Acheampong Solved Dumsor and then the P/NDC Executed Him by Firing Squad

Feature Article It was Acheampong who built the Akosombo-supplementary Kpong Hydroelectric Power Plant, the second-largest power plant at the time.
It was Acheampong who built the Akosombo-supplementary Kpong Hydroelectric Power Plant, the second-largest power plant at the time.

If, indeed, as the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority Caucus claims, the previous Mahama-led ragtag government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) resolved the admittedly perennial problem of Dumsor, that is, the erratic supply of electricity in the country, then how came it that the entire leadership of the country’s major opposition political party, including the Serial and the Dynastic Presidential Candidate of the latter political establishment, namely, Mr. John “STX” Dramani Mahama, have been heartily and euphorically celebrating the apparent relapse or return of Dumsor because, somehow, as they are now claiming, the sudden and the scandalous return of Dumsor has effectively leveled the proverbial political playing field in the runup to the watershed 2024 General Election? (See “Mahama Is the Only President in Ghana’s History Who Solved Dumsor – Minority” 5/6/24).

Mr. John Oti Bless, the Ranking Parliamentary Minority Member of the Government Assurances Committee, may be much too young to know and recognize the readily accessible and historically incontrovertible fact that the Rawlings-slain Gen. Ignatius Kwasi Kutu Acheampong was the only Head-of-State or Leader in postcolonial Ghanaian history who made any serious attempt to stabilize and actually significantly upgrade and improve the capacity of energy generation and supply in the country. The native of Trabuom village, in the Atwima District of the Asante Region, achieved the latter feat by constructing the Kpong Dam, downstream of the Volta River and not far from the Akosombo Dam, the largest hydroelectricity dam in Ghana. Until the construction of the Bui Dam by the President John “The Gentle Giant” Agyekum-Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (2001 to 2009), the Kpong Dam was also the second-largest hydroelectric power plant in the country. The Kpong Dam was intended to supplement the increasingly inadequate energy supply in the country generated by the criminally overpriced Kwame Nkrumah-constructed Akosombo Dam.

Now, what is not in doubt and cannot be glibly and cheaply argued away, by way of scoring cheap political points, as the leadership of the present main opposition National Democratic Congress has always done, is the fact that what has presently become known as Dumsor has been largely due to the fact that during the 30 years, or so, that the Rawlings-led junta of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), so-called, and the faux-civilianized and faux-democratic and veritably populist National Democratic Congress (NDC) effectively wielded the reins of power in Ghana, little to absolutely nothing was done to significantly augment the power generation and supply capacity in the country, even as Ghana’s population doubled and tripled, and the acute need for power supply, for both domestic and industrial uses, exponentially increased.

For the PNDC junta, in particular, the main focus and the political agenda was the hermetic entrenchment of the Rawlings-Tsikata Anlo-Ewe Diarchy in the seat of power. Consequently, the bulk of the fiscal resources of the country was invested in the importation of small munitions for the development of our national security apparatus and the longevity of Anlo-Ewe political supremacy, almost to the complete neglect and the detriment of the socioeconomic development of the country at large. The second most significant effort of any postcolonial Ghanaian leader vis-à-vis the upgrading of the energy-generation capacity of the country was, of course, President John “The Gentle Giant” Agyekum-Kufuor, who initiated and oversaw most of the construction of the Bui Dam Project, upstream of the Volta River, with full financial backing from the Chinese Government at an estimated cost of $600 million (USD).

Unfortunately, however, while the Bui Dam has been estimated to have a power-generation capacity of just under half of the magnitude of energy generated by the Akosombo Dam, the construction of the Bagre Dam in neighboring Burkina Faso, Ghana’s immediate northern neighbor, by the French Government, has significantly impeded the flow and the level of the Volta River whose source originates in Burkina Faso, thus almost effectively rendering the Bui Dam a proverbial white-elephant. This has, in turn, significantly impacted the power generation capacity of the Akosombo and the Kpong dams, further compounded by the deleterious effects of Global Warming which has caused the seasonal water levels of the Volta River to fluctuate significantly and erratically during the dry season, especially at the height of the seasonal droughts. Which is why, presently, the focus of power generation has dramatically shifted from hydroelectricity, a relatively much cheaper source of energy, to thermal power generation, a much more expensive source of energy. All the preceding has, of course, been primarily due to the woeful lack of visionary leadership foresight by the present crop and generation of Ghanaian leaders.

At any rate, smugly and glibly asserting that the twice-defeated, one-term President “European Airbus Payola” Dramani Mahama had definitively resolved the erratic power supply prior to handing over the democratic reins of governance to the now-President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, clearly flies in the face of objective reality, in view of the fact that even as late as December 31, 2015, when the custom-tailored Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, who had proudly boasted about his ability to resolve the vicissitudes of Dumsor within a year, was forced to resign by a politically desperate President Mahama, it was primarily because, in the words of both Messrs. Mahama and Donkor, the latter National Democratic Congress-sponsored Member of Parliament for Pru-East Constituency, in the Akufo-Addo-created Bono-East Region, had scandalously failed to live up to his chest-thumping promise.

Which is why Mr. Oti Bless’ assertion that by the end of his heavily Dumsor-inflected tenure, a seismically defeated President Mahama had not only definitively resolved Dumsor but was actually generating about 83-percent of Ghana’s energy requirements, can only be deliberately aimed at cynically insulting the intelligence of the Ghanaian citizenry, mindlessly hoping that such whole-cloth of mendacity would convince some politically amnesiac and unsuspecting Ghanaian voters to cast their ballots in favor of the one Fourth Republican Ghanaian leader under whose grossly incompetent tenure more Ghanaian entrepreneurs lost their businesses and livelihoods than at any other time in Ghana’s 67-year-old postcolonial history.

Now, would John Oti Bless also claim that by the end of his indescribably chaotic four-and-half-year tenure, President Mahama had also been able to protect 83-percent of all Ghanaian enterprises from complete collapse? Come on, put on your thinking caps, Mr. Oti Bless and his National Democratic Congress’ Abongo Boys and Girls!

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
May 6, 2024
E-mail: [email protected]