Prez Mahama Is The Best President In Tackling Ghana’s Recurring Energy Crisis After Nkrumah

While the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and their acolytes in the civil society may be embarking on a series of protests in the coming days over the hydra-headed energy challenges facing the country currently, the central issues that come to mind are: How did the problem suddenly became intractable and who among our leaders since independence has put down elaborate and long-lasting measures to deal with the root cause of the problem and resolve it once and for all.

Undoubtedly, available data show that two leaders stand above everybody in dealing with the problem since independence, and these leaders are Presidents Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and John Dramani Mahama.

The striking similarities between the two Presidents are that both have approached the problems with fortitude, foresight and open mind.
President Nkrumah in response to the energy challenges of his time, and despite the overwhelming opposition from his political opponents built the Akosombo dam.

At that time, the Akosombo dam was producing 588MW of hydro-power when Ghana with a population of just 6m people and much lesser economy was using just about 100MW.

With these investments in the Akosombo dam, the nation became self-sufficient in electricity for a very long time.

President Mahama on his part, when he came face to face with the problem after taking over the mantle of leadership of the country in January 2013, also devised a long-term strategy of solving the problem in its entirety and not scratching on the surface.

After working frenetically to complete the almost $1bn Atuabo plant bequeathed to him by his mentor and late President, Prof Mills, President Mahama has put into motion the ambitious mission of adding a staggering 3000MW to the current installed capacity of power to push the total capacity to almost 5000MW and bridge the medium to long term gaps.

Before that, he has already completed arrangement for emergency power barges that have the capacity of about 1000MW.

These emergency barges include power ships, and their mission is to resolve the current short term challenges the nation faces.

The opposition NPP and their allies in the political poker game have upped their ante, giving President Mahama sleepless nights with their destructive criticisms.

Coincidentally, it was the political ancestors of the current NPP that gave President Nkrumah ceaseless nightmare when he was building the Akosombo Dam.

These are the members of the nation’s political right-wing with many hardliners who think that any-thing good comes from them and they must always rule.

Strikingly, it was the NPP and their political forefathers who have nothing to show in terms of achievement in the energy sector and The aL-hAJJ will soon prove that.

President Mahama, from all indications, has so far taken their destructive criticisms in his own stride and has remained focused in trying to break the energy jinx that preceded his administration and that has created so much harm and destruction to the citizens of this country, their businesses and their economy.

However, Mr. Edward Kufuor, the soft-spoken son of former President Kufuor has broken ranks with the NPP, a party his father led as President for eight years; between 2001 to 2009.

Speaking on the Accra-based Starr Fm, Mr Edward Kufuor stunned the listeners especially members of his father’s party and presumably his party too when he said Ghanaians needed to be patient with President Mahama and give him ample time to resolve the stubborn energy crisis which obviously predates his government.

According to Edward Kufuor, Ghanaians must be patient with the Mahama administration over the erratic power situation in the country.

“It’s unfortunate but I’m looking at it from a different perspective, my dad has been there during his time, so sometimes, yes, you expect that when voted into power; people should expect accountability, so yes, they are like the government, the government, the government, but I also feel you know, we should give him a chance to work it out” the former President’s son who is also an actor stated.

speaking on the Starr Drive on Wednesday February 11, 2015, Edward Kufuor jumped to the defence of President Mahama saying, he understands what he (President Mahama) might be going through given his father’s experience in a similar position during his term.

“When the problem comes, yes, they expect you to work it out, but give him a chance. I’ve seen my dad, that’s why I’m also compassionate. I’ve seen my dad 2 and 3am with his chin in his palm. So I can imagine what President Mahama is going through.

“We want to have it resolved but you know, Ghanaians, we are a little intolerant when it comes to things like this…we are like; do magic, if you can’t do magic, ‘Moko aya ni Moko aba’ (exit the seat for someone else)… but I’m hopeful that this can be resolved because it affects every sphere of our lives,” he said.

Again, on the same Starr Fm, the minister of state, Mr Rashid Pelpuo said the blue print put down by President Mahama to resolve the energy problem will not only achieve the desire result but would also surpass that of his predecessors.

According to the Starr fm, Minister of State in charge of private-sector development and public private partnerships, Rashid Pelpuo has said the John Mahama administration will be the best, among all the Presidents Ghana has had since Independence, in tackling the country’s recurrent power crisis.

Ghana has been experiencing serious challenges with its power sector for the past few years resulting in hardships on businesses and domestic consumers.

Between 440 and 650 Megawatts of power is shed during off-peak and peak periods due to the supply shortfall, a situation which has resulted from poor water level in three hydro-electric power stations – Akosombo, Bui and Kpong – as well as faulty equipment, lack of gas from the West Africa Gas Pipeline for thermal power production as well as lack of funds to buy light crude oil.

Government is now raising funds to bring in some emergency power barges from Turkey to help the situation.

There are reports government has had to fall on the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide funds for that purpose.

The main opposition New Patriotic Party has flung jabs at the Government for failing to deal with the situation.

But the Wa Central lawmaker told Ibrahim Alhassan of Starr News the power crisis is not peculiar with the Mahama Government, adding the situation has persisted since Independence in 1957.

“When we have a dry season and the volume of water reduces then the whole cycle starts again…and people are crying. That’s why from Nkrumah to date, every government has suffered ‘dumsor’, and every government has suffered a challenge.

“Thankfully it does appear to me, and it’s true that the John Mahama administration is going to be the best of all these governments in tackling the challenges of our electricity demand and production because the challenge has posed its own responses and the responses are massive and you can see the combination of efforts,” Pelpuo said.

He said: “In the end, we will have more other sources of energy than the hydro we have depended on all these years. And by 2016, the expectation is that we will get close to having 5,000 Megawatts, and if that happens that would have been the best ever in the history of this country that one single administration, within four years, has achieved such a feat.”

Many experts, including the new Power Minster, Dr. Kwabena Donkor have consistently raised the hopes of the suffering people of this nation that the light is at the end of the tunnel in the moves towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.

In a recent encounter with the press, the new minister for Power, Dr. Kwabena Donkor was categorical on the Mahama administration’s unrelenting vigour and commitment to resolve the hard-hitting energy crisis with a workable and plausible blueprint that would all remove doubts in the minds of even the most ruthless cynics and the critics of the administration.

“Our primary focus however, is to address the short term challenges without losing focus on our medium term development plans.

“To this end the Ministry is working on different Emergency Power arrangements to shore up the supply situation. These arrangements will eventually increase our generation capacity by about 1,000MW in the short term and ultimately provide us the platform to pursue the medium to long term solutions. We are hopeful that these measures will stabilize the situation.