Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mobile Number Portability

My mind in overdrive led me to write this post. How does Mobile Number Portability work anyways? Yeah, I know. You get to port your mobile phone number to another network while maintaining your original number including the original code i.e. 024/054, 027/057, 026 or 020. Great! Wonderful! But what happens to all the intra-network promotions?

E.g. MTN has its MTN Zone and most of the other networks have reduced call rates to phone numbers within their network at certain times of the day. Airtel for instance charges a whole lot less after 10pm to calls placed to other Airtel numbers plus there's also 8 free text messages to all other Airtel numbers everyday. My thought process might not make much sense right now to everyone but let me break it down.

Imagine I have Kwaku Doe's MTN number on my phone. Kwaku Doe ports to Airtel and doesn't inform me. I see on my phone that I get to enjoy 1pesewa per minute on MTN Zone to all MTN numbers. So, I call Kwaku Doe who has now ported from MTN to Airtel but then I don't know about him porting. Do I still get to enjoy MTN Zone with Kwaku Doe? Or do I get charged like I was calling an Airtel number? Does the wonderful lady who always comes on to remind you your credit is almost done, come on to tell me the number has been ported to a different network? Do I get notifications informing me when any of my contacts ports their phone number to another network? Or is it up to the other person to let me know they have ported? Some people will genuinely forget or for "mafioso" reasons they won't tell you.

On Airtel. I get 8 free text messages to other Airtel numbers. I decide to text Kwaku Doe's Airtel number. Unknowing to me, Kwaku Doe has ported his Airtel number to Tigo. Is the text message still free or do I pay like I'm texting to a Tigo number? Do I get to find this out after I've made the call or sent the text and realised how much I got charged (that wouldn't be fair though)? Some of us only make certain calls or send certain texts when we know the call/text is virtually free.

I understand this whole Mobile Number Portability thing and I believe its a good thing. At least it will introduce some level of competition to the mobile telephony industry. But there are some issues which I believe the industry should address. Imagine me calling up someone at night thinking the call is virtually free and falling asleep on the phone. I'd wake up with all my call credit done!

I'm not particularly picking on MTN and Airtel as it may seem but those are the two networks I use so I am very aware of most of their promotions.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Journalism & Daily Graphic

I found a new "traffic free" route to work. That and the fact that I've been so busy at work explains why I seem to have neglected Kwaku Doe. I shall resume my old "traffic filled" route next week where I get to interact with Kwaku Doe.

On the front page of the Daily Graphic today, there's a story. Headline reads "Grandma Strangles Baby". Of course I got curious and read the story. Basically, it's about a 14-year old girl who got pregnant, can't identify the father of the baby, gave birth and the girl's mother killed the baby barely 24 hours after the child had been born.

Now, a lot of issues arise out of this story but I will focus on one. My focus is on the reportage of the story by the Daily Graphic. Let me quote the two statements I had a problem with.
"Adwoa Mai, the suspect, was said to have gone into an uncontrollable rage when her 14-year old imbecile daughter, who got pregnant without knowing the man responsible for it..."
I'm still trying to figure out what the imbecile there represents. Is that what everyone in the village calls the girl? Is that how she is described by her mother and everyone else who knows her? Is it a condition the girl suffers from? Or is that how the reporter has chosen to describe the girl taking into consideration her situation? Mind you, the story just said imbecile daughter. It didn't say who calls her imbecile daughter or why she is referred to as that.

"According to the police, the dead baby's mother (name withheld), who is an idiot, was made pregnant by an unknown person while she was staying with the suspect and she was not able to identify who made her pregnant."
Again, I don't know whether the idiot there is supposed to stand for a condition the girl suffers from or if that's just a tribe she's from or maybe it's a belief she subscribes to.

Both words were formerly used in a classification system referring to an individual with an IQ between 25 and 50 or lower and a mental age between three and seven years or lower. The classification system is now dated and these words are currently regarded as offensive and used to insult an individual's intellect.

