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The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has criticised as unpalatable comments by the Eastern Regional Minister asking rioting residents of Lower Manya Krobo to go off the national grid if they have challenges paying electricity bills.
Eric Kwakye Darfuor, frustrated by the deadly protest by the Krobos against what they claimed is deliberate overbilling and mass disconnections by Power Distribution Services (PDS) publicly chastised them for demanding free power.
“We are all Ghanaians, we are all human beings, and we don’t want anybody to be mistreated. People should feel free and go about their duties legitimately. If you feel you cannot pay for electricity cut it off.
“It is optional, the only thing that universally is free in Ghana now is Free SHS not electricity bill,” he said during a stakeholders’ meeting held jointly by the Regional Security Council and the Municipal Security Council at Odumase Krobo last Thursday.
“Everybody, the rich and poor, you have to pay for electricity. Fuel has never been for free whether it is firewood or charcoal or solar or anything it is never free.”
Unsurprisingly, the NPP in Lower Manya Kobro found the Minister’s comments disrespectful to the people of Kroboland, raising concerns of brewing unease in the party in the region.
Addressing a press conference on Monday on the development in Lower Manya Krobo, the NPP general secretary in the constituency Goldman Awuku Dodzi urged the Regional Minister to render an unqualified apology to the people of Kroboland.
“Per our culture, I cannot apologise on behalf of the Minister when he is alive. I will throw that to the Minister to come out and apologise to the good people of the Kroboland. I don’t know what briefing he had before he made that particular statement,” Dodzi said.
“Probably,” he continued, “he [Minister] said that on the lighter side of things and knowing the media how they are and the way they capture their stories, sensational headlines, that sort of things. So I cannot speak for the Minister…because I have never had any briefing from the Minister to know what actually went into making that particular statement.
“But the only appeal, I will make to the regional minister is for him to come and apologise unreservedly to the good people of Kroboland.”
meanwhile, the party declared its support for the people of Lower Manya in the wake of the deadly clashes with police to protest alleged overbilling and mass disconnection exercise by Power Distribution Services.
“We as a people of Lower Manya Krobo NPP stand by the people of the Krobo Land and until the last customer or consumer of power in Lower Manya is served justice on overbilling, wrongful billing and rightful accumulated bills we will continue to stand by them and fight for them,” the NPP in Lower Manya Krobo announced at a press conference Monday May 27.
“We are not saying we will not pay electricity bills because was built on our land. We also have water treatment plant built on our land [and] no single Krobo complained that they will not pay water bill. We have been paying water bill and we have been electricity bills and our forefathers paid, our fathers paid, we are paying and our children that will follow us will also pay. The only thing we will not pay are overbilling, wrongful billings and then unconsumed power billed us,” the party adds.
The youth organized a spontaneous protest to petition the Municipal Chief Executive for the Area, Kwaku Simon Tetteh, on their concerns on overbilling by PDS and its ongoing mass disconnection exercise.
They mounted roadblocks and pelted the PDS Staff with stones and sticks at Yohe, a community near Odumase Krobo when PDS staff went to the community to discontinue its mass disconnection exercise.
The irate youth smashed a PDS Nissan Pick Up with Registration Number GV 2318-1. It took the intervention of armed Police personnel to rescue the PDS staff.
The PDS staff decided to switch off the transformer cutting off power supply to the entire area.
Shortly after the attack, the angry youth mobilized to embark on a protest to petition the MCE but the armed Police rushed to protect the Municipal Assembly Office by preventing the youth from entering the premises.
This has led to clashes between the youth and the Police. Many warnings shots have been fired to disperse the youth who are also attacking the Police with stones and other implements.
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