Hundreds protest plan to sell Ghana Telecom to Vodafone

Hundreds of people staged a protest outside Ghana's parliament against the sale of 70% stake in state-owned Ghana Telecom to the UK's Vodafone Group, an AFP report said.

The demonstration was timed to coincide with an emergency session of parliament, which is expected to ratify the multi-million dollar deal.

'The Vodafone deal stinks to the high heavens. It doesn't make sense,' Kwesi Pratt, a prominent activist and organizer of the march, was quoted by the AFP report as saying.

Among the demonstrators was John Atta Mills, leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress of former military ruler Jerry Rawlings.

Arguing that the deal is not in the national interest, opposition lawmakers last month scuttled attempts to have the deal ratified before parliament went on a break.

The opposition also says the shares sold to Vodafone are grossly undervalued.

As opponents of the deal took to the streets, some workers of Ghana Telecom held a separate march in support of the deal.

They see Vodafone's coming on board as revitalizing the struggling national phone company.

Ghana Telecom is the west African country's third-largest mobile phone group with 1.4 million customers or 17% of the market.

In recent years, Vodafone has expanded aggressively into emerging markets across Asia and Africa, as it seeks to offset the effects of flagging sales and intense competition in maturing Western markets.

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