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05.03.2021 Article

Politicization of Ghana’s energy sector: any consequence(s)?

By Benjamin Pulle Niriwa
Politicization of Ghana’s energy sector: any consequence(s)?
LISTEN MAR 5, 2021

INTRODUCTION

Politicization of issues of national importance is a red traffic light (Huth et al., 2015; Kerkhof et al., 2014) that only warns us; it does not solve our problem(s), but it rather creates division amongst citizens to multiply these problems (Fig. 1). The energy crisis which both major parties have been playing politics with (Asare-Donkor, 2015), is like violence or infectious diseases - COVID-19 that does not respect any party’s colors or personality (Niriwa b., 2021; Niriwa a., 2020). So, we must be responsible (Levy, 2019) with what we say, that does not politicize them.

It is very true that we need to always give: “Honor to whom honor is due” (Gyebi, 2021; Meyer & Schrems, 2016)! Using Abraham Lincoln’s quotes and the above, I will also say that a country that does not respect or honor her heroes/heroines, only lives to regret it (Miller, 2020). This is why the military do not joke with honoring cadres for exceptional conducts (Juma, 2021)!

Giving the achievements of others to wrong people can generate anger that leads to violence (Trasher & Handfield, 2018) and crimes like “Honor killings” (Gibbs et al., 2019; Kanchan et al., 2016; Elakkary et al., 2014; Kulczycki & Windle, 2011). It could also be one of the reasons why our politics of late is full of insults as revealed by (Niriwa b., 2021; Niriwa a., 2020). It promotes corruption, leads to rigging of elections, and also masks achievement(s) of political opponents. These can only be stopped with tolerance (Verkuyeten et al., 2019) and love.

General Crimes and Honor Killing as Consequences of Politicizing National Issues

Though honoring achievers (Gyebi, 2021; Meyer & Schrems, 2016) is very good because it motivates them and others to do more, it can be very dangerous if the rightful “Heroes/heroines” (Juma, 2021; Miller, 2020) are misplaced with wrong ones. The most dangerous of all are “Honor crimes” (Björktomta, 2019; Elakkary et al., 2014) or “Honor killings” (Gibbs et al., 2019; Kanchan et al., 2016; Kulczycki & Windle, 2011)! Because of time, I will talk mostly on honor killings which sounds or looks new to many people. Corruption is written as a full article on its own that would be published soon too. I am concentrating more on honor crimes or honor killings today because all the consequences lead to these two (violence).

A Brief Overview of Honor Killing: An “Honor killing” or murder is described as an “Honor killing” if the evil act is perpetuated by the perpetuators by killing/murdering a family member with the claim of washing away “Shame or dishonor” because he/she is perceived to have introduced “Shame or dishonor” into the family (Gibbs et al., 2019; Björktomta, 2019; Wikipedia., 2015; Bhogal, 2015). Even in the midst of COVID-19 Pandemic, there are reports of “Honor killings” and “Violence against women” in some nations like Iran (Pirnia et al., 2020).

There are countless cases of honor-associated crimes or killings globally, but the murder of some two Pakistani female family members just because they were seen in a leaked video kissing a 28-years old man, is an example (Jozuka & Saifi, 2020). Another example is the killing of 26 years old lady by her own mother and two brothers in the same Pakistan; because she did not marry the man that they want her to marry (DW., 2018).

In Pakistan alone, the Human Right Watch has reported an estimated 1000 killings per year that are based on honor (Jozuka & Saifi, 2020). This explains why honor killing is a serious issue that must be avoided! The increased involvement of family members in honor-based-violence, mostly disguised it as family problems or issues (Gibbs et al., 2019; Goldstein, 2002) and gender-based violence against women (Bhanbhro et al., 2016). But it is beyond that.

People killing to cover up family’s shame is revealed in the Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) report of Afghanistan where a little over half (56%) the identified cases were perpetuated by closed relatives (Gibbs et al., 2019; AIHRC., 2013). Out of these, husbands are leading with 39%, followed by brothers (15%), fathers (9%), brothers-in-laws (6%), other family members (5%), and 26% remaining ‘relatives’ (Gibbs et al., 2019; AIHRC., 2013). These increased family involvements than in other crimes, makes it looks as if it a family’s issues, but goes beyond that.

