Thursday, 28 October 2010

A Conversation With Keith Boyd Of Eaton Towers

Recently, I exchanged emails with Mr. Keith Boyd, of Eaton Telecom. Today, with his kind permission, I am publishing replies to some questions that I posed to him in a number of emails, in interview form. It is for the elucidation of those Ghanaians, who like me, are interested in getting to know exactly what the outsourcing of the management of Vodafones' 750 masts to Eaton Telecom entails. On 5 October 2010, it was reported in London that: "Eaton Towers, the African tower company, has signed a 10-year contract to take over the operations and co-location management of 750 telecom towers for Vodafone Ghana." Please read on:

KT: How did Eaton Telecom come to 'buy' Vodafone’s masts - and what is its track record?

KB: Eaton Towers was formed from the merger of 2 companies, and through investment from a number of different sources. The company has been building and maintaining towers in 13 countries in Africa since January 2002, and has an experienced management team including:
- The ex CEO of Orange group (a multinational company with many licences around the world, including Africa
- An Ex director of Vodafone Group
- A co-founder of Celtel (the Pan African operator founded by Mo Ibrahim, that MTC (Zain) bought and then sold to Bharti recently)
- Ex CTO of Celtel
- Ex CFO of a Johannesburg and LSE listed Technology company (turnover > $4 Billion per annum in 2008)
- And many more
I can assure you that we are a very focused, experienced management team, who are absolutely committed to the ongoing development of the African Telco market. We believe that the underlying costs of running a telco network can be cut very dramatically through tower sharing (as we have seen in India, where, despite regular power outages, costs are far lower than in Africa). And we are willing to invest our time and money in making this happen.

KT: Can Ghanaians rest assured that there was no use of insider information: leading to the contract signing?

KB: Absolutely. I give you my personal and professional insurance that there was no access to, nor use of, “insider information” leading to the contract signing. I know this for certain, as I was the first person in our team to start the dialogue with Vodafone 18 months ago, and remained as company lead executive for Eaton throughout the process. In fact, the process has taken this long as Vodafone deployed some of their most experienced international financial and commercial people to oversee that the contract discussions and negotiations were in the best interests of all Vodafone Stakeholders – and they made certain that Vodafone got a very good deal, which is in the interests of their shareholders, staff, and customers.

KT: It is said that Eaton Towers is owned by a private equity company. Is that true? If that is not true, who are the owners of the company, then - and are there any Ghanaian interests in the company's shareholding?

KB: Eaton Towers has a number of shareholders, including Private equity and Management at present. This shareholding base will continue to widen as we go through further rounds of fundraising in the months and years ahead, in order to expand our investments in Ghana and other countries of operation. I cannot disclose any Ghanaian shareholder interests presently, but can assure you that we would welcome further investment in the company – and if you have some suggestions of Ghanaian institutions or individuals of good standing and repute, who would wish to invest in the company, I give you my assurance that we would welcome entering into discussions in this regard. Please feel free to work with me on this in the months ahead.

KT: What would you say to the cynics in Ghana who say that Eaton Towers' presence in Ghana will help widen the footprint of Britain's GCHQ in Africa?

KB: Kofi, our main board has directors from America, Nigeria, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sweden and Britain. And we will widen this to better reflect our companies main shareholder base and objectives as we grow.
We do not report to David Cameron, nor do we seek to advance any political agenda – from any country. We are business people and investors, who seek to make a difference, and make a reasonable profit for our risks and efforts over the years. I am sure you will agree that Mo Ibrahim made a positive difference to our continent, by pioneering Telecommunications developments, and creating healthy competition in countries where other operators were perhaps too scared, or to uninformed, to go in the early 1990’s. By the way, he made himself very, very wealthy. But he took massive personal risks, and he invested a very large part of his life in trying to make life better for many Africans. And I would be very happy to walk, in some small way, in his shadow – by doing well, whilst doing good.

KT: Will Vodafone be paying Eaton Towers during the contract period - and if yes, precisely how much?

KB: Remaining within the bounds of the confidentiality agreements, I can say that the nature of the deal has been published, and it is essentially as follows: Eaton take over responsibility for, and subsidise the costs of maintaining and upgrading the passive (non RF / Telecomms) infrastructure from Vodafone, and we charge Vodafone a reduced amount for this. In other words, Eaton makes a loss, as our charge to Vodafone is significantly lower than their current costs to maintain the infrastructure. We are also responsible to invest in new Capex items (e.g. generators, fuel tanks, fences, air conditioners, tower components) at our own expense, once they become end-of-life. And – most obviously – the maths behind this has been checked again, and again, and again over the last 18 months, by the Vodafone people related to the deal. Our only chance of making any profits is to sell a lot of co-location slots on Vodafone’s towers to other operators. So we are risking our hard earned money on this deal, whilst Vodafone has immediately transferred costs and risk to Eaton. That is the nature of business – you have to risk money, effort and time, in order to have any chance of making a profit.

