Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mid-Week Madness: Blogging Paradox ; Afrigator Re-Dux and Guinea on My Mind

Few people know that I have another blog, entitled "Reflecting the Eccentric World of E.K.Bensah II"--save Ghanablogging colleague Kobby Graham who has listed it in his aggregator. That's the space where I blog about relationships, life and other esoteric stuff, which I feel I cannot shed light on on the ghana blog.

Whilst you're reading, let me give you a small quote from a post I wrote in June 2007 about reconciling real life with blogging--what I call the blogging paradox:

In so many ways, blogging has transformed us into both contradictory and paradoxical people. Contradictory because some of us chose to blog about heretofore private issues under both the ambit of free speech, as well as something to blog about, when that very same issue, we probably wouldn’t discuss with someone face-to-face...

When you read this blog, you do it and make judgments—or not—on the entries I write. At the time you read my entry, your attention is drawn only to the post, but not to my whole personality. In that respect, even if you consistently visit the blog and have a fair idea of who I am, by way of my blog entries, it’s difficult to be certain whether it’s all an act.

We have contemporaneously become paradoxical because the self-reflection of our private lives that we are so keen to refrain from divulging fully is refracted through our blogging, such that we blog about our personal lives, but only in a way that doesn’t reveal too much of what we intimately think and feel...

I believe with that quote I was trying to experience a catharsis that only writing can bring. This post, for example, was going to be about "what to do when you cannot blog", but when I started writing, I remembered there were other issues I needed to pick up, such as the dreaded afrigator.

The genesis of this post started with the fact that I was going to write about Ghanaian banks; however it was scuppered by my boss challenging me to do an analysis of the Guinea/Niger crisis refracted through the role of ECOWAS in Guinea.

This has meant that I have had to naturally suspend my blog entry to do some serious research before doing a good piece on the Guinea crisis. I've done a write-up for the blog; all that remains for me to do is to transfer it into blogging stuff.
In between that, other private matters have crept up--including where on Earth Ato Kwamena Dadzie is on the afrigator blog list? Somehow, there seems to be a bit more sanity. I wouldn't know if it had anything to do with the post I wrote last two weeks. All I can tell for now is that the cutting-and-pasting blogs have been relegated down there somewhere in the 80s. I am still a bit concerned that some non-Ghanaian-content blogs, such as Nubian Cheetah, who blogs more about Africa than Ghana is in the top 5.

I am sincerely happy to see that David Ajao's blog is in the top 5; he's a veteran and deserves the spot. The delectable Esi Cleland and Abena of Procrastinator Fame; including yours truly are in the top 10. What is Koranteng's Toli still doing in the top 5?!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nkrumah Inspires a Future Worth Living and Dying For!

When little E.K.Bensah III and Samantha/Sammy are born, there is a story that must needs be told.

It's a story about how their father--then 32 years young--imbued by the pride of being an Nkrumahist wept on the morning of Monday 21st September 2009 as then-President Professor John Evans Attah-Mills delivered a dawn broadcast to honour the great Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah--academic; theologian; pioneering Pan-African; and Founder of Ghana.

In a style akin to the announcement of Obama as 43rd President of the USA in November 2008, Samantha's father wept to the news like a lost child.

Within minutes, he was up. He dusted himself off, and proceeded to steal the thunder of the African Union (who should have had a presence on Facebook) by using the inspiration of Nkrumah to whip up support for a people-centred African Union government that we so need!

In his hand was a copy of the now-defunct "Evening News" of January 1964, which their father found online, recounting how their great grandfather Hon E.K.Bensah, Minister of Works and Communications, had laid a wreath on the grave of a security officer killed by the bomb attempt on the life of the Osagyefo.

Long live Nkrumah! Long live Ghana.

Africa Must--CAN--Unite!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Trouble With!

For the cognescenti of, my title might be a non-starter. I know for a fact that fellow bloggers like David Ajao have waxed lyrical about afrigator's peeps (akin to twitter) for example. One thing that must be said about David Ajao, also, i sthat consistently for the past couple of months, he has been ranked number one on afrigator rankings -- at least as far as blogs in Ghana is concerned. Off-late, he moved to number one, but has been up-staged by Joy Fm journalist Ato Kwamena Dadzie, who joined afrogator only last week.

My biggest beef, though, is with some of the entries in the top 20.

Simply click on the images to get a bigger picture. When you do, you will get a better sense of what I'm about to write.

Let's start with Koranteng's Toli, which was last updated in March 2009. How on earth can it still be ranked number 6?

