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Mahama promises another shot at Power Compact deal

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Former President John Mahama
Former President John Mahama

The Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President John Dramani Mahama, has assured Ghanaians that he will lead the country to re-negotiate the Power Compact component of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with the United States of America (USA) should he be elected President at the December polls.

He said the re-negotiation would be necessary to secure funding to strengthen electricity distribution and retool some critical power sector institutions.

Funding
Mr Mahama said the next NDC government would take the issue up with the Joseph Biden administration with the aim of getting back the money that was lost when the country terminated an earlier deal with the Power Distribution Services (PDS) following allegations of fraud.

"One of the priorities is to see if we can get back the money under the MCC to improve our electricity distribution system, " he told the Daily Graphic in an interview on Sunday at Kwahu Pepease in the Eastern Region on the sidelines of his four-day campaign tour of the region.

Mr Mahama said due to the mismanagement of the energy component of the Energy Compact of the MCC by the current government, the country lost a significant amount of funding that would have been used to improve electricity distribution systems.

"When I was President, we successfully negotiated the MCC deal but unfortunately, this government messed up the Power Distribution Services (PDS) issue and that has led to us losing substantial amounts of funding that would have been used to strengthen our electricity distribution system," he said.

Context
The US Embassy in Ghana last year announced that Ghana had lost the second tranche funding of $190 million after the government terminated the private sector concession agreement with PDS Limited.

Democrats win
Touching on the significance of the US election on that of Ghana, the former President said the victory of Mr Joe Biden and Ms Kamala Harris on the Democrats ticket was a morale booster for his second-time bid for the Presidency.

He said although he did not want to speculate that a Democrat win in the US would automatically correspond to a win for the NDC, there were some "uncanny parallels that seem to be happing between the USA and Ghana" in every election year.

"I don't want to ascribe to anything but it looks like anytime power has shifted in the USA, it has shifted also in Ghana," he said.

However, he said he was confident of winning the election and working with the new US government to help bring resources to bear to develop the country.

Lessons
Mr Mahama said Ghana could also draw lessons from the US elections by strengthening state institutions to be independent of any government.

He said for instance that despite the fact that President Donald Trump at a point ordered for the complete halt of the counting of the ballots, the institutions were independent and assertive.

"And that is the kind of predictability and strengthening of institutions we seek in Ghana. That institutions are able to work without political influence and I wonder what would have happened if the same was happening in Ghana. But we will see how things go," Mr Mahama said.

He, therefore, called for a collective effort to strengthen institutions such as the Electoral Commission, the judiciary, the legislature and the institutions that anchor Ghana's democracy to offer the right service and mandate that the people have given them, without any partisan consideration.

Time for women
The former President said the significance of the choice of Ms Kamala Harris as the first female Vice-President of the US was crucial for the involvement of women in decision making. He said he was hopeful that a similar result would come out of the December 7 election to give Ghana its first female Vice-President.

"We are hoping for the same thing in Ghana and it's my hope that we will be successful here too so that women can occupy their rightful place in governance," he said.