Tonyi Senayah is not your regular business owner. He’s one driven with immense passion. A Passion so strong that it overflows from his personal business dealings to seeing his home country, Ghana, work better.
That has gotten him to be critical of successive governments, except, his decision to be overly critical of a particular government is one he regrets as of now.
It was the government of former President of Ghana’s republic, John Dramani Mahama.
In 2013, the harsh economic conditions of the country would push a section of Ghanaians who would ordinarily be focused on running their business to form a ‘cult’ with a simple agenda, “campaign for change”.
The movement saw the middle class of the country’s populace take a stance against what they termed bad governance at the time.
Tonyi was one of such persons who took that stance and went on a demonstration which would send a clear signal to the leadership of the country that it was indeed time for change, except, few months to that protest, Tonyi and his Horseman Shoes brand had received an endorsement from then President, John Dramani Mahama – an endorsement money could not pay for.
The President had worn the young entrepreneur’s shoes to a State of the Nation address. The President had even gone further to give a special mention in his presentation to Horseman shoes and its CEO, Tonyi Senayah, urging the citizenry to buy from him and support him.
“Mr Speaker, I tell you, they are very nice, very comfortable shoes. In fact, I am wearing a pair right now. Those who doubt can follow me to the speaker’s chamber after here; I will remove them for you to see”, the President said to thunderous laughter and cheers from the crowd in Parliament.
Years on, and brand experts are still unable to quantify what that gesture by John Mahama meant for the young business and its owner in monetary terms. Seven years on, and Tonyi Senayah is living in regret. Regret for taking part in a movement that some say, got John Mahama to suffer the worst electoral defeat any sitting President has ever suffered. His principle was solid – campaign for a better Ghana, but in the end, Tonyi is bitter about the ‘changed’ Ghana he now lives in.
Watch the sequel of Tonyi Senayah’s interview on the business edition of 21 minutes with KKB here: