­standing of national issues and aspirations of the developmental process of the country.

To this end, there is the need therefore for successive govern­ments to pay priority attention to the formal education of every school going age Ghanaian child; and also to organise a country-wide, mass illiteracy education cam­paign programmes with the aim of eradicating illiteracy in the country among Ghanaians who cannot read and write.

Ethnicism and sectionalism constitute a major obstacle in Gha­naian politics; and efforts must be made by all Ghanaians, both high and low stature to eliminate this unpleasant situation in the country.

Ghanaians must therefore learn to live in unity, peace, and tolerance; seeing each other as brother and sister with one common destiny in the developmental process of the country. Ghana belongs to all Gha­naians irrespective of where one comes from. And with this mental­ity and consciousness, Ghanaians can move together as one people with a common destiny.

Avarice and selfishness must be shunned and uprooted among Ghanaians to enable Ghanaians to show much love to each other. This will enhance the speedy development of the country.

The inordinate desire to get ac­cess to political rule and authority to amass wealth, no matter what is involved must be eschewed by all Ghanaians. This will ensure peace, unity, and justice in Ghanaian society so that Ghana will move healthily to experience speedy economic growth, development, and prosperity.

Self-centeredness and over-ambi­tion had been the bane and setback of any realistic and meaningful development to many a nation in Africa, and Ghana should not fall a victim to these militating and negative factors for political control and rule.

Corruption and immoralities had contributed to the fall of great nations in the past and in modern times.

All forms of corruptible prac­tices must be uprooted from Ghanaian society so that virtues and moralities will prevail.

When Ghanaians are guided by morality and upright living styles, the country will speedily experi­ence optimum economic growth, development, and prosperity.

Ghanaians must therefore learn to become disciplined in their lifestyles, so that they can work together in faith and honesty with each other to bring about a speedy development of the country.

In the matter of choosing candidates for the various po­litical offices and leaders of the country, the electorate by virtue of good education, clear men­tality, and consciousness must endeavour at all times to choose the right and honest people to occupy political offices.

The electorate must not choose people for political offic­es by virtue of where these peo­ple come from in the country; but strictly by their capabilities and abilities to deliver to the best interests of the country.

This is what prevails in the most advanced and most pro­gressive nations of the world such as America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, etc. The electorates are highly educated and well-informed, and they exercise their franchise by carefully choosing the right and capable candidates to occupy the various political offices of gov­ernance to ensure the progress and advancement of their countries. To this end, the electorates of these countries choose their candidates for governor, not on the basis of ethnicism, sectionalism, or political organization; but strictly on desir­able qualities and the needs and interests of their countries.

In fact, this simplistic, naïve, and ill-informed way of voting practice is popular in African countries including Ghana, of course, the star of Africa!

This is most unfortunate and unacceptable for the smooth and healthy developmental process of African countries in their continual efforts to experience economic growth, development, and prosper­ity.

It is uncivilised, barbaric, and ret­rogressive as it is the root cause of conflicts and dissatisfaction, which often plunge African countries into civil wars and genocides that had besieged African countries in contemporary times.

When this occurs, it impedes stability, progress, and development; and introduces chaos in African countries.

Ghana is the star of African liberation and aspirations; and so she must strive hard to reverse and change this unpleasant situation in order to bring about sanity, justice, and a healthy developmental process in the life of African countries for the benefit of posterity.

Compared to other African countries situations, Ghana appears to have a long, somewhat peaceful, and sustaining democratic system of governance.

This is commendable and must be further sustained for Ghana to experience healthy economic growth, development, and pros­perity, which will become a shining example for the rest of African countries to follow.

The Ghanaian experience up to date needs to be improved upon as it is fraught with the anomalies and shortcomings that had been highlighted in this article.

The Ghanaian experience has therefore not reached the stage of perfection. To this end, it is highly imperative for the Ghanaian elec­torate to become more enlightened and well-informed in the choice of political leaders and represen­tation so that Ghana can become more peaceful and strongly united to experience economic growth, development, and prosperity.

Ghanaian political leaders must also try to become more sincere and honest in the devising of their political manifestos for the development and prosperity of the country.

