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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Ask Your Icon Rawlings, Ras Mubarak

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
May 10, 2015

I am often loath to be forced to stoop so low as to debate Mr. Ras Mubarak, the wet-eared Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA). Unfortunately, the worst option would be for me to keep silent and allow this milk-toothed rascal to get away with trading abject falsehoods for factual historical reality. The fact of the matter is that the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to which Mr. Mubarak belongs, has been in power for most of the last half-century of Ghana's postcolonial history. And so it is criminally disingenuous for the uppity young man to cavalierly assert that the raging problem of erratic power supply in the country stems from the failure of governments that came after President Kwame Nkrumah to do long-term thinking about the country's energy needs (See "Dumsor: Feel Free To Vote Against Us - Ras Mubarak" / 5/10/15).

It may be instructive for Mr. Mubarak to learn that during the fleeting 6 years that then-Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong occupied the helm of the country's affairs as a junta leader, the man who was summarily executed by the NDC's founding father, then-Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, added the Kpong Hydro-Electric Power Plant to the Akosombo Dam, then the sole source of the country's energy supply. Acheampong would also cause the construction of the nation's largest housing-estate project. At the time of its construction, largely by employees of the State Construction Corporation (SCC), the Dansoman Estates Project was the largest of its kind in the entire West African sub-region. And what is even more significant, Ghana had yet to stike oil in commercial quantities. The Acheampong-led National Redemption Council (NRC), later Supreme Military Council (SMC-I), would also build substantive real-estate housing projects in each and every one of the ten regional capitals of the country.

Alas, for all his yeomanly dynamism and progressive-mindedness, Acheampong, then effectively stripped of his military title of general and thoroughly humiliated with an edict making it criminal for any Ghanaian to address the former head-of-state by any other title other than "Mister," and having been put under house arrest by his second-in-command, then-Lt.-Gen. F. W. K. Akuffo, would be taken out of his home village of Atwima-Trabuom and summarily executed by firing squad by the Rawlings-led Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta.

Now, let Mr. Mubarak tell the world what kind of long-term thinking Mr. Rawlings and his associates did during the 20 protracted years that they effectively held the country hostage with their tandem governments of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Well, get this, Mr. Mubarak, in the eight years that the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) held the reins of democratic governance, the adherents and scions of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Tradition added Ghana's second-largest hydro-electric power plant, the $600 million Chinese-sponsored Bui Dam, to the national power grid. Now let Mr. Mubarak tell Ghanaians and the rest of the world what quantity of voltage Mr. Rawlings and his two long-reigning governments added to Ghana's energy-supply system; as well, at what point during his tenure and the billions of dollars of IMF-World Bank loans, did Mr. Rawlings and his cronies begin doing any serious long-term thinking about the need to synch the country's level of energy supply with its rapidly expanding population and industrial development.

We must also point out that during most of Mr. Rawlings' tenure, the now-President John Dramani Mahama was a rising star and a key operative of the Rawlings administration. And so it is not as if the former NDC Communications Minister just emerged out of the underworld into a rude realization of the fact that the country's energy generation and supply system had been long and unduly neglected. Mr. Mahama has been a bona fide member of the kleptocratic Rawlings posse that got the rest of us this abysmally far behind. Then also, it need not be forgotten that it was the Rawlings-led PNDC government that effectively destroyed Ghana's seminal industrial sector, otherwise known as GIHOC, the Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation.

Mr. Mubarak also rather absurdly claims that the worst thing that could happen to the Mahama government is for Ghanaian voters to exercise their franchise against the ruling National Democratic Congress, come December 2016. Well, the young man may do himself a lot of good by asking his icon, Togbui Avaklasu I, what the then-thirty-something-year-old hot-headed stomach-revolutionary did to the Hilla (Babini) Limann-led democratically elected government of the People's National Party (PNP). Don't push your luck too hard, Mr. Mubarak!