Tag: John Dramani Mahama


Ghana Government seeks new dawn for struggling power sector

Ghana’s new government is looking to fix a crippling power crisis with a complete overhaul of its deficit-ridden energy sector including a boost for solar energy.

Intermittent power supply issues have dogged the west African nation since the 1980s and became particularly acute in the last five years — although there has been some improvement recently.

President Nana Akufo-Addo blames his predecessor John Dramani Mahama whose energy policies, he said last month, had led to “gargantuan debt”.

Ghana’s energy sector was crushed by an accumulated debt of $2.4 billion, he said, as the cost of buying in fuel, paying energy suppliers and running inefficient state companies spiralled out of control.

Its bad financial situation “constitutes the single major hurdle to Ghanaians enjoying reliable and affordable electricity supply”, he said last month in his first State of the Nation address.

Improvements in the provision of power were seen in the run-up to December’s election but Akufo-Addo said the challenges within the sector were far from over and high costs were a major stumbling block.

Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) has now begun to develop a new electricity masterplan, which also includes possibly listing state-owned power generation and supply companies on the stock exchange.

Such asset sales would not only move the underperforming utilities off the government’s books, but private ownership may well make them more efficient, experts say.

This year’s budget also included ambitious plans for renewable energy to provide two to three percent of supply to the national grid and, in addition, develop 38,000 solar-powered homes in “off-grid” communities.

– Here comes the sun –

Harnessing the power of Africa’s most abundant free resource — the sun — to provide electricity has long been a challenge for governments across the continent.

In Ghana there are hopes that more people will sign up to a 500-watt solar panel scheme started under Mahama for homes and businesses. The panels come free, but takers must still foot start-up costs of around $1,500.

The Energy Commission wants to see 200,000 such systems installed, but the scheme’s coordinator, Kenneth Appiah, says since it was launched in February last year only 409 units have been installed.

Among those who have received the panels — each installation is worth about $450 — is accountancy lecturer Daniel Nkrumah-Afyeefi.

He said the programme was a good starting point to get his home off the grid and he planned to add more panels to lower food refrigeration costs and avoid hot, sleepless nights.

“When you live in a place like Accra and you need to store food items, when power runs off and on like that some of the things get spoiled,” he told AFP.

“You tend to be buying as and when you eat, and that ends up increasing your cost of purchasing food items.”

– Business suffers –

Ghana has seen four different power crises since 1982 due to low water levels in the country’s dams, said Ishmael Ackah, head of policy at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy.

In 1997, the country began using thermal energy to complement hydro-electric power but struggles to keep its power stations going at full capacity, as the economy grows and demand increases.

Nigeria has been a major supplier of gas and oil but that has been erratic, as Ghana has struggled to pay its bills.

Scheduled rolling electricity blackouts to ration power — known locally as “dumsor” — have in recent years had a knock-on effect on businesses and productivity, and led to street demonstrations.

A 2015 report by Ghana’s Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research indicated the country was losing some $2.2 million a day because of the energy shortfall.

The government is hoping domestic oil and gas supply from offshore fields will help cut the energy deficit, alongside solar, for the country’s 27 million people.

Energy minister Boakye Agyarko has said he wants all government departments to be solar powered and vowed to “step on the accelerator and make sure we do even more than we are doing now”.

A British-based firm, Blue Energy, is hoping to build a huge solar farm in western Ghana by December this year, with a capacity of up to 155 megawatts.

Ackah said there is hope that solar power’s share in the overall energy mix will soar by the end of the decade.

“It is 0.5 percent in 2017. We are supposed to get 10 percent in the next three years,” he said.

Source: https://www.independent.co.ug/ghana-seeks-new-dawn-struggling-power-sector/

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

The Blame Game among the Two Major Political Parties in Ghana

Blaming one another for a particular problem or crime committed has been very rampant and prevalent in Ghanaian politics. Those in authority, most of the time, shirk their responsibilities while blaming others for not taking full responsibility in certain situations until things begin to go wrong. Since 2010 this blame game has been unprecedented in Ghanaian political history. This attitude, which is very recent, impedes trust, creates inter-party suspicion and dampens the spirit of democracy and fair play. This article will discuss the blame game not only among the two major parties, but also among certain individuals and personalities within these parties.