Religion, for example, plays a major role since most of those family members often act with respect to their religious beliefs about the perceived behavior (Beller et al., 2019). The same religious believes that are mostly attached to “Corporal punishment, CP” (Beller a. et al., 2019) are also applied in the practice of honor-associated-violence (Beller a. et al., 2019; Beller et al., 2019). Its definition by Wikipedia., (2015) as being perpetuated when one: “Has violated the principles of a community or a religion” shows that it is really not just a family issue.

Understanding the Signs of Political Honor Crimes and Honor Killings in Ghana

No one can say that it is a bad idea for any nation to honor her heroes/heroines (Miller, 2020)! The problem is when the said honor is being misplaced or given to the wrong person. Since the honor has been misplaced, naturally some God-fearing people would talk against that and they might be targeted as enemies (Puente, 2017); aimed at protecting such secrets or lies. This is the reason why honor violence or killing might set in, though it is mostly perceived as a family issue (Gibbs et al., 2019; Trasher & Handfield, 2018)! The reasons mostly given to support honor crimes or killings in the families are also applicable in all social relationships like religion (Beller a. et al., 2019; Beller et al., 2019), politics and so on.

Example when President Akufo-Addo is falsely praised as the one who ended “Dumsor” (Opoku a., 2020; Yordoso, 2020), Former President Mahama reacted. He challenged him to tell Ghanaians how many megawatts of electricity his government added, he and all NDC members were still insulted at the comment section by someone who claimed to be an “Oman Bapa” (Modernghana.com., 2020).

The reactions of some Ghanaians when Akufo-Addo himself claimed to be the one who ended “Dumsor” is another excellent example (Yordoso, 2020), not forgetting Lawyer Sammy Gyamfi’s reaction (Gyamfi, 2020).

If Ex-President Rawlings of blessed of memory, Former President Kufour, Ex-President Mills of blessed memory, and Former President Mahama does not need any credit for solving the problem, why is the credit given to someone who added zero (0) megawatt to our energy sector (Opoku a., 2020; Gyamfi, 2020) as at that time? Not even any of the Former Presidents who have contributed towards electrical power production for the past years!

Ghanaians could still remember how the NPP politicized this “Dumsor” and “Ebola” by organizing a demonstration in 2015 (Laary, 2015). In that demonstration measures that government was putting in place to prevent Ebola from getting into the country were also over politicized.

Mr. John Boadu is seen and heard saying: “We are holding government accountable for not only ‘Dumsor’ [erratic power supply], but mismanagement due to incompetence, which has led to this worse kind of power situation we are face in this country”. Then one of them added: “We need ‘dumsor’ centre and not Ebola centres because it is this energy crisis that is killing us” (Laary, 2015).

Yet when the problem is solved, the same government does not deserve any credit (Fullah, 2020)! They chose to politicize it again by willingly allowing some Ghanaians to sleep in darkness in order to create a false impression that, “Dumsor” is not solved: this is the reason why Hon John Jinapor was furious (Larnyoh, 2020).

This fact is confirmed when projects that have been completed and commissioned by the “Incompetent Government” (Obour, 2015) years before they left office, were commissioned again by President Akufo-Addo as his achievement in the energy sector; as seen in Gomoa West, (Jinapor a., 2018).

If ‘dumsor’ is not solved, why have they stopped their demonstration? Meanwhile, whilst most NPP members politicized “Dumsor” as being caused by Former President Mahama; the observation of World Bank in 2013 revealed that the electrical power crisis of Ghanaians is a “Misguided” problem due to “Failed” “Inappropriate policies” of 2006 -2007 (Quartey & Ametorwotia, 2017).

Former President Rawlings of blessed memory is well-known for his rural electrification project (GNA, 2021; Miescher, 2018; Trotter, 2016) that extended electrical power to most parts of Ghana. He commissioned the first Takoradi’s Thermal Plant (T1) of Electrical Power that can provide 330MW of electricity in 1999 (AfDBG., 2020).

Though some NDC members also claimed that Former President Kufour did not do anything, he has commissioned 206MW of electricity (126MW Tema Thermal 1 Power Plant and 80MW Mines Reserve Plant) in 2008 (VRA., 2010; VRA, 2015) and also facilitated the construction of the Bui Dam (Kwame, 2007).

What Do Experts Say about the Solved Energy Crisis in Ghana?

