Opinions Tue, 28 May 2019
Eric Kwakye Darfour, Ghana’s Eastern Regional Minister (RM) has let the country and himself down badly.In the current electricity bill troubles in the Odumase Krobo area, he has deliberately engaged in ethnic stereotyping. It is dangerous and completely unnecessary. We shall not repeat his words here.
The incompetent Adom FM journalists or media team who interviewed him also did not ask him to refrain from using his inflammatory words. (You may please search the Twi audio story filed on 23 May, 2019 by Adomonline.com/dorcas abedu-kennedy).
Then an equally incompetent Daily Guide yet again uses those words in print (story by Vincent Kubi published 24 May, 2019 on dailyguidenetwork.com).
Ghanaweb.com culls this story, and we are all over the world disgracing ourselves; exposing our lack of education and enlightenment.
The RM went to a hospital and in the presence of the media announced that one of the victims of the police violence whose leg was broken would be transferred first because “the ambulance can only take one person”.
Does he know what an ambulance is? Then he stated publicly that the police suspected some of the demonstrators had guns, so the dead person was likely shot by the demonstrators!
It was clearly amateur hour or someone had forgotten to take their medication.
Now the minister should tell us:
One, is the 80 million Cedis plus (USD16 million) accumulated electricity bill he keeps referring to owed by an ethnic group or it is owed by individual consumers?
Two, what did he seek to achieve by mentioning ethnic groups within the catchment area of the Volta whose lands have been submerged by the construction of the dam who could equally refuse to pay electricity bills?
Three, those youth groups whom he has been negotiating with on the matter of reducing their bills, are they seeking lower bills for only indigenees or for all residents of the area whether they be wives, husbands or concubines?
And four, will such an agreement cover all indiginees regardless of their location in Ghana and whether they own factories or not?
So, you see, we have an incompetent minister who could not THINK clearly about the challenge posed to him.
The RM’s comments following the meeting with the paramount chief (Konor of Manya Krobo) should be treated with utter contempt.
Meanwhile the General Manager of the Tema PDS/ECG, the power distributors under which the Krobo districts come has stated that it is not the case that residents refused to pay their bills.
The ECG failed to bill residents for over a year on account of incompetence.
And when they did residents were given huge bills which did not add up.
As chairperson of the Regional Security Council, the RM with intelligence agencies at his disposal, is he not aware that faulty metering devices were installed in the area and this has not been resolved?
It is a shame that he told the Adom FM interviewer in Twi that the communities in question are served by the PDS/ECG offices in Tema which is outside his Region “so they do not hear about such matters”.
We need cool heads to prevail and a turning away from violence by all involved.
We have one death, two persons with broken legs and many injuries including emotional trauma, and ethnic incitement with its horrific attendant dangers.
The grossly incompetent performance of the RM is dishonourable. He should be fired or he must do the honourable thing and resign.
That is what happens in enlightened societies.
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Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah