John Kufuor's government plan to sell telecommunications giant Ghana Telecom Company
is generating intense debate after a pressure group vowed to oppose the sale at
all cost. The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) warned members of Ghana's
parliament of dire consequences if it approves the controversial sale. The
group said it would campaign against any parliamentarian
who supports the government's plan in this year's parliamentary election.
is also threatening to hold public forums across the country
to generate discussion about the dangers involved in selling the company, which
it claims would result in demonstrations if the government goes ahead with its
plan to sell the company.
group accused government of wrongfully using state resources in the recent
organization of national awards, purchasing of presidential jets and the
building of a presidential palace, but could not raise money to offset reported
debts incurred by Ghana Telecom Company. But the government dismissed the
accusations as without merit, adding that the sale was to raise standards of
the company in what the government describes as the competitive
telecommunications industry in the country.
Bernard Morna is a leading
member of the CJA. From the Ghanaian capital, Accra he tells reporter Peter
Clottey that the sale of the telecommunication company is not in the interest
"We all do know that in this
modern era communication has become a very important tool, not only for
national engagements, but also can be used for security and other international
engagements, and indeed spying on a country. So for our nation to sell of our
most precious telecommunication outfit, Ghana Telecom, for us is an indictment
on the reasoning and thinking capacity of our government," Morna said.
He described as inopportune
the government's plan to sell the state's treasured asset.
"The chief executive of
Vodaphone (the British company that wants to buy Ghana Telecom) says that
Ghana's telecom industry is one of the most buoyant industries across the
continent, and that annually, they have 55% subscribers into the industry. And
then we begin to ask the questions if it is about efficiency that should be the
basis for national assets to be sold out, then we think that the presidency of
Ghana should be sold out because the president that we have shows gross
inefficiency in the management of this country," he noted.
Morna sharply disagrees with
government's assertion that it was selling the company to raise funds for the
economy and create more jobs for ordinary people.
"Nobody disputes the fact of
government raising funds. But this is a government that wants to raise money to
inject into an economy, yet has sufficient resources to be able to go and
acquire medals for national awards to people whose contribution to the national
development of Ghana is questionable. This is a government that desires
resources for creating employment and jobs and yet will be able to take
resources to go and buy two presidential jets for the comfort of the president
traveling around. That is the kind of sensitive government we have," Morna said.
He said the pressure group's
ultimatum to parliamentarians is justified.
"What is the meaning of the
legislature? The legislature is supposed to be the representative of the people
because we cannot all participate in the Greek method of democracy. Therefore,
we elect people to represent our voice. It is those same people that we can go
to and tell them what is wrong with our society so they can right it. We
believe that for Ghana to prosper, our parliamentarians must be up and doing.
They must not subject themselves to any timidity by the executive arm of
government, and we think that by telling the members of parliament to do the
right thing, society would be compelled by rejecting them when they come to
seek the mandate to go back to parliament. It is not a threat to the
legislature," he pointed out.