They must also try to refrain in their campaigns for political power and leadership, the fanning of sentiments, of ethnicism, and divisiveness in their utterances; as this will generate and reinforce the conditions for divisiveness and sectionalism in the rule of the country; which are at variance in the smooth and healthy develop­ment of the country.

Ghana must rise above all the unhealthy conditions that had been mentioned in this article in order to pave a healthy and enlightened way of co-existence of the rulers and the ruled of the country to promote economic growth, devel­opment, and prosperity.

In conclusion, I reiterate that the electorate and governance con­ditions must undergo a rigorous transformation and change by the suggestions that had been advanced in this article for a new good chapter to be opened in the democratic system of gover­nance of the country which at the moment appear to be shaky and vulnerable from a critical point of view.

A healthy and well-informed democratic system of governance must prevail in the present Ghana­ian political situation for the rest of African countries to follow.

This is a big challenge and test to Ghanaian democracy practice.

A citizen casting his vote with the help of an electoral official


Strictly Personal

Uganda’s expiration pandemic: Expired courses, drugs, brains…By Joachim Buwembo



I swear, Ugandans on Twitter will not go to Heaven! And it is not just on account of the cruel comments they make when a prominent personality dies. It is about their views on everything and anything. They closed the month of May by dismissing everything as expired.

It started with an inadvertently ambiguous statement from the National Council of Higher Education, NCHE, which categorised many courses offered at both public and private universities as “expired”.

It transpires that courses are supposed to be assessed and periodically reassessed, but this has not been done for many courses by the relevant universities with approval of NCHE.

The clarification came quickly but not quickly enough. Whoever drafted that notice started regretting the minute it hit public media, as it became a feast of mincemeat on Twitter.

One of the earliest tweets was of resignation, saying that it was all obvious as expired courses had produced expired health workers who administered expired contraceptives to women, which led to the birth of expired babies, who are now offering expired services to the public.

You can say that this cruel diagnosis is itself logically expired. Unfortunately, there seems to be evidence around that expiry is the real malaise dogging our steps, whichever direction we want to take. With apparently expired experts directing the economy (locally pronounced enkonome), full national recovery from Covid-19 and Ukraine seems to be taking rather long.

The public debt has grown beyond 50 percent of GDP and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is not collecting enough. But how can it conceivably collect enough when the biggest taxable sources are themselves expired?

One of URA’s cash cows is importation of old cars that expired long ago in the countries of origin. The terribly fuel-inefficient contraptions thus guzzle sinful quantities of fuel — which is heavily taxed.

The fuel itself is expired, the type that was long abandoned by developed countries, with lots of sulphur, poisoning the poor Ugandan bodies, as it gets pumped into the air around us.

The other tax cash cow is beer, which is an expiry accelerator that makes humans age faster and the drinker’s brain to expire rapidly.

But a tax source even bigger than petrol, old cars or beer is expired mobile phone services. Although these services are the in-thing in a poor country, they are still rudimentary, as the digital capabilities are underutilised.

Things like 5G are more talk than reality and buying the best phone on the world market will not give you the experience it should when you use it here. But we cannot say much because many expired journalists are scared of criticising mobile service providers because they are big advertisers who, if annoyed, can hurt the journalists’ employers, it is often said.

With such expired sources of tax revenue, the country has little option but to rely on expired loan arrangements to finance its budget. The loans are designed in expired format by expired minds of the lenders. The lenders operate with the expired philosophy that the borrower is not supposed to think smartly, hence the skewed terms that are the cry of poor nations all over the globe.

They had started running away from major Western lenders, citing being given embarrassing “conditionalities” for the loans. They ran to new lenders whose mentality turned out to be even more expired, leaning more towards the Shakespearean Shylock from Merchant of Venice, whose method of loan recovery was to slice a pound (half kilo) of flesh off the borrower’s chest.

Now the borrowers are running back to the older expired lenders, as the expired debt pendulum swings back and forth ceaselessly. The borrowers themselves are exhausted with expiration and are even rumoured to be going to commercial money lenders next.

But, not to worry much, the NHE has clarified by rendering the expiry term itself expired. NHE now calls the courses “un-reassessed.”

