It Is About Foresight, Not Power Plants, Jabesh
Dec. 13, 2014
I don’t know to what issue Mr. Jabesh Amissah-Arthur sought to address, when the Chief Executive Officer of the Bui Power Authority (BPA) observed that the country’s chronic power crisis could not be solved by energy generated by any single power plant in the country (See “No Plant Can Solve Ghana’s Energy Crisis – Amissah-Arthur” Starrfmonline.com 12/13/14).
What I am quite sure of, though, is the fact that the BPA CEO’s observation was no latter-day epiphany. In other words, it is quite certain that Mr. Amissah-Arthur did not come by this knowledge just on the day that the brother of Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur expressed the same. And were he honest, he would have boldly confessed to Ghanaians that during the 20 years that Chairman Jerry John Rawlings politically held them by their scruff, literally speaking, the founding-father of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) did not add a single voltage to the energy generated by the Nkrumah-constructed Akosombo Dam, as well as the Acheampong-built supplementary Kpong Dam. Meanwhile, during the same period, the population of Ghana had nearly doubled, with the country’s industrial capacity having remarkably inched up as well.
Now, nearly 26 years after clamping their grips on the reins of governance, the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress operatives are talking about constructing a dam on the Pra River. This is a project that is actually coeval in conception with the Akosombo-Ajena Dam by Sir Albert Kitson, the celebrated British explorer and geologist, and one that dates as far back as 1915. And so when Pastor Mensa Otabil chalks the erratic supply of electricity in the country to an abject lack of visionary leadership, the renowned evangelist and inspirational speaker could not be more accurate. Indeed, during most of the time that Chairman Rawlings and his minions and hangers-on occupied the helm of our national affairs, their topmost priority was to stockpile small arms – or munitions – in order to perennially tighten their grips on Mr. Kofi Antubam’s praetor’s chair.
About the only credit – and a populist one at that – that Chairman Rawlings can confidently lay claim to regards the massive electrification of rural communities in the country. Like the fabled Mr. Robbin Hood, Mr. Rawlings and his National Democratic Congress did a diddly little to expand the country’s energy production capacity. But, of course, this is not a sexy subject for Mr. Amissah-Arthur to discuss on prime-time television talking-heads. And so, naturally, he shamelessly decided to run pointless rings around the crux of the matter. Indeed, pretending as if the construction of the $600 million Bui Dam was undertaken under the watch of a National Democratic Congress government made me indescribably sick.
I also don’t know where the Mahama posse thinks it is taking the country, when industrial plants are unable to operate at full-throttle and around the clock. And to think that President John Dramani Mahama is actually looking forward to smoothly sailing into a second term in office makes me cringe. I mean, what does this man take Ghanaians for? At any rate, contrary to what the CEO of the BPA would have Ghanaians believe, even if the Bui, Akosombo, Kpong and Atuabo power-generating plants were to be operating at maximal capacity, energy supply in the country would still be woefully inadequate. What with Ghana’s supply of power to neighboring countries like Togo and Benin?
Really, what the government of the day ought to be doing is to be focused on the construction of more regional power plants, as well as remarkably diversifying the means and sources of our national energy-generation capacity to include, for instance, solar energy.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York