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03.05.2007 Politics

Blame Energy Crisis On 1966 Coup - Pratt

The Publicity Chairman of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Mr Kwesi Pratt Jnr, has blamed the current energy crisis confronting the country on the overthrow of Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in 1966.

He said the government of Dr Nkrumah installed a Soviet-made nuclear plant at Kwabenya, near Accra, to provide an alternative source of energy but his dreams were cut short following the dismantling of those nuclear reactors by the leaders of the then United Party for the American Government.

Mr Pratt was contributing to the monthly Socialist Forum of Ghana debate in Accra. It was on the theme: “The Current Energy Crisis and the Way Forward.”

He said on February 24, 1966, Soviet engineers arrived in the country and moved to Bui to begin the construction of the Bui Dam but Nkrumah's overthrow jettisoned all those plans he had for the country's energy supply system.

“These very elements who are ruling the country today are the very people who toppled the Nkrumah-led CPP administration and yet they are pretending to be finding solutions to the energy crisis,” Mr Pratt said.

He said the seven-year development plan the CPP administration developed foresaw the problems that were likely to crop up in the energy sector and, therefore, decided to build several other dams on the Volta River.

He said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government had mismanaged the energy sector so much so that if it were to lose power today, it would leave a debt in the energy sector which far exceeded the current debt incurred by the Tema Oil Refinery, which stood at about $535 million.

“This is a monumental policy failure and a manifestation of extreme recklessness on the part of this government,” he said.

He said a 2006 World Bank report which an Accra newspaper published indicated to the government a year in advance that the country would be generating less than 50 per cent of the country's power requirements and yet the government refused to act on that report.

The CPP stalwart, who took a swipe at the government, said it was irresponsible for government functionaries to attribute the energy crisis to the lack of sufficient rains to feed the Akosombo Dam.

“Our intellectual class in this country are part of the problem. They are unable to stand up to our leaders to tell them the truth in the face,” he fumed.

“All this is happening because our so-called intellectual class are enjoying booties from this government and, therefore, speaking out would mean risking losing their luxurious cars, their numerous trips abroad, among other selfish benefits,” he pointed.

Mr Pratt, who is also the Managing Editor of The Insight, expressed surprise at a recent newspaper report that the government was considering a new transport policy for the country, asking, “Why should the government wait after six years before considering such a policy?”

While blaming the government for mishandling the energy crisis, he did not leave out the opposition National Democratic Congress which he accused of using the problem to score political points, instead of proposing cogent alternatives to resolve the crisis.

Story by Sebastian Syme

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