If all this was put there by the reporter because he felt the need to, looking at how much of an imbecile and idiot the girl looks after getting pregnant and not being able to identify the person that made her pregnant, well, doesn't the girl being 14 years make her under aged? Doesn't that mean she was defiled since she's a minor? Should she be called names because a man chose to defile her and make her pregnant? Even if she knows the identity of the man and is choosing to keep mum about it, couldn't it be because the man had threatened her (so many men, like these same reporters tell us in their stories defile under aged girls and threaten them in order to get them to keep quiet)? Even if she does know the identity of the person, wasn't threatened and is not telling so as to protect the guy for whatever reason, she is still under aged.

Should this girl commit a crime punishable by jail time, will she be treated as an adult and put in a regular women's prison or will she be treated as the minor that she is and be sent where minors are sent when they commit crimes?

Let's watch it my dear journalists, let's watch it. In reporting stories, let's try as much as possible not to take a stance and even if we do, let it not show in the story. In reporting stories, journalists should report the facts and leave the public to make up their minds and decide what to think based on the facts reported.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kwaku Doe - "I Speak English"

Earlier, I drew the conclusion that Kwaku doesn't exactly understand English. Just to be sure, sometime last week I actually asked him and he clearly came out to say he speaks English. Well, I don't particularly believe he's well versed in the language but hey, if he says so, who am I to challenge that?

Last Saturday, I happened to pass by his spot and as usual, he was there. There was no traffic so we spent a good amount of time talking (from when the light turned red to when it turned green). First of all, I had to make sure he'd be interested in the conversation and stay so I got my Gp50 coin out and dangled it right where he couldn't miss.

Kwaku Doe has been begging for the past seven (7) years. On an average, he makes about GH¢20 daily begging on the streets. This last information made me reconsider giving him the Gp50 coin because that would mean he earns so much more than a lot of hard working Ghanaians. Doing the math, it appears Kwaku Doe earns GH¢560 a month (i.e. if he begs everyday of the week). Even if he begs five (5) days a week, that'll give him GH¢400 a month, which is still quite a lot.

Just to be sure he understood me and I understood him, this conversation took place first in English and then in Twi. Honestly, I was inclined to not believe him at first but really, it is very possible. Plus he always looks so decent. Always well clothed and all that. I guess he can afford it. No wonder he doesn't want to abandon this job. He obviously knows what he gets out of it.

I do have a confession though. I'm in the process of trying to get one of the cleaners at my workplace fired so I can recommend Kwaku Doe for the job. Well, don't feel sorry for the guy and think I'm mean because this guy has received a query every other day since 2007, never responds to the queries and just decides to not show up for work or either show up drunk. Why he is still working here, I have no idea. I took this up because Kwaku told me last Saturday that he would like it if I got him a job (well that was after I asked him). At least when we in the same office, I can watch him closer and then maybe determine accurately if he's all there or not.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Only in Gh huh?

I am so used to seeing motorcycle riders whiz past me on their bikes with no helmet on. I just presume these bikers don't have helmets or their helmets aren't available at the time. But really it is only in Gh that a biker's helmet takes a seat while the head of the biker goes unprotected.

"Sit back my dear helmet and enjoy the ride. Don't worry about my head."

Friday, July 01, 2011


On just about every MTN official car, the inscription behind reads "In case of careless driving call 18001".

On my way home from work one evening, I'd just passed the Cal Bank and was headed down the Liberation road (hope that's what it's called) when just out of this MTN yard (don't know what to call it but I always see MTN pick ups coming out from that side plus the walls are all decorated with MTN ads) I saw this MTN pick up stick it's head out. Now since my speed was somewhere around 80 and I was so close, I assumed the driver of the car would not make a move to join the road, but how wrong I was.

The smart driver joined the road and I was going too fast to slow down enough or stop so I had to swerve into the next lane. If there'd been another car in that lane then both of us would have been goners. The usual me would have chased this guy, caught up with him and given him a peace of my mind but I relaxed, took down his car number with the intention of calling 18001 (cos that incident definitely counted as careless driving) and venting.

On my first couple of tries that very evening, I just kept hearing the phone was off or unavailable or something. I tried again a couple of days later and this time the phone rang but no one picked up. What I'd like to know is why does MTN have that number at the back of their cars if the phone is going to be off or if no one's going to pick up? Really? What's the point? Why pretend to be concerned about the driving abilities of their drivers when really they are not?

Kwaku Doe - The Comeback

It's been a little over 7 years since I started writing about Kwaku Doe. From first talking about him in my  Plight of a Hungry Man  ser...