KT: Many thanks, Keith. Incidentally, there are many Ghanaians who are of the view that if investors were to take a long-term view (in getting a return on their investments in our country!), they need never fear reading news reports with banner headlines screaming (to quote your previous email, Keith!): “…another operator goes bankrupt in Ghana!”

KB: Thanks also from my side for the opportunity to put some things straight. We appreciate that Ghanaians want the best possible deal for themselves and the country. And that has to be finely counterbalanced by a mature view towards long term investment from “foreigners” – people who were unfortunately (through no fault of their own) not born in Ghana! And I am on record as advocating that investors take African investments seriously – and invest for the long term.
We appreciate all the support that we can get in Ghana. We do hope to make a success of this investment, whilst playing a key role in bringing telecoms costs down for everyone in Ghana.

Post Script.

I sent the email that follows below, to thank Mr. Boyd, after recieving the email from which the above interview was taken. His permission to me to publish his replies in the above interview, came in reply to the said email below. It has been edited slighty to correct a few typos! Please read on:

Email from Kofi Thompson to Keith Boyd: 25 October 2010

"I am emailing you to acknowledge receipt of your email with the replies to a number of questions I posed in my email of 23/10/2010. I am grateful to you for endeavouring to answer them. It was very noble of you to do so. I guess one would first have to get an estimated value of Vodafone's masts, if one is to make any meaningful comments on the deal itself. Is that information you can divulge?

I suppose that any gentleman would treat this as private correspondence - and I will treat it as such. However, just as a matter of interest, would you object to my making it public: so that other Ghanaians too can see the positive side of what in effect is the spinning off of Vodafone's masts?

As regards making friends in Ghana, I am sure you will find that there will be a surfeit of Ghanaians with high net worth, happy to invest in your company if given the opportunity to do so. Ditto institutional investors. I am sure they would all tell you that getting Ghanaian shareholders on board via the Ghana Stock Exchange, will satisfy most of the critics of the deal – as in their view it will make Ghanaians see Eaton Towers as contributing to wealth-creation in our share-owning democracy: and also ensure a degree of transparency in its operations.

Hopefully, when you do make any future profits, you will engage in corporate-giving that will help protect Ghana's biodiversity, and also enhance your company’s green credentials locally. Look up the Ghana Wildlife Society; A Rocha Ghana; Rain Forest Alliance Ghana; WWF Ghana; and the Nature Conservation and Research Centre. They are all doing what they can to help preserve our country's natural heritage, and would welcome your widow's-mite-contribution, over the ten years you are contracted to be in Ghana for! Many thanks, once again. I will be in touch again, when I have digested all the information you provided.

Best wishes,


Tel(powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Is The Time Not Right For A Cabinet Reshuffle In Ghana?

The current cabinet is a real mixed-bag of good and not-so-good ministers. With the endless snipping from the sidelines, by those National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, who sadly, seem to have forgotten so soon, that their party spent eight long and painful years in the political wilderness, surely, the time has now come for the president to reshuffle his cabinet?

Perhaps one can use the STX deal and a few other examples, as case-studies, to illustrate the mixed bag of good and not-so-good ministers. Although he did not initiate it, the determination with which the hardworking Hon. A. S. K. Bagbin, the water resources, works and housing minister, has gone about ensuring that the STX housing project takes off, as soon as practicable, certainly needs to be commended.

 As a consensus politician, he has done all he can, to try and get the minority benches in Parliament, to back the project: so it is a truly national project. Sadly, the perfidy of the hardliners in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has resulted in their trying to delay it, purely for political ends.

On the other hand, unfortunately, one would find it difficult to say the same positive thing, about the deputy finance minister, who has responsibility for the financial aspect of that deal.

Not too long ago, I was taken aback, when I heard him say that we were being asked to pay that outrageous and astronomical sum for insurance for the STX loan, because this was Africa: and there were political risks to take account of. 

Can he not see the positive side of our country, I ask? Perhaps the question one ought to pose is: Just what is it about our educated urban elite, which has resulted in so many of them becoming individuals, who are completely bereft of any original thinking?

After the global credit crunch, do those members of our political class, who are now in power, for example, still not understand, that it is not slavish adherence to “book-long” economic theories, but creative thinking, which will bring about the “Better Ghana” that the NDC promised Ghanaians?

Has it not yet dawned on that well-educated deputy finance minister, that it was lateral thinking, which prevented the Western world from falling into the abyss, during the financial meltdown that led to the global credit crunch – not slavish adherence to economic theories?