The reasons given by experts for why the power problem of Ghana is solved made mentioned of installation of power plants that can supply the required megawatts that the nation needs, the ability of the Ghana National Gas Company to locally produce their own gas to eliminate the dependence on the West Africa’s Gas Pipeline which was not regular (Kumi a., 2020).

In fact it was made clear that: “Installed generation capacity has more than doubled” (Kumi a., 2020; Kumi, 2017), form 2006-2016. Most of these and more were done during the tenure of the previous NDC administration under His Excellency Former President John Dramain Mahama, and Ghanaians can attest to this fact.

Who Really Solved Ghana’s Electrical Energy Crisis?

The fact that the “Dumsor” problem is solved by the Former First Gentleman is also confirmed by his Former Deputy Minister of energy when some regions of the country were still facing “Dumsor” without notifications and he was not happy with that (Larnyoh, 2020). He lamented why a government which has accused the predecessor of willingly signing for the country to over produce electrical power (Larnyoh, 2020; Nana., 2019; Sarkodie, 2019) is still allowing Ghanaians to sleep in darkness!

Ghana’s Finance Minister himself in a mid-year report 29th June 2019 also confirms that Ghana is producing excess electrical power greater than demanded by the citizens, a situation in which Ghana is paying “Between US$550 and US$850 million per year” for excess gas (Sarkodie, 2019; Larnyoh, 2020).

Yet, that “unannounced dumsor” that he was complaining about is still politicized by some writers who claimed that they are “evidence” to proof that Former President Mahama did not end the power problem (Boako, 2020). This politicization of our electrical energy problem is an open secret that has let to expressions like: “Playing ‘dumsor’ football” (Asare-Donkor, 2015; Speaking, 2015). Interestingly the NPP or those writers never told Ghanaians how many megawatt(s) of electricity they also added or what exactly they did! What are we doing to ourselves?

As far as the electricity problem of the country is concerned, if Ghanaians can still remember the Ameri, Karpower, KTPP, Asogli Phase 2 (Kasapa, 2018; VRA, 2015; VRA b., 2016) or more and even the Bui Dam are completed and commissioned by the NDC.

A President with vision, Former President Mahama, like our First President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, decided to let Ghana produce her own gas at Atuabo that can be used to power the “new thermal power generation” (Jinapor a., 2018; Kasapa, 2018; VRA b., 2016) installed by the NDC government at Takoradi to help sustainably supply electricity to Ghanaians and beyond. This is what has led to the over production of gas that the Finance Minister referred to in his report (Sarkodie, 2019).

This has saved the nation millions of dollars that would have been continuously spent on that, as confirmed by (VRA a., 2017) that they started using gas for energy production because it is cheaper. This has contributed to the drop of importing power in 2016 and 2017, according to the 56th Annual Report of (VRA a., 2017). Page ten (10) or (19 PDF) of the report by Energy Commission of Ghana for the years 2000 to 2013 shows a constant reduction in energy import with a simultaneous in increased in export, especially from 2009 to 2013 (ECG., 2014).

The intention of Ghana to export electrical power to other countries is an old ambition as revealed by (Owusu-Adjapong, 2018; Jinapor a., 2018)! Yet Former President Mahama and NDC is, excuse me to say, ignorantly criticized for signing for Ghana to produce energy in excess for which Ghanaians are paying extra but do not need it (Nana., 2019). An “Incompetent government” has the continued vision of exporting power and has worked toward that: a “Competent government” sees that as a problem and is playing politics with it!

The Former Deputy Energy Minister, alerting current government against PDS renegotiation bill, explained to Ghanaians the reasons why that deal was signed at the US Africa Leaders’ Summit on the 5th of August 2014. In his explanation it was made clear that: “Under the Power Compact, six projects were to be implemented to address the root causes of the unavailability and unreliability of power in Ghana” (Jinapor, 2019). It is therefore not out of order if the Former President tells President Akufo-Addo to explain to Ghanaians how he claimed to have solved “Dumsor” (Modernghana.com., 2020).

