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05.03.2021 Article

Politicizing power problems, problematic; it reveals political discrimination and hypocrisy in Ghana – bombshell of a bombshell!

By Benjamin Pulle Niriwa
Politicizing power problems, problematic; it reveals political discrimination and hypocrisy in Ghana – bombshell of a bombshell!
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My dearest reader(s), before you continue; I am not trying to create a bad image about any political party or politician. So, I am very real with our current problems here, please. The fact is that, some of you may still not like what is here, but a painful truth is better than a sweet lie that would latter cause you more memorable severe pains. Let us all learn from our past mistakes to help us re-shape our politics for National and International Peace or Unity. Thank you!

  • INTRODUCTION
  • The nature of Ghana’s politics of late has been an increasing worry; but for fear that talking about it might tarnish the image of Ghana internationally, most of us have been quite. Unfortunately, from comments from some Ambassadors (Byte, 2019), it is better we rather talk about it to help promote political behavioral change(s) both in the country and the world. From experience, Ghanaians are people who naturally love themselves and foreigners and this is one of the reasons why she has always been described as the beacon of hope of Africa (Booth, 2012)!

    The nature of our politics is unfortunately gradually eroding this, where landlords or landladies can sack their tenants because of the party they belong to (Aryee b., 2020; GNA., 2009). The same behavior is transferred into the management of our electricity sector where everything is over politicized (Asare-Donkor, 2015). Though Former President Mahama inherited “Dumsor” (erratic supply of electrical power) (Rupp, 2013) and is able to solve it, resulting in excess electrical power production (Sarkodie, 2019; Larnyoh, 2020), he is still constantly tagged as the one who introduced it (Ghanaweb.com(b), 2018). Because of the nature of our current problem, as I have said earlier, I am going to be very frank with our energy issues. This is divided into:

  • Appreciating Ghana’s Electricity Problems and the Associated Politics,
  • The Politics of Who Solved Dumsor,

    Which Political Party Politicizes Issues of National Importance?

    Is the Energy Sector of Ghana Bad?

    Conclusion and Recommendations or Suggestions.

  • Appreciating Ghana’s Electricity Problems and the Associated Politics
  • Another word that was always used in place of Former President Mahama’s Presidential title is: “Dumsor” (Ibrahim a., 2016; Speaking, 2015)! Any time there is light off you hear people shout: “Eih Mahama!”, whilst some of them would also be asking whether Mahama has come to their place.

    Meanwhile the electricity challenge in the country is known even before the regime of Our Dearest Former President; His Excellency John Agyekum Kufour as seen in (Owusu-Adjapong, 2018; Kumi, 2017; Ferdinand, 2015; Speaking, 2015). Between 2006 and 2008, the Akosombo Dam’s water dried below required level needed for regular hydro electrical power production; this has resulted in reduction of electricity coverage from 74% Ghanaians who were using electrical power as at 2004 to 53% Ghanaians in 2008 (Rupp, 2013).

    Another problem why Ghana experienced the 2001 energy crisis is the fact that, she was importing oil to help power the generators to produce electricity; and the price per year has risen from $280 in 2000 to $500 in 2004, even before oil prices were increased globally (Rupp, 2013).

    By July 2008, the price of oil for one barrel was almost $133; and before the NDC were voted for in 2008, the energy crisis escalated in the early part that year, because of the continued international increase in crude oil price and “increased national demand” for electrical power (Rupp, 2013). The statistical reports of Ghana also revealed that, this problem of crude oil price flying like a bird, reached its peak at $147 for each barrel in May 2008 (Ghana R. , 2009).

    Despite this, the problem has always been politicized (Rupp, 2013), which became worst in 2015 (Asare-Donkor, 2015; Speaking, 2015), especially during Former President Mahama’s regime. The water level at the Akosombo’s Dam reduced again, resulting in a situation where only “Three of the six turbines” of the Dam were working (Quartey, 2017).

    However, “Dumsor” has been a problem not only in Ghana but in most Africans’ nations (Anderson, 2013); and though there has been a yearly rising use of electrical power in Ghana (1990s) at a rate of 10% and 15%, there was no simultaneous production of energy (Rupp, 2013). The only available sources were three hydro sources: Akosombo, Kpong, and Bui (Owusu-Adjapong, 2018).

    This was worst, as there has been increasing use of electrical power amongst Ghanaians at a rate of almost 52% for more than ten years ‘10yrs’ (2006-2016) (Kumi, 2017; Kumi a., 2020); but Ghanaians were still mostly depending on the ‘Akosombo’ Dam and the Kpong Hydro electrical energy (Owusu-Adjapong, 2018; Kumi, 2017).

    Though in 1989 only 15%-20% of Ghanaians were using electricity (Owusu-Adjapong, 2018), residential consumption of electrical power alone rose by a difference of 9%; that is 45% (in 2005) to 54% by 2008 (Ghana R. , 2009). This continued until the commissioning of the 400MW Bui Dam in the later part of 2013 (Okyereh, 2019; Hausermann, 2018; Kumi, 2017).

