Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Power to the People-Growth in consumer complaint channels in Ghana :: essays research papers
"POWER TO THE PEOPLE" Let me begin with a confession. I almost dropped this title for a less "controversial" one. I use the word "controversial" because as a citizen of a country(i.e. Ghana) where almost everything (including football) is politicised, I was aware (and concerned) of the possibility of this piece, being subjected to the same "political scrutiny". In the end I chose to keep it, simply because I couldn't find an alternative that captured the soul of this piece quite like "Power to the people". The concept, 'Power to the people" was made popular by ex-President J.J Rawlings in the early 80"s when the then PNDC Govt came into power. The idea behind "Power to the people" was to develop and implement a decentralisation programme, designed to mobilise citizens to actively participate in the decision-making process. Some 20 years on, a rapidly growing phenomenon across our airwaves can best be described as a contemporary expression of this 'Power to the people' concept! Over the last couple of months, I have observed -across various media channels-that there appears to be a growing number of complaints/concerns being levelled at consumer-marketing companies on a number of issues, (Ã¢â¬Å"bad adverts", product/service quality, etc) on a regular basis; and I have subsequently noticed that a few days or weeks after these complaints are aired, most of the affected companies take action. It is this growing phenomenon-when consumers speak out on issues, and companies respond promptly-sometimes at a huge cost (millions of cedis) to these companies, which I refer to as "Power to the people". There are several "complaint channels" open to the consumer today; you can "pick your choice", as they say. For example, there are radio phone-in programmes like "Ka na wu" on Radio Gold and "Feedback" on Joy FM. And if you prefer to channel your views via TV, Consumer Watch (which has been off for a while now) on TV3 serves as a potent vehicle. On the other hand, if you are one of the estimated 500,000 internet users-who have access through shared Internet connections- homes, offices, through friends and cyber cafes you can log onto Ghana Consumer Complaints website to "download" your comments. And as I was researching on this subject, I came across yet another "complaint channel" in the form of the Ghana Consumer Watchdog Organisation. The objective of the group, according to their advert is "to protect, advice and secure the interest of the Ghanaian consumer.