Using the reports of the Energy Commission of Ghana, VRA, and other literature; it is clear to see that Ghana has most expansion in the energy sector from 2009-2016, especially from 2013 to 2016 (IRENA, 2020; ECG a., 2018; Kumi, 2017; VRA b., 2016). In 2014 alone, the electricity sector has experienced an increased expansion of 16%, this is further increased to 19% expansion in 2015; so in just two years, there has been an increase of 35% expansion of Ghana’s electrical power (ECG a., 2018). Compared to previous years and now, most of the installed plants for electrical power production, especially thermal plants, were done during 2014 to 2016 (ECG a., 2018; Kusi, 2017; Eshun & Amoako-Tuffour, 2016; ECG b., 2015; ECG., 2014). A government like this, definitely, cannot be blamed and falsely accused for introducing “Dumsor”!

Table 1: History of Ghana’s Solar Energy Production, 2010-2018

Source: (IRENA, 2020)

Table 2: Total of Yearly Solar Energy Production of the World

Prod (GWh) 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total
World 101 788 137 649 192 792 252 358 325 680 438 034 1 448 301
Africa 1 174 866 2 141 3 430 5 387 7 363 20 361
1 South Africa 8 54 1 075 2 399 3 341 4 412 11 289
2 Algeria 193 193 198 162 339 560 1 645
3 Egypt 504 25 140 42 234 603 1 548
4 Reunion 190 224 236 245 260 257 1 412
5 Morocco 57 57 63 28 427 445 1 077
6 Namibia 21 27 31 39 57 108 283
7 Tunisia 8 13 24 39 70 112 166
8 Uganda 25 27 29 32 39 61 213
9 Rwanda 1 1 7 21 87 94 211
10 Mauritania 0 26 30 26 57 57 196
11 Kenya 5 11 25 47 49 58 195
12 Senegal 10 12 18 20 23 101 184
13 Mauritius 1 3 25 26 30 39 169
14 Mali 26 26 26 28 28 32 166
15 Tanzania 2 7 20 23 33 39 124

Source: (IRENA, 2020)

Aside these, Ghana also started producing solar energy for the first time in 2013 (with 3MW per year), this was increased more than ten (10) times (34MW per year) under Former President Mahama (IRENA, 2020) by the time he left office in 2016, as shown in Table 1 (Arrowed Gold). But though Ghana has started on a very good note in the production of solar energy, she is not amongst the Top Fifteen (15) solar energy producing countries in Africa, see table 2.

Ghana also started her first renewable energy production in 2011 (2011-2015) under Late President Mills of blessed memory, with Former President Mahama as his vice (VRA c., 2020; IRENA, 2020) after passing a “Renewable Energy Law” (IAEA., 2018; Owusu-Adjapong, 2018) that same year. But as all Ghanaians can testify, most of the works on this were done by his Excellency Former President John Dramani Mahama as can be seen in these (VRA c., 2020; IRENA, 2020; IAEA., 2018; Owusu-Adjapong, 2018).

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Conclusion: Life on earth is like a journey (Madry, 2019) that we are all making, full of interesting lessons that sometimes demand us to lower our speeds (Debnath et al., 2021; Barkham, 2016) at “curves” (Ariën et al., 2017), “potholes” (Fan et al., 2019) (Barkham, 2016) or “traffic lights” (Novak et al., 2020; Ahn & Chol, 2019). Some of these inevitable situations in life where we are forced to slow down is when the world is hid with infectious pandemics like HIV/AIDs (Reyes-Estrada et al., 2018), Tuberculosis (Tellier et al., 2019), Ebola (Jacob et al., 2020; Patel & Shah, 2020), and now COVID-19 (Logie & Turan, 2020). Amongst these inevitable situations in life, is violence too which could occur in so many ways especially through dirty politics; like the politicization of issues of national or international importance.

The constant politicization of Ghana’s energy sector is an excellent example of these dirty politics, and it is a red traffic light that is warning us. These politicizations can be likened to a driver playing with his/her phone in a red traffic light (Huth et al, 2015) instead of paying attention to avoid road accident (Labonté et al., 2019). The discriminations and stigmas caused by these politicizations cannot be compared to that of infectious disease like HIV (Reyes-Estrada et al., 2018) or COVID-19 (Logie & Turan, 2020). They are obstacles that do not allow some politicians and their supporters to love for peace (Matthew, 22:34-40. 1611. KJV).

So, behaviors like that further promote discrimination and stigma which are already global cancers that need serious solutions. Just as respect is very important in health (Beach et al., 2017) so is respect very important in politics too, but over politicization of issues especially issues of national or international importance creates disrespect reduced patriotism (Gangl et al., 2016). For the recommendations or suggestions, wait for a book on this.

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