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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

"Dumsor" Problem Was Solved By Acheampong

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
May 17, 2015

In 1998, that is seventeen years ago, when I first visited Ghana to bury the mortal remains of my late mother, after nearly thirteen years of residing in the United States, the erratic power supply wracking the country presently was in full swing. By the time that the Ghana Airways plane ferrying the mortal remains of my mother touched down at the Kotoka International Airport, there was absolute darkness. The airport personnel directing our plane on the tarmac was using flashlights.

What is important to note here is the grim fact that in 1998, the National Democratic Congress, even as now, was the ruling government. And that government was led by the obnoxiously self-righteous Mr. Jerry John Rawlings, then in power as the "democratically" elected President of the august Republic of Ghana. And today, as of this writing, it is the National Democratic Congress that is still in power. This time, however, the ruling party is led by Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Mr. Rawlings' former Minister of Communications. And so it is rather nauseatingly amusing to hear former Rawlings Chief-of-Staff Nana Ato Dadzie smugly assert that "Dumsor" originated with the I. K. Acheampong-led junta of the so-called National Redemption Council (NRC), subsequently to morph into the so-called Supreme Military Council (SMC-I) - (See "'Dumsor' Problem Started From Acheampong's Regime[,] Not From 2012 - Ato Dadzie" 5/16/15).

It is not clear exactly what point Mr. Dadzie is trying to make, because during the six fleeting years that Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong held the reins of governance, he added the Kpong Hydro-Electric Power Plant onto the national energy grid. The man who callously, unconscionably and summarily executed Gen. Acheampong by firing squad, Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, would not add any significantly onto Akosombo and Kpong until near the very end of his twenty-year tenure when the situation was decidedly out of hand.

In other words, "Dumsor" is far more the unique creation of the National Democratic Congress than it is the handiwork of any other postcolonial Ghanaian government over the past forty years! And what is more, during the course of the effective domination of Ghanaian politics by the Provisional/National Democratic Congress (P/NDC), the population of the country had more than doubled its size and energy-consumption capacity than was the case under the Acheampong regime. Is Nana Ato Dadzie, therefore, implying that since the "Dumsor" crisis did not begin under the watch of the current NDC government, Presidnt John Dramani Mahama cannot be aptly faulted for exhibiting a gross lack of progressive and competent leadership in resolving this Stygian mess?

The fact of the matter is that President Mahama has had nearly three years under his watch to come up with an effective solution to the crisis. Instead, the former NDC-MP for Gonja-West has only demonstrated an unparalleled appetite for wasteful spending of taxpayers' money for political self-entrenchment. And "Dumsor" is only one front of a national development effort on which Mr. Mahama has demonstrated gross and criminal leadership incompetence. The equally critical areas of education and healthcare have fared no better. Recently, for example, Ghana was ranked last among some 76 countries for the quality of its public education by the globally renowned think-tank called the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

As usual, some local commentators and critics in the pay of the Mahama government wasted no breath and time in highlighting the fact that oil-rich Ghana was among the poorest of the nations ranked by the OECD think-tank. The main problem with "Dumsor" is that pathological cynics like Nana Ato Dadzie have made a lucrative venture out of defending the patently indefensible come rain or shine. And, by the way, Mr. Ato Dadzie, let the name and spirit of Mr. I. K. Acheampong Rest-In-Peace!