Did he not see how those selfsame Western nations that are always telling our leaders to sell off valuable state assets, whenever the opportunity for companies from their nations, to grab such state-owned entities cheaply, comes along; were themselves pumping billions of their taxpayers’ cash, into collapsing privately-owned businesses in their nations, such as banks?

Was that not done in order to save many of their corporate icons from going under – and tipping their national economies into a deep recession? Was even the venerable General Motors, which is now making profits again, after it filed for bankruptcy protection (the so-called Chapter 11!), not bailed out with a cash-injection by the U.S. administration, at a certain stage, dear reader?

No doubt, if such events had occurred here, members of our political class, many of who do not appreciate the fact that in order for Ghana to prosper, we must move out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking, would have done the exact opposite.

Why does the deputy finance minister, for example, not think of simply telling the Koreans, that there is no political risk whatsoever associated with an African nation, which is admired globally for its enduring stability?

Why, is this not a thriving multi-party democracy, with one of the most vibrant media landscapes, anywhere on the planet Earth, into which even the canny Chinese are sinking billions of dollars of their hard-earned cash, I ask? Why, then, should Ghana have to pay that unrealistic sum, which the Koreans are said to be demanding?

Why does he not think of pointing it out to the South Koreans that they ought to follow China’s example – and put up Korean government money for the project?

If that were to happen, could say ten of Korea’s leading construction firms, not partner the leading Ghanaian construction firms in each region, to build those government houses for the security agencies and other public servants? Would that not enable the delivery of the houses to be speeded up considerably?

Will the outrageous and absurd figure (of some US$ 200 millions!) for the loan insurance that the STX deal stipulates, if given instead to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), for example, not give it a much needed vital shot in the arm – and turn that crucial but woefully under-resourced state institution’s fortunes around dramatically?

 Secondly, the energy minister of an oil-rich African nation aspiring to become Africa’s equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, has no business being heard telling interviewers on radio news programmes, that the days of cheap energy in Ghana are over.

Why does it not ever occur to that genius that he should rather suggest to the government, of which he is such a prominent member, that the Ghana Embassy in China should be instructed to invite Mr. Liam Casey, of PCH International (aka “Mr. China”), to visit Ghana?

If that were done, will they not be able to get him to help Ghana find and negotiate with China’s global leaders in the fabrication of giant wind power plants, to partner the Volta River Authority (VRA) in joint-ventures to build the world’s biggest collection of wind-energy farms off our entire coastline?

If such a mega project, to deliver say 20,000 megawatts of renewable power, came off successfully, would that not ensure that we become an attractive destination for green-conscious international investors - seeking to take advantage of our abundant and cheap renewable energy: to set up sundry manufacturing plants here, and enhance their green credentials globally, that way?

Would the rest of the world not sit up and take notice of our marvellous and unique nation (now the beacon of hope for Mother Africa!), I ask, dear reader?

With respect, surely, that would be a far better use of taxpayers’ money, than the idiocy of pouring such funds down the financial equivalent of a black hole, which the so-called “Brand Ghana Office" represents: with its raft of daft and self-serving "Alice-In-Wonderland” marketing theories and advertising compaigns – cleverly labelled “nation branding” to fool the unwary?

 There are far too many “way-too-ordinary" intellects, amongst those currently leading our country, for comfort – and President Mills must reshuffle his cabinet as soon as it is opportune for him to do so: so as to reinvigorate his much-criticized administration.

The time has certainly come for him to bring many more world-class individuals, into an administration, which, sadly, is currently bereft of much lateral thinking.

Finally, why does he not get Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings to show Ghanaian what stuff she is really made of – by making her a minister in his regime : and then promptly instruct all his ministers and their spouses (in addition to him and his wife, and the vice president and his too!) to publicly publish their assets?

Will that not be an effective way of preventing and fighting corruption in their government’s ranks? Would that also not be one less issue for Mrs. Rawlings and her husband to criticize the current NDC government for?

Since the Rawlings' are so keen to see the Kufuor-era crooks of yesteryear behind bars, will they not rejoice that he has finally availed them of the golden opportunity, to let the world know precisely what they have accumulated in assets, over their many years of sacrifice, in the service of this great African nation, which they so obviously love, more than the rest of the Ghanaian population, put together?

The question is: Will the president do so? Well, one certainly hopes he has the nous and the gumption to do so – for all our sake.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


It is such a pity that public confidence in the present National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration is steadily being eroded, as a result of the negative activities of the few crooks, in the regime of President Mills. Yet, the paradox is that President Mills, who is a perfect gentleman, happens to be the most honest individual ever elected to lead our country, thus far, since the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966. Sadly, it does appear that the actions of the few bad nuts in the government, give credence to some of the criticisms of the Mills regime by ex-President Rawlings. Perhaps those who wish President Mills well, and have his ear, ought to ask him to sit up, and start dealing firmly with all those in his regime, whose actions become a cause of concern, for the well-meaning Ghanaians, who are keen that he succeeds: for the sake of our nation and its long-suffering people.