 

Bernard Allotey Jacobs, the Central Region Communications Director of the NDC already began to blame the opposition NPP for the worsening Ga chieftaincy crisis and all the disputes bedevilling the Ga state in 2012. According to Allotey Jacobs, the former president, John Kufuor and his NPP, broke the peace and tranquillity of the Ga state by poking their noses in the Ga state chieftaincy affairs. As if to strengthen or confirm Allotey’s suspicion and mistrust of Kufuor and his NPP, a palace coup which culminated in a raid of the stool house of the Ga traditional council and a subsequent installation of a rival Ga Mantse, tilts suspicion of active involvement towards NPP. The NPP vehemently denies this claim and refuses to accept the blame by Allotey Jacobs.

Chairman Wontumi

Chairman Wontumi

A recent blame game occurred when the Ashanti Regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka “Chairman Wontumi”, was arrested and detained for allegedly assaulting the MP for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu Amankwah, and the constituency secretary, Felix Ibrahim. The police station was besieged by hundreds of NPP supporters and admirers of Chairman Wontumi who had been refused bail and was remanded in police custody. The blame game suddenly resurrected. The fourth deputy speaker of ECOWAS parliament, Simon Osei Mensah, accused the state of being behind Chairman Wontumi’s detention. It was also on everybody’s lips that the Ashanti region’s Police Command acted on the instructions of Flagstaff House to detain Chairman Wontumi. The underlying aim of President Mahama and the NDC, according to  Simon Osei Mensah, was to brand NPP as a violent party. Was it right to blame the government in this assault case? People argued that if the government did not have a hand in this, why would it bring in the military to guard the premises of the Regional Police station in a mere assault case?

 

The intermittent power outages that engulfed Ghana under NDC rule was the worst that ever index1happened to Ghana. The President, John Mahama, refused to accept responsibility for what became known as dumsor, but blamed the NPP for the current deficit in the nation’s energy supply. The NDC alleged that the NPP did not take the issue of power supply seriously throughout their eight year rule from 2001 to 2008, because they failed to give the needed attention to the energy sector.

President John Mahama has embarked on regional tours to give account of his stewardship during the past seven years. In between the tours he held a press conference where he made excuses and blamed all others except himself for the current charges his government is facing with regards to excessive corruption, utility price hikes, micro-finance fraud, power crisis, falling educational standards and poor national security. Concerned groups including Progressive People’s party (PPP) were greatly disappointed with President Mahama for shifting blame of his incompetence to others and also for his unimpressive account at the press conference of his stewardship.

 

President Mahama

President Mahama

Governments are elected to power primarily to solve the challenges and the developmental problems of the country irrespective of which political party caused the problem. However, in this country of ours, the two major political parties have continued to blame each other for one fault or the other. Due to this unfortunate blame game, successive governments have abandoned projects began by rival parties during their terms of office. Instead of continuing the uncompleted projects of the previous government, the ruling government shirked its responsibility. President Mahama and his NDC cannot continue to blame their predecessors after seven years in power.

President Mahama must accept the full responsibility of hardship and misrule during the past seven years of NDC rule. He dares not shift the blame to anyone else. He has been in power for the past seven years but he creates the impression that he has been at the helm of affairs for only three years. The reason why many hold on to this assertion is that he was a Vice President under a weak and sick president so he was virtually in control. He boasts openly as the architect behind every good thing that was done during the past seven years while frowning upon anything bad that is attributed to him and the NDC. Who then is President Mahama blaming for all the hardships and the bad things that have gone on and continue to go on?

 

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North in the Eastern Region, J. B. Danquah

J. B. Danquah Adu

J. B. Danquah Adu

Adu, was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant. Bernard Antwi Boasiako (Chairman Wontumi) came out to blame President Mahama for the death of Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu. His reason for blaming him stemmed from the fact that instead of President Mahama coming on air to express his shock and condolence at the sudden departure of the Abuakwa North MP, he happily and remorselessly went to the social media, Twitter, to scribble haphazard message of condolence to the bereaved family. The obvious question raised by concerned citizens of Ghana was the reason behind the President’s use of Twitter to express his shock and condolence. The question is: how many Ghanaians use Twitter? Chairman Wontumi argued that President Mahama did not announce Prof. Mills’ death on Twitter and therefore in much the same way he should have issued a statement for this tragic death. Undoubtedly Twitter is faster but he could at the same time have issued a prompt statement on air.

