By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
If the performance of any long-ruling government were evaluated on the basis of that government’s contribution to the development of energy resources in the country, all the key players of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC), beginning with Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, would have to be lined up and summarily executed by firing squad (See “NDC Is Ghana’s 2nd Major Energy Contributor After Nkrumah – Kofi Adams” Peacefmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 2/13/15).
Indeed, the man who was so cowardly yanked out of forced retirement and professional humiliation from the Ghana Armed Forces and summarily executed by firing squad by then-Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, during his temporally fleeting 6-year-rule, did more towards the development of Ghana’s energy resources than his half-Scottish self-righteous executioner did in 20 years of “revoltionary accountability.”
Needless to say, it was Acheampong who built the Akosombo-supplementary Kpong Hydroelectric Power Plant, the second-largest power plant at the time. The Atwima-Trabuom native of the Asante Region would go on to further acquit himself and his leadership in the area of agricultural production, public housing and sports. He may have been somewhat aptly maligned for being viscerally anti-intellectual; nonetheless, the performance record of the Acheampong-led National Redemption Council (NRC) and the Supreme Military Council (SMC-I) far surpasses that of the Rawlings-led juntas of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), as well as the National Democratic Council (NDC).
To be certain, it was the NDC that raised corruption in public office to an epic art form the likes of which has yet to be surpassed in Ghana’s postcolonial history. After Acheampong, of course, comes President John Agyekum-Kufuor, unarguably the best president of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, at least up to the time of this writing. Indeed, he may not have been strategically foresighted enough; nonetheless, President Kufuor’s decision to build the Bui Hydroelectric Power Plant during his 8-year genuine democratic rule, may very well have remarkably meliorated the brunt of the current energy crisis ravaging the country.
It is therefore ironic but all-too-predictable that the primitive rationing of electricity in present-day Ghana began with the populist and rhetorically bamboozling Chairman Jerry John Rawlings. The unpleasant fact of the matter is that short of cheap pontifical talk and the reckless use of public-funded jet planes belonging to the Ghana Airforce as veritable play toys for the flight instruction of his two daughters and son, it is not clear just what else Mr. Rawlings can be aptly said to be good or useful for.
Well, I have not been in the country for quite a considerable while, but I find it rather peevishly amusing to hear Mr. Kofi Adams, the newly elected National Organizer of the National Democratic Congress credit President John Dramani Mahama with the establishment of the Atuabo Gas Plant. The last time that I heard about the man, while he played second-bananas to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, Mr. Mahama’s best answer for the worsening crisis in the country’s public housing market, was to scandalously attempt to scam Ghanaians with a South Korean construction firm of dubious professional achievement record. I think the name of that would-be real-estate racketeer was STX, or some such abracadabra hoodooist.
Well, I prefer to reserve most of my comments on the energy-production record of Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, at this time, except to say that the Akosombo Dam benefited the California-based Kaiser Family, until very recently proprietors of VALCO – or the Volta Aluminium Company, Tema – far more than it ever benefited the average Ghanaian entrepreneur, the foundational base of the country’s industrial development, even as Mr. William (Paa Willie) Ofori-Atta had occasion to prophetically and foresightedly lament in Ghana’s parliament at the time.
I also sincerely do not begrudge anybody who fanatically believes in the purportedly visionary leadership of KWAME RED. I simply have a very hard time visualizing this so-called Nkrumaistic “Vision Thing.”
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is the author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana.” New York and Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.com, 2005.