An example is the incredible goings-on in the information ministry. Does it not say a great deal about the naiveté and lack of integrity at the core of the government’s communications team (bursting at the seams, it seems!), that this over-pampered baby-Goebbels figure, Stan Dogbe, apparently could talk his way into being given so much money (as much as some GH¢169,000) to try and influence sections of the media with; refuse to account properly for it; and still be able to hang on to his position at the ministry of information, despite all that? How can that happen in a regime led by such an honest leader, like President Mills? What are those who advise him being paid their fat salaries’ for, one wonders?

Surely, they are not all blind, deaf, and dumb? Have they not heard the allegations against Stan Dogbe? Were the selfsame crimes not allegedly committed by the loud-mouthed Asamoah- Boateng & Co., during the Kufuor era, I ask, dear reader? No wonder nothing much has been done to unravel the mystery of how the Tema Oil Refinery’s (TOR) cash came to be given to Asamoah-Boateng – ostensibly to be used to influence sections of the Ghanaian media. Nothing much seems to have changed in that respect in the “Better Ghana” of President Mills, it would appear.

If President Mills, and the honest ones amongst the powerful individuals who surround him, want ordinary Ghanaians to continue having faith in the present NDC administration, and re-elect them to power again in December 2012, they must ensure that Ghanaians are told the whole truth about precisely how Stan Dogbe used that GH¢169,000. It is such boldness in dealing with corruption in their midst, that will win them the confidence of Ghanaians – not propaganda and the unprincipled and foolish decision to bribe sections of the Ghanaian media. In any case, what is the sense in wasting taxpayers' money, on members of a profession, a majority of who lack personal integrity, and have even failed to master the basic tool of their profession, the English language: and engage in yellow journalism, on top of all that? The president must have him speedily prosecuted if it emerges that he has done anything unlawful – to serve as an example to other crooks who may be lurking in the shadows in his administration. Our leaders must never forget that the Ghana of today is not a nation in which truth can be hidden, for very long. A word to the wise…

Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.

Time To Confront All Ghana’s Tribal-Supremacists!

The tragedy of our country, is that the elitist tribal-supremacists in our midst, whose secret agenda is to enable today’s descendants of the pre-colonial tribal elites, regain the power their forebears lost when the British occupied our country, are successfully able to cloak their narrow-mindedness, their bigotry and their ill-disposition towards the Ghanaian nation-state, with the pretense that they believe in constitutional democracy and the rule of law.

It has enabled them pull the wool over the eyes of many in Ghanaian society (as to their real intentions for Mother Ghana), for decades.

Incidentally, before one proceeds any further, it is important to make the point, whenever these narrow-minded individuals are discussed, that tribal supremacists can be found in all the ten regions of our homeland Ghana.

They are usually to be found in the palaces of traditional rulers – which are the last bastions of tribalism in Nkrumah’s Ghana.

In the wake of his recent altercation with a political opponent, it is little wonder that the Ashanti Region’s share of our nation’s tribal-supremacist elitists, have quickly pounced on the admonitions of the young deputy minister for tourism, the Hon. Kobby Acheampong: who, in effect, told the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) general secretary, Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, to the face, that he has a provincial-mindset – and more or less advised him to try and cultivate a more cosmopolitan outlook.

Those sly and shameless Kokofu-footballers-supreme, are using the deputy minister’s remarks to whip up tribal sentiment in the Ashanti Region – mainly amongst the region’s large crop of myrmidon-types, who, like their counterparts elsewhere in Ghana, have the mentality of serfs written into their DNA (and form the core of the nationwide army of “My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong” dim-wits, whose blinkered support of political parties is slowly destroying our democracy!).

Incredibly, some of them actually think that their tribal Chiefs are gods whose respective palaces they see as the centre of the universe, for all of humankind. Amazing.

“Onyame entise Alata ni enti,” and unluckily for them, as it turns out, the Hon. Kobby Acheampong actually hails from the Ashanti Region of Ghana: not the Central Region of our country.

The question is: Why would the Hon. Kobby Archeampong, who indeed is a very sane gentleman, insult fellow-citizens who are Ghanaians of Asante descent, like he is?

The plain truth, dear reader, is that he did not – his choice of words may not have been the wisest: but he was merely telling a loquacious and arrogant politician with a provincial mind-set to grow up.

It is time it was made plain to all Ghana’s tribal-supremacists, whichever part of our nation they hail from, that we are all one people: citizens of the ethnically-diverse Ghanaian nation-state. No tribe is superior to another in our homeland Ghana. We are one nation with a common destiny.

We may be descended from various ethnic groups, but out of the great melting-pot called Ghana, a new and modern-oriented African personality and identity has been forged: the Ghanaian.

