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

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

ECG chronicles

The black outs are normal now,we even follow a schedule. ECG is the unifying factor in Ghana now; When the lights go off, both the poor and rich shout OOOO, when they come back on, both the young and old shout YEAH!! ECG is that childhood bully who took your lunch money and in case you were never bullied, ECG is that hungry macho man who crosses you in the waakye queue and buys for his whole family (before I go on, let me share this, never complain when a macho man crosses you in a waakye queue, 2 things not to joke with, a hungry man and a macho man. I have done my part).

Back to ECG, We play the blame game when the lights go off;the president this, the president that. We forget he has appointed people to work and ensure we have lights, yes, the president isn’t the ECG boss(surprised?). One morning, I received a message from my friend, a first class graduate from business school who said, “Let’s go and be sweepers at ECG” O_0 then she mentioned how much a clerk there earned: GHC 2100, they earn 21 million old Ghana cedis (I almost sent my CV there) so you can imagine how much a boss there is earning, meaning they are being paid well, yet… Our lights aren’t assured. Have I talked about how they are planning to increase our bills by 200% ? When its the big companies who most of the time don’t pay their bills?

The blame game isn’t working, let’s try another method. Have we considered another source of electricity apart from the one we have? We always complain every time the lights go off ( Don’t you get tired?) We have so much sunlight and it scorches more nowadays (maybe God is bringing it to our attention), people have started selling solar panels but apart from solar, what else? There are a lot of things around we could convert to electricity. We should start thinking about different and cheaper ways to generate electricity (I hate generators because of the noise,and cost of fuel). I think that would be more beneficial. When I get one, I would just call ECG and tell them to come for their cables. Till then, let’s remain innovative, a solution is always close by.

ECG can’t put the lights off at the end of your tunnel,
ME.

The Question- The System

An organisation I am a part of(NSBE-National Society of Black Engineers) organised an event where we went to secondary schools to talk to science students about science and engineering courses they could pursue in the university. After the talk, it was question time then they asked” If we have scientists and engineers coming from the university every year, why does government and other companies employ foreigners to undertake projects, because we should be qualified enough to do most of the work ourselves. Some also said they know Chinese children build gadgets. We said we have Civil engineers but its mostly white men who build our roads. Why?”

Their questions got me thinking, but I gave them the most obvious answers; Ghana doesn’t have the resources like machines and equipment to undertake such projects.We still buy the equipment from the foreigners. So its cheaper like that and when they come, they employ us. It was a lame answer but I got away with it, but the question troubled me because I was about to graduate(finally) and I for once looked at life after school, and got scared.

I’m not scared because we will not get jobs, my fear is this, I’ve seen very intelligent students with brilliant ideas that would change the nation, but what will happen to them after school? They will get sucked in by the SYSTEM. The system that doesn’t allow graduates to think, they just do. Some will travel outside to seek higher education, some will just join these inefficient Ghana something something companies, get brainwashed and made to believe their quota is to get used to the system and live in it. After, they will buy a house, a car, get married, give birth and wait for retirement. That’s the end of the education.

I will limit myself to sciences and engineering. Most of these engineering firms and telcos import their software and are taught how the system works, by a year, they would be experts in the system then all innovation is killed. Scientists? lol the most prominent one I know in Ghana is Prof Allotey. What happened to the others? Some became tellers, businessmen etc. What about starting something? Entrepreneurship? Go to linked in and check, you will see Entrepreneurs who are working for people. Honestly, I think the term Entrepreneurship has been abused in Ghana, that is another article.

Maybe the reason why we employ foreigners is because we aren’t well taught, we are mostly taught to use and maintain what the foreigners have built. Innovation and brainstorming is not encouraged, after all, do you know more than your lecturer? What about the government buying the equipment so the locals here can use? Do we always have to import everything, even mental work?

Well, we can change this. We must. The SYSTEM isn’t good enough and we must not allow the younger generation to suffer what we suffer, that would be wickedness. We can build a better Ghana by restructuring our educational system.

My graduation speech is very simple: I thank God, I thank my parents, and thanks to all the passco!! Hasta La Vista, so long and thanks for all the fish. May the Force be with us all…