    With these increasing demands above supply (Eshun, 2016), it is not surprising that the country was going through energy crisis in 2006 (Ghana R. , 2009) and 2007 (Ferdinand, 2015; Ghana R. , 2009); since the water level at the Akosombo Dam has also been reducing almost yearly due to low rain full (Kumi a., 2020; Kumi, 2017; Rupp, 2013). Despite that there has been a constant increased in the electrical energy consumption amongst all the class of consumers in Ghana since 2009 (Table 2). This alone can be enough to justify that the crisis was not introduced by Former President Mahama as claimed or politicized.

    Table 1: Yearly Supply and Consumption of Energy by Ghanaians, 2006-2013 (ktoe)

    Year OIL Natural Gas Hydro Wood Total
    2006 3,815 N.P 472 3,100 6,387
    2007 2,017 N.P 337 3,066 6,419
    2008 2,672 N.P 510 3,068 6,250
    2009 2,316 5 544 3,124 5,989
    2010 2,744 394 522 3,206 6,865
    2011 2,820 769 598 3,370 7,557
    2012 3,870 390 648 3,408 8,316
    2013 4,011 292 700 3,553 8,556

    Note: N.P stands for No Production. Source: EC., 2014.

    Table 2: Class of Electrical Power Consumers in Ghana (GWh)

    Year Residential Non-Residential Industrial Street Lights Total
    2009 2,418 884 2,921 184 6,407
    2010 2,738 966 3,156 264 7,124
    2011 2,761 1,041 3,900 274 7,976
    2012 2,803 1,153 4,153 315 8552
    2013 3,228 1,525 4,224 377 9355

    Source: (ECG., 2014)

    This continued increased consumption of electricity by Ghanaians is also confirmed by the Energy Commission of Ghana (ECG) in their statistical report for 2000-2013 (ECG., 2014); for both the yearly consumption (Table 1) and class of consumers (Table 2). This problem pushed his Excellency, Former President Kufour to start searching for alternative means of generating more power to take care of the problem; he therefore revisited the discovery of Bui Dam (1920) and the decision to construct it by cutting the sod (Kwame, 2007).

    Despite the new addition, the country reached her “Highest peak” on 29th December 2015; where citizens were demanding for electrical power more than supply (VRA, 2015; Eshun, 2016). Instead of seeing this as a collective national problem, it is politicized as a “Devil” that has been introduced in Ghana by Former President Mahama (Ghanaweb.com(a)., 2019)! In 2014, for example, rural electrification has jumped like a frog (from 6% in 1990) to approximately 50%, with urbanized areas electricity coverage of 75% to 85% (Trotter, 2016). This high demands for electricity is a reality confirms by the yearly records of higher peaks in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 13th November 2017 (VRA a., 2017; Eshun, 2016; VRA, 2015).

    The current report by the (ECG c., 2020) also revealed the same increasing trend in the way Ghanaians are demanding for electrical power (level of consumption) at an increasing rate of 4.3% annually (2018-2019). Though the industries have always been the leading consumers of electrical power; 4,380GWh (63%) in 2000 with residents using 2,026GWh (29.4%), the two top consumers have exchanged their positions in 2019 (ECG c., 2020).

    Residents’ consumption in 2019 has risen to 6,357GWh (45.6%), with the industries now using 4,242GWl (30.4%); and it is not because there has been a reduction in the industrial use of electricity as confirmed by the figure (ECG c., 2020). The increased residential use is a reflection of increased electricity coverage (ECG c., 2020; VRA a., 2017; Eshun, 2016; ECG., 2014) and continued population growth (ECG c., 2020; ECG., 2014).

    Though some NPP members still politicized the “Dumsor” as a problem introduced by Former President Mahama (Ghanaweb.com(a)., 2019), comments like: “No electricity, no vote” (Rupp, 2013) during the 2008 campaigns, confirm that the problem existed before his regime, due to the problems above.

  • The Politics of Who Solved Dumsor
  • Before, the NDC under Former President Mahama leaves office, the problem of dependence on the West Africa’s Gas Pipeline for oil which was costing the nation millions of dollars is eliminated (Jinapor a., 2018; Kumi, 2017; VRA b., 2016). This alone is something that he and the NDC should have been acknowledged for; since it contributed to the excess electricity that Ghana now produces (VRA a., 2017)! Though the excess is not encouraged, it is better than “Dumsor”; the amount of money we spend on the excess is lesser than buying gas always.

    This excess production of electrical energy has also been constantly over politicized though the NDC at the beginning told Ghanaians their intentions to increase the amount of electrical energy that is exported to neighboring nations (Larnyoh, 2020; Jinapor a., 2018). The Former President was always falsely accused as the cause of our problem as seen in 2015 (Laary, 2015) demonstration against “Dumsor” and (Ghanaweb.com(a)., 2019; CitinewsRoom., 2020).

    Under normal circumstances since he was blamed for the problem, he should have been honored for successfully solving it; since there are evidence that the problem has been solved (Kumi a., 2020; Jinapor a., 2018) with even excess energy production (Larnyoh, 2020; Jinapor a., 2018; Sarkodie, 2019). But our current President still claimed to be the one who solved “Dumsor” (Fullah, 2020; Gyamfi S. , 2020) and is falsely praised (Opoku a., 2020). These behaviors can generate anger since he is not the one who really solved the problem but is rather claiming that honor, as seen in (Gyamfi S. , 2020; Modernghana.com., 2020). Read: “Politicization of Ghana’s Energy Sector, Its Consequences” by the same author for detailed understanding.