It is also time to tell those fawning politicians who humour the godfathers of tribalism, by referring to some of them as “Kings,” that there are neither kingdoms nor “Kings” in Nkrumah’s Ghana. Period.

They may think they are being respectful when they call certain tribal Chiefs “Kings,” but they are playing right into the hands of ruthless individuals who think their sole mission in life is to regain the sovereign power their predecessors’ lost, when the British occupied our nation.

If they do not know our history well, let them be informed that on November 20, 1956, the bloodthirsty Akan tribal-supremacist and elitist National Liberation Movement (NLM), and their counterparts from the north, the Northern Peoples Party (NPP), made a declaration of secession.

It was only the sense of nationalism, and strength of character, of the leader of the Bono-Kyempem, Nana Akumfi, of Takyiman, which saved our nation from a bloodbath. Prelude to that cynical move by the NLM and the NPP, on March 14, 1956, Dr. J. B. Danquah, and his blood-relation Nana Ofori-Atta 11, made it plain to a visiting parliamentary delegation, at a meeting in Kibi, that Akim Abuakwa would secede, if their concerns about the nature of the new independent nation to emerge from colonial rule, were not addressed.

Naturally, on top of their list of demands, was for traditional rulers and the pre-colonial tribal elite to be allowed to play a prominent role in the scheme of things in the new Ghana, which they wanted to be a federation of tribal entities, not the unitary republic, which Nkrumah and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) favoured.

Incidentally, whiles Nkrumah wanted universal adult suffrage, Dr. J. B. Danquah & Co pressed hard for voting-rights to be restricted to property-owners and salaried workers only.

So, that, dear reader, is the genesis of the phrase "a property-owning democracy" in Ghanaian politics!

Is it not interesting, that whiles they grabbed many choice properties for themselves whiles in power during the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co, today, Danquah's political descendants are doing everything possible, to stop a housing project meant to provide accommodation for members of the security agencies, and other public servants, throughout the country? Hmmm Ghana, eyeasem oo! But I digress.

Do those politicians in the regime now in power, who give succor to traditional rulers whose secret desire is the fulfillment of the NLM’s agenda, not remember how the dishonest, greedy, and philandering President Kufuor, and his over-ambitious tribal Chief ended up dividing our nation of diverse-ethnicity, as never before, with their absurd and treasonable attempt to create a de-facto state within a state with a 'sovereign' as its head of state, in our country: and used the whole machinery of state to enable them foist him on Ghanaians, successfully?

We have the munificence of God to thank that they did not succeed in their aim. As we all know, so outrageous were their efforts, that in the end, the vast majority of fair-minded Ghanaians, decided that a divisive regime like that, simply did not deserve to be returned to power again, in a multi-ethnic African society: in a unitary republic such as ours.

Truly patriotic politicians must understand clearly that tribal-supremacists ought to be confronted wherever in our homeland Ghana, they seek to impose their will on others.

No politician who wants to rule Ghana must support such Chiefs under any circumstances. Let them always remember that inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of meritocracy. If they want our country to progress they must keep all traditional rulers at arms length – for the seeds for the destruction of our nation lies in the treasonable and foolish ambitions of the megalomaniacs amongst them.

They must not think for one moment, that the drawing into the Kobby Acheampong cocoa asie krakyie palaver, of certain traditional rulers, by the elitists amongst the Akan tribal-supremacists in the Ashanti Region, is accidental.

No part of the landmass of the territory of the Leviathan known as the Republic of Ghana, must be allowed to become a "no-go" area, from which those Ghanaian citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression, are banned – simply because a section of Ghanaian society there does not like what such plain-speaking individuals say openly.

This is a multi-party democracy in 21st century Africa: not the personal fiefdom of some absolute monarch in the dark days of the Middle Ages. Our politicians must wake up – and confront all Ghana’s tribal-supremacists nationwide: no matter their positions in society.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


I had a long phone conversation last night, with a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who thought my previous article entitled: “Mrs. Rawlings: Please Let Bygones Be Bygones!” made interesting reading. Most of our conversation dwelt on the longstanding complaints made by the NDC’s hawks against the Mills regime: That it is far too slow and has not been vigorous enough in prosecuting and jailing the crooks in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – who they think are getting away with their many crimes against our homeland Ghana. The question is: Why do intelligent politicians, who ought to know better, think that a democratic regime, can act like a military dictatorship, in the Ghana of today, and get away with it?

