E-commerce in Ghana: Tiptoe lane on tonaton

Don’t give me a lecture on how honest,peace-loving and religious Ghanaians are, I’ll find you and pour hot water on you (I’m serious). The average Ghanaian will swindle you in the blink of an eye, you just need to lose your guard for one second.  The internet of things holds a lot of promise for the average Ghanaian who likes buying and selling and also holds promise for the thieves on the tiptoe lane too. You hear countless stories of people getting robbed in circle, they buy soaps instead of phones or fake chinese phones. It’s  funny till it happens to you. There a lot of fake phones on the market (hint hint, Ghana government), they also need to be sold.

E-commerce thrives when there is honesty, or a body that can guarantee honesty. In Ghana, we have none of these. Buying things on the internet is one of the riskiest things you could ever do, especially on sites where you have to meet the seller, like tonaton and olx. I have heard stories of people getting duped, or losing the money and what they have on them to the merchant. All they have is the thief’s number and he is going to throw the SIM card away. What can you do next? SIM cards are registered so you can trace the thief, right? WRONG. Most of these thieves buy “PRE REGISTERED SIM CARDS” and register with fake details because Ghana, our beloved country which is free forever, doesn’t have a central database of IDs, making it difficult for telcos to verify if the ID details are legit. psyche.  (What happened to the national identification thing? Ok.)  Honestly, its very easy to be a thief on the internet in Ghana. Very easy. You can rob someone in Kumasi then go and live in Cape coast, IF you are able to clean your footprints well (You should easily do this). They can’t even trace your IP address. You can receive money from your “dupee” victim with our new mobile money payment platforms, show a fake ID, that’s all, you are rich (I’m not saying go and steal oh, neither am I giving hints -___-).

Are you still wondering why E-commerce doesn’t work in Ghana? Well don’t. To be fair to the struggling e-commerce websites, it is very difficult to trace these kind of things. It is up to you the buyer to make sure you don’t get duped. There are other options like kaymu where you pay online then they send the stuff to your doorstep, at an extra cost (deep frown).

Well this is the best I can do, here goes:

i) If the price of the item is too good to be true, then its not true.

ii) If the person you call is in circle, or wants to meet you at busy internet, forget it. Go into circle, look for a shop to buy it,it will be around the same price.

iii) If the number is a new number 057,055,054,050 etc, don’t call. If you want to, be careful.

iv) When you buy the phone, don’t let the person put it in a box. Hold the ORIGINAL phone he shows you. DO NOT GIVE IT BACK TO HIM, even in a shop.

v) Make sure the phone you are buying is an original one. If you can’t tell the difference between original and fake ones, check the IMEI numbers on the phone maker’s official site. There are fake androids and iPhones too, don’t play. Better still, go with someone who can tell the difference.

vi) Don’t go and buy stuff in circle alone. If you are feeling uneasy about what you are buying, don’t buy it.

vii) If you can’t trace the person you are buying the stuff from, don’t buy it. In case the phone has a defect, how will you return it?

viii) Just go to a shop.

ix) When you get robbed in Circle, there is a police station by the first overhead near the filling station. Visit there and report the case. They will help you.

x) Be careful when sites ask of your bank card details, don’t leave them online, especially if the site isn’t the official site of the bank or its not a secure https site(look at the address bar).

 

An article to the wise,

Ordinary Ghana.

” Let the thieves rule you”

Last night I read one of the best news items ever on citi fm. It wasn’t any complicated post about how the government is destroying the nation or some lies from a government official telling us how things are getting better; it was honest talk about how stupid those in government think we are. I liked it because I had two things in mind, either they didn’t know what was going on or they knew but were genuinely helpless. After yesterday I realized they know, they just don’t care enough. We are only useful to them during elections. The mystery has been solved.

Allow me to do some citizen journalism(Credit to Citi fm for the images).

