The irony was hard to miss and so when it struck me I couldn’t help but laugh ‘within’. The occasion was the re-launch of Ghana Telecom and Onetouch under the new brand name of the company’s new owners – Vodafone. Both vice president John Mahama and communication minister, Haruna Iddrisu, seemed quite delighted to be part of the event – which would never have taken place if they had their way in parliament last year.
Not quite long ago, both Mahama and Iddrisu were stridently criticising the Kufuor administration’s decision to sell off 70-percent of government’s stake in Ghana Telecom to the British Company. They said they deal was not good enough and they wanted it scrapped. In parliament they voted against it.
Out of parliament (I couldn’t have been there), I spoke out for the deal. I felt it was what Ghana Telecom needed to save it from outright bankruptcy and to make it a keen competitor in a fast growing industry. I felt then (and I still do) that the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone was one the best things Kufuor did.
Now, after the re-launch of the company as Vodafone Ghana, I am in complete agreement with the corporate communications director of the Ghana Telecom, Major Don Chebe, that the company is now “born again”.
Listening to their new feisty radio advertisement and observing how they went about re-launching the company, I can feel a certain spring in the step of the company which until a few months ago was all but crippled. Now, it’s a confident, well-financed company ready to compete and bold enough to claim to be the “network that works”.
I am not a subscriber to any of Ghana Telecom’s services. I may never be. But, as a consumer, I am certain that a competitive Vodafone is good for me. It will push my service provider to sit up and give me the services I deserve.
All those who supported the divestiture of GT must feel vindicated and I think President Kufuor deserves a pat on his back (not a BMW) for taking the bold decision to offload government shares in the company. To those who opposed it – like the vice president and the communication minister – how about a couple of humble pies?