By definition, is a democracy (a system of government built on the concept of checks and balances, and underpinned by due process), not an extremely slow creature that does not have even a scintilla of speedy-action, built into any of its genes? How then can any regime, operating under a system in which the law courts can negate every executive action, which does not follow due process, be expected to make any meaningful changes in the lives of ordinary people, and take the necessary steps needed to jail the crooks of yesteryear, overnight, I ask, dear reader? Is the bargain we make in choosing democracy, not that in exchange for continuing to enjoy the fundamental human rights guaranteed by various international conventions, as well as all the other freedoms we enjoy under our constitution, we will accept that the pace at which fundamental change occurs in society, will, of necessity, be painfully slow at times?

Surely, that is not such a bad bargain, is it, dear reader – especially if it will prevent dictatorship in our country and ensure that we are not eventually enslaved by any of our rulers? President Mills has been a model democrat. Those who criticize him for not jailing all the rogues into whose dishonest hands Nkrumah’s Ghana fell during the Kufuor-era, must pause for a while and ponder the dramatic events that could soon unfold in our country: For their information, the successor to the spineless and now-defunct Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the new Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), will soon start deploying its extensive powers, to enable it deal with the sundry white-collar criminals in our midst. As we are all aware, many of those loud-mouthed crooks, before the passage of those new laws, had hitherto remained virtually untouchable, largely because of their ill-gotten wealth.

Well, now that President Mills’ regime has finally put into place all the necessary laws, which will enable it deal effectively with the crooks of the Kufuor-era (and the present-day ones lurking in the shadows in the present administration too!), perhaps we shall frequently hear many of the NDC‘s hawks repeating a sentiment expressed by a witty young lady-supporter of the NDC, who, during a current affairs discussion programme on Radio Gold’s Asem Edikai programme, said: “Yen jaili womu a, womu edi womu pen, ewia Ghana sika, nu, enyinaa!” (To wit: “We must jail all those who used their pens to steal Ghana’s wealth!”). With such tough new laws finally on our statute books, perhaps we can now ensure that Ghana’s oil wealth never falls into the hands of unprincipled politicians, who are wont to offer our nation’s resources, such as timber concessions in our forests, and blocks in our oil fields, to favourite members of their family clans; their cronies; and to influential fellow party members, deemed to be high-profile trouble-makers – in order to placate them and stop them from embarrassing their parties during their tenure.

The NDC’s restless hawks must be a little bit more patient now – as they will soon see many of the super-wealthy crooks of the Kufuor-era being prosecuted and jailed for their many crimes against the people of this country. President Mills was right all along in insisting that due process must be followed in dealing with past corruption (as well as present-day corruption!). It will now be virtually impossible for those biased and pro-NPP individuals, in the equipoise institution in our democratic system, the judiciary, to continue frustrating the “Better Ghana” agenda. The NDC‘s hardliners will do well to devote their considerable energies to fishing for leads to give to the EOCO – to enable it build water-tight cases against present-day crooks and the wealthy rogues from the past. The NDC’s hawks must end those counter-productive and outrageous public insults – designed solely to weaken and eventually destroy a hardworking regime led by the most honest and principled leader to rule our nation thus far, since the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966: for, the days of impunity for corrupt individuals in Ghana, are finally over. A word to the wise…

Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.

Monday, 18 October 2010


The trouble about Ghanaian politics is that those who are supposed to give advice to the members of our political class, only tell them what they think they want to hear – otherwise why does someone as intelligent as Mr. Kofi Adams not tell Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings that it is vital that they support President Mills? How can any intelligent Ghanaian expect an intellectual of his calibre, elected into office as president, to be anyone’s puppet – when ultimately it is he who will be judged by history one day, for all that goes on during his tenure? With respect, as decent human beings, we must fair to even our enemies: Does President Mills not deserve the respect of all Ghanaians, for his integrity, if for nothing at all?
In the same vein, why do those who advice President Mills also not ensure that Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings are included in bringing about the better Ghana their National Democratic Congress (NDC) party promised Ghanaians? Do they not realize that it is counter-productive to marginalize a couple who were so important in the military regime that ruled Ghana for so many years after December 1981 - and for all the eight years the first NDC administration of President Rawlings was in power for: and have thus accumulated considerable political experience the Mills regime could benefit from? Surely, no savvy political operator, ever cuts his or her nose, merely to spite their face?

Whiles Mrs. Rawlings may be a world-class female African politician, the truth is that she will never win any open and fair election for president in the Ghana of today. Surely, even she must recognize that painful fact of life? On the other hand, there is no doubt that she will make a pretty good minister for employment and social welfare – so why does President Mills not give her that appointment: so that she can contribute positively to the NDC’s period in office? Why does he also not merge the ministry of information and that of communications – and put that other marginalized world-class NDC politician Dr. Spio- Garbrah in charge of that new ministry: and end the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) ability to set the political agenda in Ghana, to our nation’s detriment, with such ease?