Act 1, Scene 1.(Characters in this play are a work of fiction, every resemblance to actual people is pure coincidence)

You know these Imani guys are always complaining and giving their suggestions, bra Kofi was on his usual rant walking around the flag staff house in the hot sun, talking plenty;

sds

 

 

 

 

 

Unknown to him, he was disturbing uncle Stan’s air conditioned office. Uncle Stan told his fellow collegues, “These small boys and their too known,they can’t even be class prefects but they think they can win elections and rule a country”. He angrily went out to meet bra kofi and said;

b2

Bra Kofi was confused, he knew he was talking about lying, he didn’t think it had anything to do with winning an election, he decided to correct him.

b3

Uncle Stan had misfired, he needed to save his face fast,best way? personal attack and play the victim. He started shouting by the roadside and jumped into the gutter in front of the flagstaff house,

b4

Bra Kofi was trying to make sense but he had been hit by uncle Stan so he also jumped into the gutter with him, shegee!

b5

A small crowd was forming, they were surprised to see two grown men playing in the gutter. Things were getting out of hand;

Screenshot_2014-08-07-06-06-00

Some Kofi Annan quickly went to call Chief Imani to separate the two;

b6

Bra Kofi calmed down, but uncle Stan won’t be defeated, he had some left in him;

b7 b8

Bra Kofi then broke free from the people holding him back and spoke his mind, he won’t allow uncle Stan to talk to him by heart;

b9

By now the people from the flagstaff house had come to call uncle Stan, “Lunch prepared with the Ghanaian tax payer’s money is readyyyy!” He was tired, his air con office was waiting for him. He looked bra kofi in the eye, delivered the final blow and walked away;

b10

There was silence,  the crowd was like;

2147093-un_mother_of_god_meme_rage_face shock

 

Someone’s phone started playing Daddy Lumba’s Yentie Obiaa. Joseph was also surprised;

face_shock

Batman was passing by and heard it, he was also like;


Shocked-batman-reaction-meme

 

I was like…

BrIEj4dCAAA6e7F

 

And walked away.

Ordinary Ghanaian

First Ghanaian to receive a Nobel peace prize for lying

Fauster Atta Mensah is a Ghanaian legend, everyone should bow down to his greatness. A co-worker showed me his interview on GBC where he  lied to the whole nation (I hope GBC broadcasts don’t go international). This guy Fauster (I want to believe that is his real name) woke up one day and decided to catch everyone in Ghana “mugu” , it wasn’t even 1st of April!
I thought it was a joke till I googled his name and found some interesting articles about him, they looked very genuine.

fraud

Genuine to anyone who doesn’t know a lot about the internet. A Ghanaian had won a nobel peace prize for creating a robotic hand and he worked at NASA. Ok, just playing, the guy is a photoshop king, website designer and a good liar. He calls himself a computer scientist too 😦 but he deserves the prize– for fooling GBC, the broadcasting corporation of the nation (A simple search on google looking for nobel peace prize winners or Nasa workers would have saved them). The host Mr. Moomen must be feeling very stupid now, look at how a small boy took advantage of his ignorance, it’s like buying a phone at circle, only to get home to find a bar of soap, his mind was BLOWN, he was so impressed. LMAO.

fraud1

Look at the photoshopped pictures here, what killed me in the video was “credit to NASA” .

fraud2

I remember Barney from How I met your mother did something similar, he created websites of himself. It very easy to find him when his name was searched for,LOL. Our Ghanaian genius did same.

fraud3

The biggest problem in Ghana now is journalism and the internet. We have some very lazy journalists who pick gossip from social media and create articles without verifying it’s validity. Like when a formerly respectable news agency’s website said some of the Boko Haram guys had been caught by the US army. The average Ghanaian is not tech savvy, they will believe everything on the internet, if our journalists cannot do a little research but rush to be “first to report” then they could be lying to us and we won’t even know. Worst case scenario, they could cause a war. Maybe they don’t know how powerful they are, but the copy and paste method is a ticking time bomb. Very very poor journalism.

The video
He even created a youtube channel(aljazeera breaking news). #boss

The question is this, why did he do this? What did he want to achieve?

In summary, the guy has won(I want to be like him when I grow up).
Ghanaian journalists – 0
Atta Fauster (NASA Ghana, Nobel peace prize recipient(Accra branch)) – 1

The Anonymous One

Ghana: Wasting human resources since 1957

Current state of the nation: Everything is up. Well, everything except the economy, that is. The way our economy is sinking into the ground, very soon it will discover crude oil and… Oops! That already happened. It’s still going down. But that is a post for another day.

You have heard the Ghana/ Malaysia story, about how we both attained independence in 1957 then they went ahead to develop while we are still at stage one. Ghana is that recalcitrant twin brother who smoked weed in high school, and now begs for money while Malaysia is that brother who was serious in school and is now a successful. Malaysia may not have a lot of natural resources, but they exploited their human resources. Ghana however, keeps wasting this important resource aside wasting the natural resources, yet we have the nerve to think Malaysia is our co equal (tweaa).