  • Which Political Party Politicizes Issues of National Importance?
  • From observation, all political parties especially both major political parties in the country are guilty when it comes to politicization of issues of National Importance! Though the Bui Dam’s construction is an excellent move taken by His Excellency Former President John Agyekum Kufour, it was over politicized by some NDC members, like Solomon Nkansah, as a “Stupid project!” (Hausermann, 2018; Adomonline.com(a)., 2015).

    One of the strongest reasons that proof that the project is not “Stupid” was the fact that Ghanaians were going through “Electricity crisis” since ‘1982-1984, 1998-2000, 2006-2007’ (Kumi a., 2020; Hausermann, 2018; Kumi, 2017; Ferdinand, 2015). So the cutting of shod in 2007 for the construction of Bui dam (Kwame, 2007) is a very important project that should have been welcomed by all Ghanaians; but it was politicized.

    After the borders of the Black Volta were closed in 2008 (Statesman, 2008); everything from start to finish is done by the NDC under His Excellency Ex-President John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory (Al-Hajj, 2012) and Former President Mahama. Yet some NPP members still falsely accused Former President Mahama as the one who has brought the cancerous and devilish “Dumsor” into the country (Ghanaweb.com(a)., 2019).

    They claimed that dumsor is rather ended by President Akufo-Addo (Opoku a., 2020; Ghanaweb.com(a)., 2019) who has not yet added a single megawatt of electricity to our energy sector by then (Modernghana.com., 2020). Some even go to the extent of warning Ghanaians not to vote for Former President Mahama in the just ended elections, because he would re-introduce “Dumsor” when they vote for him (CitinewsRoom., 2020).

    This has forced one of Ghana’s popular celebrities or actresses who organized a campaign against “Dumsor” before the 2016 general elections to come out to debunk those false claims; adding that Former President Mahama is the one who rather solved the “Dumsor” problem but not the latter (Aryee a., 2020). What kind of politics is this? The one who solved our problem, because of political differences is rather seen as our problem! How?

    Despite all the wonderful achievements by NDC under Former President Mahama, a writer also still falsely accused him as the one who rather introduced “Dumsor” and did nothing about it (Opoku a., 2020). He poured false praises like rain water on President Akufo-Addo as the one who rather solved Ghana’s power problem, though the Former President performed far better than him; as seen clearly in the neutral reports of (IRENA, 2020), (ECG c., 2020; ECG a., 2018; ECG d., 2016), (IAEA., 2018) and (VRA a., 2017; VRA b., 2016; VRA, 2015).

    The President himself, though he knows that “Dumsor” is solved by his Predecessor, still chose to politicize it as revealed by (Yordoso, 2020; Jinapor a., 2018). His Vice who was giving a presentation on the measures that government is taking to curb the COVID-19 Pandemic in the country, suddenly turned the topic into “Dumsor” politics (Happy a., 2020). The surprising aspect is that he himself has acknowledged that the power problem of the country is solved by Former President Mahama (Fullah, 2020; Gyamfi S. , 2020), but added that he does not need to be given any credit for that.

    Upon confirming this, he still claimed that the Former First Gentleman is “Incompetent” (Ayamga b., 2020; Obour, 2015). This is where the true nature of politics is exposed! His reputation has being constantly defamed as an incompetent President who is being insulted by everyone as the cause of “Dumsor”! Even children insulted him whilst he was a sitting President; for no offense, but it was considered as normal (Febiri, 2015). With all his achievements in not only the energy sector and no evidence of crime or murder, he was still falsely and painfully tagged as a: "Bloody Flag Bearer” (Prah, 2019), which very insulting and painful.

  • Is the Energy Sector of Ghana Bad?
  • Despite the politicization which is masking achievements of political opponents, especially Former President Mahama, Ghana is amongst the best countries in Africa which are offering good electrical services to their citizens. Though she is not doing all that well in renewable energy currently, she is ranked amongst the First Top Ten Nations in Africa in renewal energy production (IRENA, 2020). These figures also show that Ghana still has potential of adding more energy to our national grid from renewal sources if she so wish.

    Though Ghana’s major electrical power is from hydro sources (Owusu-Adjapong, 2018), with the current excess production of electrical power (Sarkodie, 2019; Larnyoh, 2020) she still has the potentials of producing more sustainable electricity from available renewable sources and others. From observation, using her available natural resources, Ghana is capable of providing electrical power for the whole Africa if there is financial support to do that.

  • CONCLUSION
  • Do not politicize any issue of national importance! Let us learn from these past experiences to help us know when to play our usual politics and when we can have a common mind/interest for the interest of the nation and the world. Belonging to a political party is not an end to having a neutral mind on issues of national importance.

  • Recommendations or Suggestions
  • For my recommendations or suggestions, wait for a book on these issues!

    Thank you for Reading

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