Both factions of the NDC must understand that they need each other to win the 2012 elections – and that whiles they can count on the continued support of the “My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong” myrmidon-types who support political parties blindly (and whose foolish and egregious partisanship is slowly destroying our democracy!), they must never take the support of the independent-minded and patriotic individuals, whose swing-votes won their party the presidency during the run-off of the December 2008 presidential elections, for granted. Those discerning individuals chose to vote for H.E. Professor Mills because they believed that he would be an honest and fair-minded president.

With respect, and speaking humbly as an independent-minded Ghanaian, who loves his country passionately, whiles I admire Mrs. Rawlings enormously, given what I know about some of her business dealings in the past, I will not vote for her to become president of an oil-rich Ghana, anymore than I would for a President Kufuor-type of politician to rule Nkrumah’s Ghana again. I hope that Mrs. Rawlings and her husband will have the humility and the humanity to finally let bygones be bygones – and elect to start working with President Mills to help create a better Ghana for all of our people.

I also hope that President Mills will have the wisdom to invite both Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings to dinner, with him and his wife, from time to time. It will be good for all concerned – and for Mother Ghana above all. Mrs. Rawlings is a very intelligent woman. One hopes that she did learn some important lessons from her narrow escape from death when her home caught fire not too long ago: the incredible fragility of human existence, and the importance of compassion, in one's relatively short life on this earth. She must be large-hearted enough to let bygones be bygones – and do all she can to help President Mills bring about the better Ghana their party promised all Ghanaians. A word to the wise…

Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Hello Avaaz Members,

Please help us protect one of only two upland evergreen rain forests in Ghana - the biodiversity-rich and unique Atewa Range Forest Reserve (and the off-reserve forestland in private hands that has been included in the concession given to Kibi Goldfields, which is owned by a Ghanaian ambassador, Mr. Saka, and his partners: which includes the Akim Abuakwa Traditional Council).

In addition to the threat posed to that vital rain forest, by the surface gold miners, incredibly, as we speak, a timber company, Birim Timber Complex, said to be from Akim Oda, in Ghana’s Eastern Region, is also busy cutting down trees at Akim Abuakwa Juaso – in the equally biodiversity-rich lower reaches of the foothills of the Atewa Range.

How can such environmentally-irresponsible corporate behavior be tolerated at time of global warming – and in a part of the world it is having the most negative impact on, I ask? The question is: Who, in officialdom, gave them permission to do so?

Below is a link to a rapid assessment survey carried out in the area (designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area) by Conservation International:

There is yet another link to an article protesting about the wanton destruction going on there, which is posted on my google web-blog: (Please cut and paste each link separately unto your web-browser's URL!).

Unfortunately, the few powerful crooks amongst the many honest and decent people, in the government of President Mills, who, incidentally, is the most honest individual ever elected into office as president of Ghana thus far, since the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1966, are making it well nigh impossible for us to stop Mr. Saka's rapacious company (and its equally greedy partner-in-crime, the duplicitous Solar Mining Company Limited!) from destroying an important part of Ghana's natural heritage.

Please help us stop them, by shaming the government of Ghana into halting this crime against humanity: Please flood the Ghana Embassy in your country with appeals to President Mills to act quickly to stop this intolerable disregard for our nation’s laws by the wealthy rogues behind it. Thanks very much.

Best wishes,


Tel(powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0)27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0)30 2976238.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

President Mills: Please Scrap The So-Called "Brand Ghana Office" Now!

Dear reader, today, I am writing in response to a feature article entitled: "Understanding Nation Branding" that was authored by Mathias Akotia, who is the CEO of the so-called "Brand Ghana Office," and which appeared in the general news web-page of Sunday, 10 October 2010 at

I hope that it will catch the eye of one of the powerful and honest individuals who surround President Mills - and get his regime to scrap that financial equivalent of a black-hole known as the "Brand Ghana Office." I shall begin my piece by quoting the conclusion to Mathias Akotia's self-serving article:

“...Conclusion Brand Ghana Office will work to ensure that the people of Ghana have a good, clear, believable and positive idea of what their country really is, what it stands for and where it is going, and manage to coordinate actions, investments, policies and communications of all major channels of national expressions so that they demonstrate and reinforce what the nation stands for.

If we manage to do this effectively then we all will stand a better possibility of building and managing a competitive national identity, to the lasting benefit of exporters, importers, government, tourism, international relations and ordinary people of the nation.” End of quote.

God give us patience! What the geniuses at the so-called “Brand Ghana Office” fail to understand, is that it is creative leadership, as well as the adoption and implementation of world-class sustainable-development strategies, which will make our homeland Ghana a prosperous and dynamic place that commands the respect of the rest of the world.

