Enjoying The World Cup Under DUMSOR Conditions
I predicted this but it was still a shock when it came because I didn’t really think it would happen. The fact that it did should tell us that we are in more trouble than we are allowed to know.
I am referring to the power outage which occurred at precisely the moment the Black Stars took to the field in the friendly World Cup warm-up match against Holland last Saturday.
Of course, it was not an accident; the choreography was too exact to make it an incidental happening. Our beloved and beleaguered ECG knew it did not have enough power to supply and consequently failed to meet us at the point of our need.
If Coach Kwasi Appiah and his men were using the Holland match as a warm up for the Brazil show, ECG and its partners in the supply chain were also using the same day to test their strength or perhaps strategy; they failed us woefully.
A few months ago, I would have reacted badly to this serious deprivation; I would have accused ECG of incompetence or worse, but now, I have sympathy for the electricity company because I know it is not their fault.
As I said, the timing of the power outage showed that ECG engineers knew what they were doing and had probably planned it in advance. However, that does not mean that they did it to punish us in some way. Even an enemy occupation force would not deprive Ghanaians of their football. The reality is that ECG does not have the electricity to supply.
That is essentially because the government does not have the money to import the oil that will fire the power into our homes. It is as simple as that, and one has to wonder if at this late date there will be enough electricity to enable all of us to watch the World Cup matches.
The irony of the situation is that since the World Cup is being played in the Western Hemisphere several time zones away, we are going to have to watch the matches at night; this means even more electricity than usual will be required around that time of night.
Unless the government has some tricks up its sleeves, which must be doubtful in the extreme, we even struggle to believe the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Armah-Kofi Buah, who has said that the situation would improve in October.
Of course, no-one believes him; he probably said that because he thinks October will never come. It will. Back to the present, if there can be no improvement in the power supply, it does not mean that there should be no improvement in ECG thinking and creativity. There has to be a plan B.
The government and ECG must provide a CREDIBLE DUMSOR plan to guide the citizens to plan their lives around a properly co-ordinated power cut system. One cannot forget that the last planned power outage plan was abandoned even before its implementation; of course, the government probably prefers this seemingly erratic non-plan because it creates the impression that the power outages are random.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The power outages are now a fact of life, and they follow a predictable pattern that should enable ECG to come out with a plan and stick to it.
One has to believe that the government wants the people to watch the Black Stars play in Brazil. There is no point in spending millions of cedis for our team to participate without us enjoying the benefit of watching.
It is possible to enjoy the World Cup even under extreme DUMSOR conditions provided a few things are done. The first thing ECG and the government must do is to tell us the truth, the whole truth about the state of electricity supply in the country. The second is to provide that important DUMSOR PLAN that will enable us to plan our lives more efficiently.
However, apart from giving us a DUMSOR plan, or perhaps in addition to that there are a number of things the government can do to soften the blow of power outages during the World Cup.
The government can team up with commercial interests to create fun parks around the country so that people can watch world cup matches at these venues.
Fun parks go with increased security, especially because all the matches will be played at night and our cities and towns have little street-level lights. This means police activities must not be just “visible” but active. It is important to stress this point.
I do not know what goes on in other cities and towns, but frankly, “visible policing” in Accra is a mystery. Sure, the police are visible, usually standing in clusters at street corners. But for what exactly are they standing at those corners?
It will not be enough for the police to stand at those corners during World Cup nights. They must get out and help people get to their destinations safely. The government could even arrange for the relevant ministries and local authorities, especially in the cities to provide special bus services for people who go to watch matches at fun parks.
The Black Stars are representing the nation and as such, the nation has an interest in the team’s progress in Brazil.
The idea that the nation can lift the team with its support is not just part of sports lore but an established fact; knowing that no-one is able to watch them can be demoralising for the team.
The Black Stars may or may not win the World Cup in Brazil but they can win in our hearts, as they did in South Africa four years ago and lift the nation. That is all we are asking of those to whom these questions are directed.
However, before we go, let us ask this question: over the past few years, we have endured heavy price increases for electricity on the promise of better service.
We have done our part of the deal, so when do we see the improvements?