So, expiry itself has expired.

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Strictly Personal

Telecommunications’ greenfield ventures conundrum, By Dilip Pal



For most businesses, expansion, especially to a new geographical area is both an exciting but also expensive and nerve-wracking process.

As the global economy is shifting and changing, due to globalization, this is becoming a necessary move for most businesses. And it is no different in the dynamic and agile telecommunications sector which involves building operations from the ground up.

Establishing new networks or infrastructure from scratch in untapped markets requires significant upfront investments, extensive network rollout, regulatory compliance, and patience before profitability can be achieved. In economic terms, this foreign direct investment is known as greenfield operations.

From experience, though, I have learnt that most of the stakeholders lack patience, tolerance and understanding when it comes to these greenfield operations and their associated start-up costs.

Mobile Network operators must deal with the complex and resource-intensive infrastructure development. Building a robust network infrastructure requires substantial capital expenditure, meticulous planning, regulatory approvals, and optimal coverage. These factors contribute to a longer waiting period before positive cash flows materialize.

The most recent investment by Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia in Ethiopia is a recent showcase of greenfield operations. Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia has close to 3 million customers and built a distributor network of over 114 outlets, delivered an award-winning premium quality network in 22 cities and regions; with close to 1300 network sites and over 900 staff, 81% of whom are Ethiopians. All these are capital and resource-intensive greenfield operations.

The telecom sector operates in a highly regulated environment, requiring licenses and permits to operate in different regions. Navigating through some of these bureaucratic processes and securing necessary approvals adds delays and costs to the overall timeline of profitability. Fierce competition in the industry further complicates the landscape.

The nature of telecom services presents additional challenges. Operators face limitations in network capacity, spectrum availability, and geographical coverage. Expanding infrastructure to reach remote areas or densely populated regions requires time and substantial investments that may not yield immediate returns.

Investors and analysts must thus recognize that the telecom sector’s path to profitability is not linear. Expecting instant gratification and immediate profits can hinder the long-term growth and potential of greenfield operations. By focusing solely on short-term financial indicators, investors may overlook the underlying value and potential of telecom companies investing in expanding their networks and reaching untapped markets.

Telecom operators need time to build a solid foundation, establish a customer base, and optimize their operations before achieving sustainable profitability. Investors and analysts must have a long-term perspective and appreciate the intrinsic value of greenfield operations in the telecom sector.

The lack of new entrants in the industry and greenfield ventures limits understanding of evaluating the telecom sector’s prospects. Investors and analysts often rely on precedents and established metrics from mature companies, which may not capture the long-term potential of greenfield operations.

Way forward

When assessing greenfield operations in the telecom sector, it’s crucial to consider the balance between short-term and long-term prospects. Initial losses and the time required to reach profitability may impact stock prices in the short term. However, taking a longer-term perspective reveals the immense potential for growth and returns in untapped markets. Recognizing the strategic value of expanding into new regions, capturing market share, and establishing a solid customer base is essential.

Investors can make informed decisions that prioritize long-term gains over immediate financial indicators. It’s vital to look beyond present fluctuations and focus on the promising horizon that greenfield operations in the telecom sector offer.

Secondly, greenfield operations in the telecom sector demand innovation and adaptability. They involve introducing cutting-edge technologies and customized solutions tailored to target markets. Telecom operators must stay at the forefront of technological advancements, embracing trends such as 5G, IoT, and artificial intelligence. By fostering innovation and investing in research and development, greenfield ventures can position themselves as leaders in the telecom landscape, driving progress and shaping the future of connectivity in digital services, education, healthcare, and e-commerce.

Investing in these ventures contributes to bridging the digital divide and fostering inclusive development, aligning investments with positive societal impact.

In conclusion, to foster an environment that supports greenfield operations in the telecom sector, a shift in investor mindset is necessary. Recognizing the potential for long-term growth and profitability requires patience and a visionary approach. Emphasizing the transformative power of connectivity and its positive impact on societies and economies is essential. Greenfield investments are important, not as an end but as a means to create jobs, support the growth of the digital economy, bridge the digital divide, empower communities and contribute to a more connected and inclusive world.

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