In the Abundance of Water Should the Fool be Thirsty
Feature Article of Friday, 22 March 2013
Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey S.
In the Abundance of Water Should the Fool be Thirsty: Rat Race Ina Ghana!
Gross incompetence by politicians in Ghana, continues to hurt the country on a daily basis. Yet everyday, all public officials are paid, perks tacked on, at the same time as no one is held accountable. Can or must we continue to tolerate such from our elected officials? How do we hold non-performing politicians/bureaucrats accountable? Are we reduced to just writing tall articles or shouting on top of our lungs without getting the desired actionable response? Will the citizens of Ghana step up and demand accountability and responsibility?
The cost of incompetence is costly and enduringly painful. The cost of incompetence to Ghana is real. Hunger, starvation, loss of critical amenities, loss of investment, under utilization of capital, and death are all clear examples of outcomes related to incompetence. Until the people in Ghana get off their stomp and romp for change, nothing will change. The war for change must be waged from inside Ghana. No one can or must do this for Ghanaians. Who will bell the cat? Any leaders willing to be martyrs for change? Anyone willing to die a little for Ghana?
It was Bob Marley who said, in the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty. Kufour’s NPP imported numerous generators with any planning. Why are we not using them to shore up vital operations like hospitals, at a time when electricity is in short supply? Is the prohibitive cost of operating these generators a good enough reason not to use them? What was the thinking behind importing such expensive generators? Can we afford to run these outmoded generators on expensive fuel? Should we allow these generators to rot in the midst of grave need? What should we do with these generators?
In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty but what if the abundant water is poisoned and the fool knows it? What if the chalice is poisoned? One of the biggest problems facing Ghana is the lack of intelligent planning. When faced with a problem, commonsense teaches that one must take time to define the problem. Defining a problem requires taking the context into consideration. So, what due diligence did the NPP do before importing these expensive generators that require an inordinate amount of high priced fuel to run? What maintenance plan did the government draw up for these generators? Here, we see how a lack of proper and detailed problem definition leads to bad solutions, no matter how well intentioned.
Before ordering such expensive generators, shouldn’t the NPP have the foggiest idea of where they intend to place them upon arrival? Should the NPP have pulled out the map of Ghana and dotted it with feasible locations before importing? Did the NPP complete a need based assessment before importing the generators? I believe the import of these generators was bereft of any thorough planning. Instead, it may have been a glorious opportunity for some NPP operatives to make serious money. Why waste a crisis in a disorganized country like Ghana? Which company won the bid to do this import? As usual, the bandits have skipped town and the people of Ghana are left holding the bag. What do we do with these generators?
Ghanaians are stuck with these expensive Trojan horse generators. Kufour’s NPP did very little to alleviate load shedding in the long and short run. The NDC continues to bumble around this glaring problem. What are the root-causes of our electricity challenges? What are the short and long terms plans to solve this problem permanently? Can any of our leaders lay out the vision for solving this nagging problem? Can we develop some kind of “all the above” approach to solving our energy problem? By all the above, I mean solar, wind, hydro, nuclear and whatever else we can garner? What is the plan? Why do we accept such mediocre performance from our leaders?
We cannot develop or entice foreign investment if the supply of electricity is sporadic. This is a problem that must be solved quickly and now. Are there any leaders in Ghana? What about some sort of energy summit to get this ball rolling? We cannot solve this problem piecemeal. We cannot leave it to chance. We must plan intelligently. We must take a systemic approach to solving this problem permanently. We must act now or risk progress.
The NDC must understand that, rightly or wrongly, Ghana owns these generators. Leaving them to sit and rot is not the right thing to do. The responsible thing to do is some sort of cost benefit analysis. Auction them off if in the end they cost more to run and maintain, than other viable portable energy sources. Perhaps dash some of these generators to all major hospital in Ghana. It makes no sense to incur overhead on top of whatever waste we are experiencing.
In the end, Ghana continues to be a cesspool of corruption, regardless of who is in power. No crisis must go to waste is the motto of most Ghanaian politicians. The real challenge is what we can learn from this terrible and expensive experience so that we don’t repeat it going forward. In a country where resources are scarce and needs continue to spiral upward, one will think that thinking and planning cleverly will serve us well. Instead, the vampires continue to obfuscate any attempt to right this sinking ship called Ghana. So long as corruption stays vibrant, the probability of squaring up into another quagmire is real and approaching.
In the end, Ghana is what it is because Ghanaians continue to remain passive. Human nature dictates that any time passivity reigns, the powerful will frolic and romp. Every country deserves the leadership it gets. The rich, powerful and famous will continue to fleece the masses until they wise up and demand radical change. Who will organize and rally the masses to demand their pound of flesh? The organization of the masses remains the most herculean task facing Ghana. An aware and engaged followership is the missing ingredient in Ghana. Incompetence, corruption and willful deceit remain the enemy. Commonsense is at a premium. Oh my beloved Ghana!
Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Affectionately dubbed and adoringly mobbed as the double edge sword) This social critic can be reached at Akyere@aol.com
I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell—Harry Truman