Stan Dogbe, a professional journalist and presidential staffer, was also blamed for master-minding the premature death of JB Danquah Adu. Asiedu, the young man who was arrested by the police, was alleged to have mentioned Stan Dogbe’s name. A journalist at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Yahaya Kwamoah, recorded a conversation between Stan Dogbe and a colleague. Stan Dogbe pursued Yahaya and wrenched the digital recorder from him and destroyed it. If what the journalist recorded did not implicate him, why then did he destroy the evidence? According to Stan Dogbe, what he was discussing with his colleague was a strategy on how to break the news to the family of the death of Samuel Nuamah, the Ghanaian Times correspondent at the Flagstaff House. His explanation can be likened to what Macbeth described as “a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.” Ghanaians would have believed him more if he had allowed the recording to be played on air rather than destroying it.

The Vice President, Amissah-Arthur, has constantly been blamed for refusing the people of Central Region to visit him in his office. He denies this as a concoction coming from the imagination of hungry and desperate people who want power by all means. There was deep mistrust between two groups in the NDC, the Young Cadres Association and the Fante Students Association. The former blames the latter for leaking vital information of the party. They are branded as very mischievous and deceptive.

It is important for both parties, the NDC and NPP, to realize and accept that no government will ever be able to complete all the development projects they begin and therefore it is important and imperative for parties who take over from the incumbent to avoid blaming their predecessors for incompetence but continue and finish the uncompleted project, in the interest of Ghana’s development. Former President Rawlings embarked upon the construction of the Keta Sea Defence Wall. However, according to Malik Kwaku Baako Jnr., the Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Rawlings deceived Ghanaians into thinking that his government was going to construct the wall but rather supervised over an era of embezzlement of the monies allotted to the construction of the wall. Kufuor in his eight years in office continued and completed the Keta Sea Defence Wall without any blame to ex-President Jerry Rawlings.

ex-President Kufuor

ex-President Kufuor

President Mahama on the other hand triggered a political controversy of achievement in the Volta Region when he said the NPP did nothing for the region. This claim was too hard for ex-President Kufuor to swallow so he hit back and accused President Mahama of dishonesty. Apart from taking upon itself to complete the Keta Sea Defence Wall, the NPP government says it undertook several developmental projects of all kinds including repairing all dilapidated buildings along the beaches and strengthening the ground there to prevent erosion.

 

Indeed Ghanaians are not in any good mood to accept this blame game between these two major political parties. What Ghanaians need from these political parties are concrete steps that can be adopted to alleviate our hardships and propel us towards conscious development of our beloved country, Ghana.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

Prof Kofi Awoonor killed in Westgate: Ghana lose a literary giant!

Prof Kofi Awoonor killed in Westgate Terror Attack

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Ghana is in shock after it was announced the poet and author Professor Kofi Awonoor was among those shot dead by terrorists in the Westgate Mall siege in Kenya on Saturday. Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama  said in a statement: “I am shocked to hear the death of Professor Kofi Awoonor in the Nairobi mall terrorist attack. Such a sad twist of fate.”

Awoonor, 78, was killed and his son wounded at the Westgate mall, Ghana’s Deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu later confirmed that Awoonor’s son has been discharged from the hospital. Awoonor had been due to appear at the Storymoja Hay literary festival in Nairobi on Saturday.

His work combined the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization. He started writing under the name George Awoonor-Williams. He went on to teach African literature at the University of Ghana. While at the University of Ghana he wrote his first poetry book, Rediscovery, published in 1964. Like the rest of his work, Rediscovery is based on African oral poetry. In Ghana he managed the Ghana Film Corporation and founded the Ghana Play House. His early works were inspired by the singing and verse of his native Ewe people. He then studied literature at the University of London, and while in England he wrote several radio plays for the BBC. He spent the early 1970s in the United States, studying and teaching at universities. While in the USA he wrote This Earth, My Brother, and My Blood. Awoonor returned to Ghana in 1975 as head of the English department at the University of Cape Coast.

Awoonor served as Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil and Cuba in the 1980s, and was Ghana’s representative to the United Nations under the presidency of Jerry Rawlings from 1990 to 1994.He was also president of the Council of State, an advisory body to the president, but stepped down from that role earlier this year. A distinguished diplomat and revered statesman Awoonor was highly respected in Ghanaian and wider African circles.

This was a view that was endorsed by his cousin Kwame Dawes who said; ” Kofi Awoonor is easily one of the great poets of Africa and has been for many years,”there’s a great deal of respect for him and admiration of his work. This has been a big blow and a major loss.”

NPP leader Nana Akufo-Addo was quoted as saying; “I shall forever remember him with fondness for his wit and courtesy. The Ghanaian nation has lost a distinguished son”.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Kofi Awoonor’s family and all the other victims of the Westgate attack at this sad time.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)