NPP – Sordum; NDC – Dumsor

 

Gloucester: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York.”

Richard III: William Shakespeare

 

Apologists for the New Patriotic Party on the present power outages are quick to point out that the new situation is not the ‘dumsor’ of yore.

 

For about four years, Mahama’s administration was ‘blessed’ with erratic power outages, so huhudious that it caught the eye and nose of the Encyclopaedia, and an entry into the Wiktionary states: “Dumsor (uncountable) blackout, load shedding, particularly when occurring frequently but in no discernible irregular pattern. So, all other countries that experience power outages can call it ‘dumsor’.

 

Wikipedia states: “The 2004-2005 load shedding period happened under President John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration but was not too frequent as during the tenure of John Dramani Mahama. The 2009-2011 load shedding period began when John Dramani Mahama was in government as Vice President. After the death of then President John Evans Atta Mills during when the persistent on and off nature of the power supply in the country became abhorrent, Ghanaians out of frustration named the situation ‘dumsor’.”

 

We are reminded of Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson’s campaign: ‘#dumsormuststop’ in November 2014 that got people including most celebrities to attend a vigil in Accra on May 16, 2015. A timetable was released and people had to ‘adjust’ their day-to-day activities around that timetable. Of course, the ‘regulated’ outages evoked disappointment, worry, mockery and even anger.

 

John Mahama, during a state visit to Germany, whispered to Angela Merkel that he had been nicknamed ‘Mr. Dumsor’ as a result of the power crisis, though he attributed the dastardly conundrum to Nigeria’s failure to supply gas to Ghana. In August, 2015, Professor P.L.O. Lumumba, the Pan-Africanist Kenyan Lawyer stated in a speech. This “dumsor–dumsor: the dumsorisation of Africa must stop.”

 

The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) reported that Ghana lost $1 billion in 2014 as a result of dumsor. Many Ghanaian companies were collapsing and pregnant women on oxygen (for example at Bawku) lost their lives and those of their unborn babies.

 

How can anyone who leans towards NPP describe the present situation as ‘dumsor’? No, this is ‘dumsie-sie’, (switch off, to rehabilitate). It can never be “dum-saa” (switch off for a long period). Then we remember what we wrote on a fellow teacher, Osei Mensah’s door: “Bawarefo Dan” (Baware is a town near Ayinasu) when he had written: “Beware of Man”. At that time, we did not have a whiff or an iota of knowledge of “pun” (play on words) or paronomasia. Chiasmus (grammatical structure that inverts a previous phrase for effect, as in “Don’t sweat the petty things; and don’t pet the sweaty”) was unknown to us.

 

Neither was “litote” (a phrase that uses negation to create an affirmative understatement: “That wasn’t half bad, it was very good you can’t say I didn’t warn you”). Synecdoche (figure of speech in which a part of something stands for the whole: “I’ve got wheels = I’ve got a car; “a hired hand = a worker”. Double entendre: figure of speech that could have two meanings: how I love to see your bazookas (breasts).

 

You may not have read the Catholic Standard of Sunday, May 5 to Saturday, May 11, 2024. Or even if you had read it, you might not have been tickled about the editorial: “Just Give Us Electricity! Not Dumsor (Power Rationing).” Or else, you may have been consumed by “Mea culpa” and “Kyrie eleison” or the “Pater noster” or “Credo in unumdeum…” that you may not have had the time to read Laments, the Catholic Standard: “Every class of Ghanaians has had to pay some price, attributable to power crisis mismanagement.

 

Farmers, fishermen, market women, welders, tailors dress/hair designers, banks, courts, fuel retailers, hospitals, schools, shop operators, all except perhaps politicians and the wealthy able to afford made-for-home generators. Ghanaians must be fed up with lame excuses and the banking sector clean-up intervention, the COVID-19 pandemic or the Russia-Ukraine (War) as causes for electricity generation deficit.

 

It is sad that no officials of the ECG or the Energy Minister have found it morally prudent to resign. In any serious country, heads would have rolled in absence of voluntary resignations. Recently, Sierra Leone’s Energy Minister resigned in the face of mounting public outage, assumed full responsibility for inefficiency, poor planning and no strategic foresight. Are we learning from this?

 

Within weeks this Paper has had to agree with our traditional rulers, this time the Paramount Chief of the Asogli State, an economist, when he lamented, ‘Our chaotic economic situation is the product of a toxic of, among others, our dishonesty; partisanship, cronyism and traditional tribalism; greed-fuelled corruption; lack of proper planning and the consequent episodic approach to economic management and bad monetary policy, an unsustainable public debt, rising inflation, a depreciating currency, ever-rising cost of living and loss of confidence by both domestic and international investors…”

 

So, the paper “calls on the government not to paste over the gaping public administrative cracks but seek control of our electricity resources. Economic development thrives on the availability and reliability of power supply… We must come out of our past energy mismanagement, control the present and secure the future of our electric power needs.” Caveat: We have our reservations.

 

We do not have to repeat the effulgence of J.J. Rawlings who in a 2012 address at Golden Tulip described the opposition New Patriotic Party as “perceived enemies” and labelled the ruling government (NDC) his own party as “traitor”. We must be practical and realistic: call a spade a spade. How objective can we claim to be when we criticise “their” government for a failure of one activity and white-wash “ours” for the same misstep (failure and misstep)?

 

For us, it is neither the tenuous ‘political defence’ nor the lame ‘hoity-toity explanations’ lacking respect to the public that can carry us high. It should be a humble, courteous, unpretentious concession. Did we not give Ghanaians the promise of democracy: ‘ka bi na menka bi’. So, what has changed?

 

 

AfricanusOwusu-Ansah

africanusoa@gmail.com

 

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