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Opinions of Thursday, 14 July 2016

Columnist: Asare Adei

Prez Mahama and his government make you sick

Indeed when you look at the myriads of difficulties and hardships that the era of President Mahama and members of his government have brought upon this country through the energy crisis popularly referred to as dumsor alone, and you listen to them explaining away their failures, and clear cases of incompetence, mismanagement and corruption, you get sick.

I don’t know who in this country, besides President Mahama himself and his functionaries, and of course the others among the citizenry - who have sold their good judgment for pittance or perhaps selfish fortunes, is not sick and tired of the daily excuses from this government and their communicators over why dumsor continues to take away our livelihoods!

Last week Wednesday, July 6 2016, as load shedding intensified, the President was crowing on national TV that, ‘We are not declaring load shedding. What difference would it have made if the President had declared load shedding? It perhaps would even have helped us plan our activities better, but the President as usual would do his politics with such a dire situation.

From the two nights until the President made that declaration not to declare load shedding, I had had two nights of power cuts. And while I was still listening to him on the prime time news as he addressed his audience, our Muslim brothers, who are all witnesses of the power situation in the country, I had another power cut, making it three nights of power cuts in succession.

This week, for the past three days, I have had power cut each day. Yesterday, the power was out from about 7am and came back on around 9pm, but only for a few minutes, and went off again until I was asleep. So what was the President talking about saying: We shall not declare load shedding?

Whether or not he had declared load shedding, we were and still are suffering the pangs of load shedding anyway. So he should not run away from the fact that he has failed to even manage the power crisis we face let alone fix it as he promised he would.

Is it not irritating that for most part of the past three or so years, we have had to endure two days of power outage in every three days! This works up to three days of having power out of every ten days which means for one whole year we have power for only four months!

Yes four months! Four months of energy in one whole year! Imagine the loss of revenue and time and the stress for businesses and individuals alike. And the government that brought this upon us would not show remorse, and bow down their heads in shame, but would still look us in the face and say they deserve our votes, and even our praise!

They have the effrontery to even go to the extent of telling us we would even be ‘foolish’ not to vote for them! For them it is all about their votes! Certainly, in this regard, I will be proudly ‘foolish’ come election day and I know majority of Ghanaians will join me in my folly to vote against this incompetent government. Because what sense will it make for me to rise up in the morning and spend my day going to vote for a government that has caused me so much agony and hardship.

To my ‘foolish’ mind I think that will be very much unwise, and perhaps foolish in some sense. This government has failed woefully to tackle our problems as a nation and they need be told off and booted off! Sure I am mad. But the whole nation should be mad with me.

From the very onset it was evident that the West African Gas Pipeline was refusing to supply us gas to power our energy generating plants due to our indebtedness to them. Yet, instead of government redeeming the debts to ensure the country’s credit worthiness they were rather busy negotiating energy deals at outrageous costs to the state and dissipating hundreds of millions of Ghana cedis through fraudulent funds established for the sole aim of lining their own pockets, like SADA.

The result? Up to today, we have still not been able to redeem even 10% of what we owe our gas suppliers. So, we have AMERI and KARPOWER and what have you, but our problems are still with us too. We still can’t afford to fuel our plants to generate energy for our needs and government continues to give us flimsy excuses. Are we not fed up!

Did you hear the President screaming himself hoarse saying he had directed that we maintain a month’s stock of light crude oil so we would not run out of crude to fire our plants next time? How did that make you feel? It made me really sick.

I thought we used to keep a buffer of three months stock before the NDC took over office. Now, for whatever reasons we are doing Just-in-time (JIT) purchases and it has to take the President giving some orders before we hold buffer stock. We are joking. When as a government you have failed to do what is needful to deliver energy to the citizenry to fuel their daily creative activities and businesses for growth, is it any wonder that the unemployment numbers continue to rise, with our hardships hitting the roof?

Yet, funny enough, instead of doing some introspection and admitting to their part in the suffering of the populace, you have functionaries of this government and sometimes the President as well, claiming that we are only suffering the ripples of some kind of a global hardship. Do we have a global power crisis too? I ask. Why don’t they say that there is a world power crisis which has suddenly hit us? I insist that all our present problems are local; the President and his incompetent administration brought them upon us. Lack of energy and wanton corruption are the twin evils that have brought us to our knees and this government must own up to it.

But no, they won't. The President is going round the country telling everyone he has eliminated Kufuor’s gallons. I can’t but shake my head. We may not have Kufuor’s gallons today but what we have is worse. We have Mahama dumsor; we have Mahama light bills, Mahama no-allowances, Mahama corruption, Mahama SADA, Mahama GHEEDA?and many more sad situations.

You may want to add ‘Mahama Ford’. What am I trying to say? We are not interested in what former President Kufuor did or did not do, we are concerned and worried about our energy situation which seems to have brought this country to a standstill.

And we need President Mahama to at least manage it for us as his predecessors did, since it is clear he cannot fix it! It has to be said. We are fed up with the excuses. We have had it. It’s enough!