Napo’s retort vrs Cheddar’s dream

To an elderly person who has a penchant for flying off the handle over minor disagreements, the Ewe people would counsel, “Put your heart between your two hands.”


 It is their diplomatic way of telling elderly persons to mind their language, especially people who, by virtue of the alphabets or titles to their names, are supposed to be role models.

That is how they would have advised Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy, in his media interview overload-shedding timetable from ECG.

“Let those asking for a load-shedding timetable publish their own schedule,” the Minister retorted. Elderly people don’t talk like that. 

At any rate, what has happened to the excess power which the NPP once accused the NDC of acquiring? The major accusation against NDC is that out of Ghana’s 2,300 megawatts of installed capacity of electricity contracted by the Mahama’s government between 2011 and 2016, “only 40 per cent is actually consumed” and that Ghana is, as a result, being forced to cough up more than US$500 million every year to pay for the excess capacity from the Take or Pay power agreements. 

You can trust Yours Truly. Outraged, I wrote in the Daily Graphic demanding answers from the NDC for such “gross irresponsible management of the economy”. That was in 2022.

Come 2024, we seem to be in a power crisis. Isn’t it natural to ask, “Where is the 60 per cent unused excess capacity? 

Politics aside, what is the name of what we are currently experiencing? The NPP doesn’t have a name for it because to call it ‘dumsor’ is to admit failure. To the NDC, there is no other name. Of course, we are in an election year. To NPP, dumsor is a scare word; to NDC, it is a reminder to Ghanaians that when the fundamentals are weak, even an ant-bite will expose a bad economy.  

That will be all for ‘Dumsor’ this week.  

There is a second business that is eating me up inside. It has to do with the pledge by Nana Kwame Bediako, leader of the New Force Movement, to dredge and extend the sea to Kumasi if he becomes President of Ghana in 2025. 

The instant backlash from Ghanaians was his baptism of fire into politics. He has come out to clarify his pledge, explaining that his goal is not to bring the sea to Kumasi but rather to expand water transportation to Kumasi. 

Speaking during a ‘Listening tour’ of the Volta Region, Cheddar explained, “I had the Volta in mind when I talked about dredging the sea to Kumasi. Water transportation brings a new life to humanity because … the marriage and merging of water bodies will be very pivotal in the industrialisation of the country.” This he believes will help in coastal transportation.
Water transport? Talk of the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal. The UK is our best example of using its extensive network of canals to transport goods.

Knowing what other countries have turned their water into, this is not a bad thought. Cheddar is thinking outside the box. Thinking outside the box has brought potable water to desert areas. The primary source of freshwater in Dubai is desalinated seawater from the Arabian Gulf. 

It accounts for 89.9 per cent of the city's water supply needs. 

Libya and Saudi Araba use 50 per cent desalinated seawater and 40% groundwater. The late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, described his Great Man-Made River (GMMR) as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". This network of pipes that supplies fresh water obtained from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System across Libya is the world's largest irrigation project. It cost Libya in excess of US$25 billion. 

All of the above is to prove that great transformational projects start as dreams, often ridiculed as pipe dreams. So, go on dreaming, Cheddar. 

Only problem is that hungry and tired Ghanaians, abused by politicians since 1957, are not in a mood for dreams. The almost instantaneous backlash to his “sea to Kumasi” dream should tell him what Ghanaians want to hear. He is thinking long-term – which we actually need – but he stands the danger of being branded idealistic, and Ghanaians have grown to keep their distance from idealists, unfortunately.  

Remember Jerry Rawlings’s idealism leading to his pledge (in 1982) to stop the sale of cement from factories to individuals until he had built enough public toilets for all Ghanaians!!!  What a promise! I am sure for more than three quarters of his life as Head of State, he never could look his wife in the eyes and ask how many toilets they had at Ridge and at Adjiringanno. 

So, Cheddar, don’t stop talking, but if you want to win 2024, ask Ghanaians what they want to hear: regular and uninterrupted supply of kenkey and fish; roasted plantain and groundnuts; 24 hours water through their pipes, 24 hours of power. After these we can afford to bring in sky trains and channel water to landlocked areas. 

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