Secondly, EVABZ -- at number 7 -- had NO posts about Ghana! The last eight posts were on random issues--not on anything to do with Ghana. How on earth was it able to rank so high?

Third, seems to be written by a sexy, smart young woman who writes occasionally about Africa. Nothing specific about Ghana. How does her blog manage to rank #9 on afrigator blogs in Ghana? Unclear whether she's even Ghanaian.

Fourth, GHANAPUNDIT is a blog doing the easy cut-and-paste job on a very regular basis. To constitute good blogging, frankly, is a fallacy. Any amateur can do cut-and-paste every day. Where's the analysis of the posts you put up. The regularity clearly means that it's higher on the rankings--and as it's blogging about Ghana, well, you can do your maths about how it managed to get to #11. Though I am happy to see it has fallen a great deal from last week when it was ranked #2/3 for a couple of days!

Fifth, NDC Corruption is eponymous in the sense that the name speaks for itself: it's all about posts touching on alledged corruption by the NDC from both private and public Ghanaian press. It's also mostly a cut-and-paste job. To be ranked #19 is perhaps a vindication of my anger, considering how last two weeks, it was hovering around 2 and 3 for a few days!

I don't know what monitoring and evaluating afrigator is doing about blogs under countries, but it strikes me that it might need to do some significant revision of what "constitutes" Ghanaian blogs. Is it merely a cut-and-paste job from papers about Ghana, or entries about Ghana or on Ghanaian life?

Ghana is talking. Is afrigator listening?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah on a United States of Africa / Discovering E.K.Bensah Senior

So you can check out this video, which was sent round by a friend on Facebook. I want to believe that it is not just because we are less than a week away from celebrating a holiday of 21st September in honour of the great visionary and leader of Ghana Dr.Kwame Nkrumah, but also because the Osagyefo deserves it truly.

As the Ghanablogging community begins a week of writing about Nkrumah, I want to also believe that the research that will go into it in writing the entries will be transformative.

Dr.Nkrumah was more than an ordinary man; there are some of of us who want to believe that he came to save Africa (and by extension Ghana) from perpetual slavery. We can bang drums and make bombastic claims about the white man till the cows come home, but truth is it is we Ghanaians that overthrew this great man. The white man could have come up with his ruses and caprices and we could have pretended to accept and turned on them -- as we did so many times in history. Yet the (alledged) CIA money was too exciting a prospect to anticipate such an idea.

I have written about Nkrumah before, and over the next couple of posts, I shall be referring to them.

I make no secret about my views about Nkrumah on this blog--and I would understand if observers might feel it is because of my paternal grandfather who was a Minister and MP in his regime.

I've only today found out that grandad "O'Pop" was once Minister of Works/Construction and Communications! You can read his history here:

For me, a journey through Nkrumah's life is equally a discovery about the politician my grandfather was in Nkrumah's regime and an exploration into the legacy of Nkrumah even for my Dad's own generation.

It appears my children might not have a choice of where their politics will be!:-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

This Week in Frontpages--"Daily Graphic" versus "Daily Guide"

As the week winds down to a close, we can only feel that the week has just flown by with tremendous celerity. Some of us might have been too busy buried in work; others might have just managed to catch bits of news here and there.

In order to respond to those who might have missed the frontpages (cocaine / paedophilia) that competed with the average crime thriller, I'm posting the frontpages of the two widely-read papers in the system--Daily Guide and Daily Graphic.

This post is also appearing on my new blog Ghana Media Watch Unlimited, which you can access here:

Click on the image to view the images of the papers.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Day Ghanaian Customer Service Died...& Other Mindless Madness

Few issues make me viscerally turn my head out of disbelief than outright greed. So when I heard that the EXOPA CEO had been caught with cocaine, I couldn't quite make it out. Yeah, so we all love money, but most of us also bear in mind also that the love of if is the root of all evil. Frankly, I feel like history's repeating itself here. This is what I wrote in July 2007:

The week opened with drugs on my mind: a popular musician, Daassebre, who had been caught with two kilograms of cocaine in the UK. It prompted a radio discussion on Tuesday as to why so many Ghanaians want to defy the risk of carrying narcotics into European soil. I called in and made a contribution, which I can summarise thus:

There are two levels we have to be looking at this. There is, first, the local level.

