Written by Enimil Ashon - With much reluctance and tonnes of apology to my self-appointed advisors, I have, this week, had to return to the latest Ghanaian word to enter international lexicon - ‘Dumsor’. That brings to three the number of words Ghana has contributed to universal language, the other two being “Kwashiorkor” and “Azonto”.
With reluctance, I say, because I made a promise to my self-imposed advisors that I would not dabble in “politics” again. To them, this may sound disobedient but I still don’t understand how else to express my frustration with these intolerably long periods of darkness.
Is it politics to expect people who have been elected to solve problems to do so? Is it politics to feel used and insulted by a Minister of Petroleum who, after failing to meet a deadline, turns round to make me feel that I do not know what a power barge does or does not do?
So call it politics or not, I ask: Has President Mahama demanded from the Minister of Petroleum who it was in whichever barge manufacturing company anywhere in the world who promised him (just after his appointment) that Ghana’s power barge was to dock in Ghana by the end of April 2015? Or was it an assurance from one of the Ministry’s technocrats? If it was, did the minister demand to see proof before he faced the press to make the promise?
Power barges may or may not solve all of our energy problems, I grant. My question, however, is: If barges are not as critical to the energy crisis as the minister tried (post-April 2015) to make us think, why did he make the promise at all?
What sort of ministers are running this country who get easily offended when the public demands accountability? Ayariga calls the media questioning of the Black Stars performance “foolish”. The Petroleum Minister thinks that artistes have no right to demand a stop to ‘Dumsor’ just because their works are not international; that he doesn’t see the works of Ghanaian artistes at international galleries in New York or Brussels or Paris. My God, what thinking!
Back to “politics”. I ask if it is politics to ask to be told the exact nature of the problem facing our electricity? President Mahama says it has nothing to do with money – and it looks like it’s the truth, because he has proved that there is money in Ghana, enough to do Eastern Region roads; enough to pay the fees of all day students in the country, etc!
So what really is the problem with our power? The narrative used to be that “the Nigerian gas workers are on strike”; then it changed to “damage to the pipeline carrying the gas from Nigeria to Ghana”. After that, I do not know…
Yes, “the President is fixing the problem”. He himself has said so on more occasions than one. I also remember the Petroleum Minister’s second promise that Dumsor would be over by January 2016. On that promise, you can bet your bottom dollar; after all, it will be election year. But, in the meantime, is there nothing in all of God’s world that can offer a respite to long-suffering Ghanaians – some short-to-medium term solution? Factories and small-time businesses are closing down merely because they have made the “mistake” of depending on electricity.
When I saw my cousin who, until recently was doing so well as a manufacturer, my heart got broken. Almost penniless. He was a sorry sight. Dumsor has closed his factory! Is it politics to even cry?
Seth Terkper still at post
Just at the time of sending this column to the Editor of the Daily Graphic, news came in denying that Seth Terkper’s oversight of the Finance Ministry was history. I maintain that he does not have to be fired; he has to resign. Managing an economy is not the building of roads and bridges and classrooms. It is getting the cedi to hold its own against powerful currencies. It is keeping the interest rate low. It is getting factories running. The economy of Ghana is failing and the man in charge must concede. This is no politics. It is survival.
‘No school - no driver’s licence’?
On the face of it, the new Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) law demanding ‘Ability To Read’ as a condition for the granting of a driver’s licence makes sense. However, I have observed enough to disagree that the “No School-No Licence” threat is a solution.
Stopping in the middle of the road in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tema to pick passengers even as motorists behind blare their horns is not the act of an uneducated person. Speeding on the Accra-Kumasi, Accra-Kwahu road and on the Apam Junction-Winneba Junction stretch, especially during Christmas and Easter, is nothing less than the act of a man desperate for quick money to prove to his relations back in the village that he is not useless, after all.
The reprehensible and senseless acts of irresponsible behaviour by our intra-city commercial drivers is a district or metropolitan assembly problem. Just as structures in water courses which we overlooked over the years have suddenly become the nation’s worst nightmare, so will this intolerable behaviour of our commercial drivers become monsters which will, with time, devour all of us, especially our children crossing the streets after school.
- See more at: http://www.graphic.com.gh/features/opinion/44883-the-president-is-doing-something-about-it.html#sthash.0yGClo4h.dpuf
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