If they want our nation to become the toast of the world, it is hard work, discipline, honesty, and creative thinking on the part of all Ghanaians, most particularly by those we elect to run our nation’s affairs, which will do the trick – not the mission-impossible that the daft smoke-and-mirrors idea of using slick marketing campaigns to "brand Ghana"(dreamt up by individuals with provincial mind-sets ensconced in the “Brand Ghana Office” at the Osu Castle - to benefit their cronies in the advertising and PR worlds: both locally and internationally!), represents.

Ghana will neither become a destination of choice for the outbound tourism markets of the U.S., Canada, the E.U., the U.K., China, Japan, and elsewhere, nor for discerning international investors, as long as we continue to be a nation served by mostly-corrupt public officials, which is slowly being engulfed by filth; and in which traffic lights seldom work; urban roads are riddled with potholes; and is a place where many people living on our coastline answer nature’s call on golden and white-sanded beaches!

Nations with good international images have earned the respect of the rest of the world, because they are corruption-free, well-functioning, and prosperous entities, whose citizens enjoy a high standard of living: and exist in free, secure, clean, dynamic, efficient, and modern societies, which are underpinned by cutting-edge technologies: amongst other things.

Rather than utilizing our taxes to pay those geniuses at the so-called “Brand Ghana Office,” hapless Ghanaian taxpayers’ money should instead be devoted to the provision, by the Ghanaian nation-state, of a good public educational system for the talented offspring of all Ghanaian families;- a health-care system that is truly world class and accessible to all; good infrastructure, including well-built and designed affordable public-sector housing: to ensure that no Ghanaian citizen, who does not want to, ever has to sleep in front of a city-centre shop again; protecting the natural heritage of our nation to underpin the eco-tourism industry (and ensure the well-being of all resident in Ghana!), at a time of global climate change.

Above all, our leaders must step out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking: for example, instead of allowing fat-cat wealthy rogues in the timber industry to continue destroying Ghana's forests for personal gain, they must regard our forests as a new sustainable economic pillar to enable us leverage the new carbon economy, and, like Indonesia (which received some US$ 2 billions from Denmark recently: not to cut down its forests!), benefit financially from maintaining our forests.

They must also ignore the nation-wrecking advice of sundry foreign carpetbaggers, including those agents of unbridled market-capitalism, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - such as increasing taxes in Ghana.

Instead of following such initiative-killing advice, they must rather do the opposite, and act quickly to ensure that we have low interests rates and a liberal tax-regime for businesses in our country – which makes Ghana the nation with the lowest tax-rates for businesses in the whole of Africa, and, best of all, be bold and abolish personal income tax immediately: so that hardworking individuals in our homeland Ghana will benefit from their hard work, instead of slaving to provide non-performing public officials with perks and other creature-comforts at taxpayers' expense.

It is that kind of creative-thinking by our leaders that will end up making Ghana a prosperous country whose citizens are immensely proud of their homeland, and also earn it the genuine respect of the whole world – and give it a positive image that draws tourists and investors by the millions!

Those given cushy sinecures in the "Brand Ghana Office" must get it into their clever minds that the transformation of our nation into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia will be accomplished only by extreme hard work in the real world.

That important task will most certainly not be accomplished, as a result of the adoption, by a nebulous coordinating body, employing Latter-Day-Baby-Goebbels, who will apparently use, amongst other things, "post-modern" (whatever that means!) marketing campaigns, designed to obviously create a false impression of our country in the minds of gullible foreigners.

Ghanaians will definitely be proud of their country only when they have a good quality of life that ensures that they can all lead comfortable lives - because their country has a system that is equitable and works efficiently for the benefit of all: not just for the well-being of the families and cronies of a powerful and politically well-connected few (“…with greedy ambitions”: to quote the great and selfless Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah!).

"Branding Ghana" is not a life-and-death priority item on the list of must-haves for the well-being of our homeland Ghana and its hard-pressed citizens. Consequently, instead of continuing to humour those too-clever-by-half individuals who work there, the honest and hardworking President Mills, must scrap the so-called “Brand Ghana Office” quickly – and politely ask all the geniuses who work there to take their bright ideas to the private sector: and work hard to solicit funds from corporate Ghana to help them brand Ghana as a private-sector initiative, and nation-building contribution from corporate Ghana, to help ensure our nation’s economic well-being.

Those independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians, whose crucial swing-votes made such a difference, in run-off of the December 2008 presidential elections, will never tolerate Ghana’s oil and natural gas revenues, being dissipated for such dubious ends – just so that the few crooks in the presidency, who still do not seem to understand that the Kokofu-gravy-train days, which characterized much of the era, of the most dishonest individual ever elected to rule Ghana, ex-President J. A. Kufuor, are long gone.

Ghana now has a man who is the most honest and principled individual to rule Ghana since the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966, as its president – and discerning Ghanaians have no intention of allowing the few crooks in his party to derail his “Better Ghana” agenda. President Mills must quickly move to close down the “Brand Ghana Office” now. Period.