At the local level, we should have a billboard at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) that states explicitly that Ghana is a no-drugs country. That always helps, plus the one thrown in for good measure that Ghana is a strong partner in the fight against drug-trafficking. We should also be building the capacity of officials at GCAA (Ghana Civil Aviation Authority) to be able to have a good idea (discerning eye) for those who might want to take drugs out of the country, or bring it in. If this means going on courses overseas, then fine!

At the sub-regional level, I maintain that there should be an ECOWAS Convention on Combatting Drugs in the same manner there is one on small arms to the degree that the Kimberely Process on Blood Diamonds has eventuated from it. I also think that one should go back to the discussions back in 2002 when ECOWAS Police Leaders met (, and this was discussed[...]


My solution remains pretty much the same two years later: we do need both a local and sub-regional approach to tackle the drug question.

On another front, I want to quickly broach the issue of my Mid-Week Madness, which I have focussed on customer service--or the lack thereof--in Ghana.

I need to doff my hat off to Ghana Hall of Shame whom I think is doing a great job by trying to become the quintessential nemesis of all that is wrong about Ghanaian retail--and corporate--attitude to customers. I entreat you to visit the site and submit your stories.

Getting back to my complaints, let's start with my entry that featured on my accradailyphoto blog in September.

I don't know about you, but I think Corporate Ghana's got a lot of work to do to tidy up itself. Kids are being used in MTN ads and a worker at GAME (Accra Mall)recently told me when I queried two prices for one product that:

"ah, that's GAME for you!"

For me, that was the day customer service at GAME died.

You do your formulations and calculations on the kind of thoughts that went on in my mind when this customer told me this, but it must needs be said that GAME should revise the way it treats its customers. I believe Ghana Hall of Shame will gladly pick it up for us, but even before they do, those of you who patronize GAME might think about watching the price tags more carefully now.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

MINO on my Mind: From Facebook with Love

This was how I started the morning:

humbled that Ghana's Joy 99.7FM supremos would seek my opinion abt Ghana's ministry of information (MINO [sounds like an Ancient Greek name...] ) using Facebook as outreach. Will be recording as podcast. Starts @ 12.00pm GMT

Fellow blogger, Kobby G, of Wherever I Lay My Hat fame called me to ask whether Joy FM could interview my humble self. Ofcourse I said yes!;-) (even if I was unsure exactly why there wasn't a better person to interview). Kobby told me that he and Ato KD, whom I have never met immediately thought of me. I wonder why: I'm a bit of a loud-mouth, and surely there are more serious "technologists" out there. Still, I was raring to go.

So, I was interviewed for the midday news, and only an excerpt of my interview was used. Let me try, though, to get the essence of what I wrote elsewhere (precisely on Emmanuel.K.Dogbevi of fame's profile--for which a media practitioner castigated me for calling the MInistry of Information's desire to engage the FACEBOOK constituency a "knee-jerk" reaction:

Emmanuel, nice piece.

I was interviewed, albeit briefly, on Joy FM's midday news. A media practitioner who is also a Facebook user castigated me for claiming it was a "knee-jerk reaction." While we did speak and I understand where he is coming from (as it suggests that MINO might have been criticised for NOT using facebook), I still believe that if Facebook is going to COMPLEMENT government policy, certainly it should not take the plunge so deep like this?

First of all, we have our government portals that have not been sufficiently exploited for the benefit of our citizens. For example, could be made more mobile-friendly, to include txt msg alerts and whatnot.

Facebook is not just for the young--it is now an all-encompassing medium that cuts across ages and walks of life. For it to be effective in a country where more than half of BECE students have failed their exams and where greater attention to literacy is needed strikes me as counter to meaningful development.

Just because Facebook is buzzing every nano-second does not mean that you have to have a "LIVE CHAT" every week. What is the objective of that live chat? To canvass opinions of the youth, or the rest of the population? How many even middle class use FACEBOOK? At the times (3pm) that they should be working, would you want them to seek permission from their bosses to come talk to the MINO officials--or would they do it on the sly?

In short, it has implications--on productivity at work (time of day (3pm) is not conducive to productivity, perhaps lunch time? weekends?); on skills (how much of the population is adept at using the 'Net -- let alone Facebook?); on meaningful communication (does MINO have the capacity to monitor the chats from bad/foul language/repetitive questions & comments, etc); on inclusiveness (what portion of the population are even online most of the time to make contributions?

If they said they were reaching out to the Diasporan community and the youth ALONE, then I would understand, but I sincerely believe that Facebook should not be used at the expense of existing working systems like govt portals which the jury might even be out on as to how effective it remains for the general public.


The debate is surely to continue--and I shall definitely be in the thick of things--monitoring!


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