Look at our educational system; attending a government school for your primary/jhs education will make you disadvantaged. They just waste the children’s time there. Most of the teachers aren’t qualified, the children can’t speak good English, can’t think logically and lack understanding of basic mathematical and scientific theories. These intelligent children are just unlucky to be born poor and they are expected to write the same BECE with private school children. The top notch secondary schools have most of their students from international schools and private schools.

The public school children who struggle to get into the grade B schools have to write the WASSCE and compete to get into the University. If the school admits 6000 students, about 5500 are from 50 schools, the rest of the 1000+ schools, well… When they get there too, they have another hurdle to jump; how to get employed after school(Its like the struggle never ends). No disrespect, but how many people do you meet in the university from schools like Madina SHS? What happens to all those students?

What about the villages without the private schools and dedicated teachers? The children there are the ones who come to Accra to push the trucks and carry the load. This country is like a child prodigy who never became a big star when it grew up. We can become a developed country if we decide to work very hard, but no, its even funny. We can open an industry in every village/capital city, employ the people there to work, could be harvesting pineapples, processing them, exporting them. There are a lot of unemployed people and unskilled people roaming our streets and the government has not had a eureka moment to get these people to do something meaningful, that would benefit the nation (they will even work for 1gh an hour).

At times, I don’t even know what is wrong with our leaders, I don’t know how they think. They keep building a nation that will make the rich richer. Not everyone will be a boss of a company but at least, every Ghanaian should be living comfortably. I don’t think that is too much to ask…

I refuse to give up on Ghana,
Me.

Dear Ghanaian writer…

Writers are creators, they create with their words.

There was a conversation on my TL where people were asked to mention their favorite Ghanaian novel. Some people complained that most Ghanaian writers didn’t expand their stories well, the drama was too raw and the twists and turns were obvious. I realized something too, the story lines were usually one of these; Pre-colonial Ghana, Colonial Ghana, post colonial Ghana, ananse stories, traditions and culture or bad things happening in our society.

But can Ghanaian writers try completely new stuff? Like create a mythical world,create their own creatures, their own universe? Who would have thought there could be a part of London that was only accessible to witches? Or a whole new world existed behind a wardrobe? Or some people were being ruled by an evil ring? Or better still we could have our own super heroes who will fight all these corrupt and greedy men in society. Stories like these play with our imagination and help us create things we didn’t know could exist. Enid Blyton wrote some great books for children, are there any Ghanaian books children can read and build their imagination? You see people have the Batman/Superman who is stronger argument, you might think its childish but it takes a lot of thinking and imagining and creating (Batman will win though).

All I’m saying is, imagination brings about inventions, some time back, video calls and tablets existed only in movies but now its real.Can Ghanaian authors help us imagine and create? Can they excite us? Can they write stories that will inspire us to become better people and build a better society?

A questioning me,
Anonymous233

ps. My fav Ghanaian novel is Money Galore by Amu Djoleto. I will talk about that book in my next post

On “men of God”

Before I start this, 2 things

1. I am a Christian, I believe God exists.
2. I am not generalizing, I believe there are true men who have set their lives apart to serve God and do his work.

fakepastors

“Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm”, people hide behind this scripture to harm the masses. Some men of God are taking us for a ride as if politicians aren’t killing us enough. We have been taught not to question the system, for the religious sects,fear is used to oppress the people. I was watching tv quite recently and saw a white garment church having their Sunday service. First thing I realized was majority of the church members looked poor, second thing was the poor looking people were made to give offerings about 5 times in a 2 hour church service, not 1Gh, 2 Gh offering too.

I believe it started during the Pentecostal era,when we saw real men of God perform miracles and devote their lives to the teaching of the gospel. The fetish priests started losing their customers,any sensible man will take advantage of this and start a church. And the people respected the men of God, meaning their actions won’t be questioned. They did the obvious, they also started “churches”. And you know the interesting part? They could also perform “miracles”, “signs and wonders” and speak in “tongues”.

I don’t blame these con men at all, I blame we the Christians who have reduced God to a bank account. Our modern day Christianity has become “I want a car, a house, a spouse”,etc. Prosperity,blessings and success have been reduced to what we own; money, mammon. We have men of God who know nothing about the bible, but they can perform miracles so we follow them and throw the gospel away. These smart men threaten us with hell fire and they write strange books that just lie to us, tell us to pay consultation fees(I was surprised when I heard this), tell us to give offerings we don’t have. In our desperation do not question them, we just give, not reading our bibles anymore, and live by every word that falls out of the mouth of God these wicked men.

