Water, water, everywhere………..
Feature Article of Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Columnist: Atuapoma, Kwame
Published in 1798, the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a required reading for most Ghanaian students. Ghana like the mariners ship has been driven off course by greed, nepotism, selfishness, and egotism. A key part of the poem goes:
“Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
After, 56 years of independence Ghana continues to fail in implementing effective plans of producing reliable water, electricity, and toilet facilities to its citizens. In this short article, I will specifically explain how the government of Ghana has failed the people of Ghana and in this instance the people of Kwawu, Kumawu, and Konongo area by not providing the populace with water. These are all from government and news reports
As Vice President, President John Dramani Mahama announced in April of 2011 during the Easter celebration that government, together with development partners were embarking on a $24.5 million water project to provide water for the people of Kwawu in the Eastern Region. According to him the project would construct a floating pontoon at the intake of the Volta Lake at Kotosu, rehabilitate and expand water treatment plants, and construct booster pump stations at Kwawu Tafo, Mpraeso and Nkwatia, all in the Kwawu area. He informed all present that the project would be completed at the end of 2012. We are in 2013, this Easter marks two years since that pronouncement. Still not a drop of water is in our pipes.
The former finance minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffour had earlier in 2010 expressed “satisfaction” at the progress of work on the US$120 million Kumawu, Konongo and Kwawu Ridge Water Supply project for the people of Kumawu and Konongo in the Ashanti Region, and the Kwahu Ridge in the Eastern Region. He stated sometime in March 2010 that the work would be completed in15 months (August 2011, note that vice president Mahama pushed the completion date to end of 2012). Most of this work started in April 2008 when the government of Ghana under a mixed loan agreement funded by Messrs.’ Bank Hapoalim B. M. of Israel were supposed to provide water to these Ghanaian communities. Now the Israeli contractor, Messrs.’ Tahal Consulting Engineers Limited is handsomely saddled with $97 million to complete the project which has had several loans, mixed loans and even grants from Kumawu Rural Bank. Ghana is 56 years now and it is important that certain things are done efficiently and in a timely manner to benefit the people of Ghana. The people need explanations to the slow pace in the development of the Kwawu, Kumawu, and Konongo water project. It is not because of lack of funds. Money has already been disbursed for the project. River Afram continues to churn tons of water into the Atlantic Ocean daily while people do not have access to potable water. What is going on? When are we as a people going to ask our leaders to be accountable just like how we expect our footballers to be accountable? We have paid for the delivery of potable water for over five years and still nothing to show for it, yet people are nonchalant. But when the Black Stars lose, we take up arms and are ready to apportion blame and call for the dismissal of individuals for non-performance. Do we value football more than water?
Going forward, I strongly believe the various developmental associations in these communities should DEMAND monthly progress reports from implementing agencies. As Ghanaians, our constitution gives us the right to government documents. We should demand transparencies of all payments and expenditures on this project. If possible calculated demonstration should be organized to bring attention to this sorrowful misuse of public trust. As a final resort, the people should sue the government in court. As our mothers, brothers and sisters continue to trek miles in search of water we should reflect on the ancient mariner:
“He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.”