Let me reference the bible, I’m not talking out of ignorance. During Paul the Apostle’s time, there were people who were saying they were with Paul and could perform signs and wonders, yet they was operating under evil spirits, he found out and cast the spirits from them. Even in the Old Testament, the magicians in Egypt could do every thing that Moses did. We now have churches that are filled with thieves and liars, the same type of people Jesus Christ whipped out of the temple.

We forget they are human beings, imperfect. One man of God you trust so much, even more than God, will disappoint you and make you miss heaven because you will backslide and go into the world hating everything that has to do with God. See how dangerous these fake people are? They don’t teach on offerings and tithing, explain to us according to the word of God why we should tithe and give offerings. They just guilt us into doing it, making offering look so compulsory, and we end up giving to man and not to God(it really matters). They even preach “the once saved, forever saved” doctrine.

The bible says by their fruits we shall know them, not by their works. If a pastor takes advantage of you or isn’t living the God kind of life according to the bible, you don’t need an angel to tell you he is fake or just a beggar trying to make ends meet. Well, the good news is Christianity is not hard, living the love kind of life. A life in which we are led by the Holy Spirit, its not a life of pretense so we look good to our pastors and church members forgetting He who will judge us sees everything. Look at the life Christ lived, was he inhibited?

Think on these, and feel free to question issues you don’t understand. Life is a learning process.

Me, Anonymous233

The “Educated” Ghanaian

Education in Ghana is “someway”, in fact our educational system is bad, you can even tell by the quality of graduates and ultimately by the kind of leaders we have. I begin to wonder if the education we receive is supposed to make us knowledgeable or get a certificate, but then again, which one is more important to employers and our society, our certificates or what we know?

from google.com

from google.com

To be an intelligent student(shark), you should have a hard drive-like mind, you must be able to chew(cram) your notes. Back in Jhs, I had this classmate who could chew social studies notes WORD FOR WORD(not exaggerating, I saw his paper), he would write the same paragraph in the exam room and no, he wasn’t cheating. How do teachers expect us to beat that especially when we are all different and learn in different ways? Students with photographic minds have it easy, exams questions do not ask you to apply knowledge, they rather require that you rewrite all that the teacher taught you. Your understanding is your problem, it gets frustrating, after a while, all you want to do is avoid failure because you don’t want to rewrite. Let’s talk about teachers, how many people willingly want to become teachers when they graduate? Very few, most people just land the job because its the only option available. We end up having people who failed their shs exams or didn’t get good jobs after their university education teaching kids in primary schools, jhs and shs. The first problem with this is their lack of job satisfaction; no passion or zeal. Also, the “teacher” won’t know enough to teach the kids.

Our educational system has been reduced to a certificate acquiring venture,Students want to chew their notes, write their exams and move on to the next class. They don’t try to learn anything new especially when its not in their syllabus (even the syllabus, they never finish it). Truth be told, the academic system is so stressful and most students who do extra curricular activities like sports have their academics failing. We only do theory stuff,try doing agric,the botanical names to chew alone will make you hate the course but we forget 60% of the Ghanaian population is into agric. We leave farming to the “unschooled” ones who end up using wrong methods and waste resources. Some people say most of the things we learn in school don’t help us in real life; like always being told to find x.

from google.com

from google.com

We were once trying to create a program for a bus which would calculate an approximate time the bus would reach its destination and tell where the bus is at a particular time using a gps device, that was the day the speed/velocity in respect to time and distance equation made sense. But ask us and we will give you the formula gidigidi. There are a lot of practical things we can do with things we learn in class but alas, we must study hard lest we fail our bece or wassce or worse end up doing a “condemned” course  in the university.

Offering “condemned” courses like Physics, Chemistry,Biology, Mathematics, English,etc meant you had failed in the WASSCE but you wanted to enter the university so you chose any course. Some people even say “why are you offering that course? When you finish school, you won’t get any work to do, unless you want to be a teacher”. And the university helps this by lowering the cut off points for these very important courses that shape a nation.  All they want are doctors, engineers, lawyers forgetting these professions have roots in their “condemned” courses.

At the end of the day, some “educated” Ghanaians display astonishing levels of illiteracy which would leave you confused. I know people who haven’t been to the university, have no certificates, but are very knowledgeable. They will tell you, they learnt it on their own.

from google.com

from google.com

We should question our educational system, at least for our children’s sake, are we schooling for certificates or schooling to acquire knowledge?

A graduated me,
Anonymous233