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Good Riddance, Dr. Kwabena Donkor


It is morally repugnant to dance on someone’s grave; in other words, it is not proper to rejoice when someone is in deep trouble. But the case of former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor calls for thunderous celebration. His was clearly a case of self-inflicted wound and broken promises

The minister was compelled to resign from his post for failing to keep a promise. He had built a  bridge all by himself and yet could not cross it when it was time to deliver the goods.

Dr. Donkor’s predicament began when he promised Ghanaians that he would single-handedly solve the erratic electricity problem that has besieged the nation for so long, by the close of 2015. Failing that, Dr. Donkor promised he would resign.

So, when December rolled around and darkness still enveloped many cities, towns and villages across the nation, the minister began to sweat under the collar as pressure mounted on him to keep his promise to leave office.

Ghanaians called for his head on a silver platter. Dr. Donkor did not disappoint. He presented Ghanaians his own head by stepping down a fortnight ago. Good riddance, many screamed.

The drama notwithstanding, let us look at things in the political context; it is common knowledge that politicians thrive on campaign promises which oftentimes are not fulfilled. What distinguishes Dr. Donkor’s promise from other political promises is that his was particularly brazen and arrogant.

Taken at face value, Dr. Donkor’s promise was uncalled for and a clear demonstration of how not to shoot yourself in the foot. The idea that one would take this huge challenge all by himself suggested he did not treat the matter, complex as it is, with the due diligence it rightly deserves.

Ghana’s intermittent electricity supply has persisted for years and no single administration, military or civilian has been able to find a lasting solution to the problem, which, by and large, has cost industries and small business owners huge financial losses and ordinary Ghanaians great inconvenience.

So in walks Dr. Donkor, the supposedly knight on a white horse, waving the magic wand and professing to have the ultimate panacea to our lingering electricity woes. But he had bitten more than he could chew.

I remember distinctly his declaration at the beginning of last year to tender in his resignation if Ghanaians were not relieved of this nagging electricity problem. After his audacious declaration, I wondered out aloud if the minister had the wherewithal, resources and influence to correct a problem that has defied solutions for decades.

Let us be clear-eyed here: the cause of our electricity problems is not only rusty and outdated equipment. Rather, the fault should be laid squarely on Ghanaian authorities for their overwhelming reliance on traditional sources of electricity supply in the nation, the Volta and Bui dams and massive diesel generators. There has not been any diversification of sources, at all.

It is abundantly clear that authorities have not looked hard at alternative sources of energy that could be less costly and more efficient. Did somebody just say solar energy?

Governments and their representatives can be a pompous bunch. And Dr. Donkor was the very embodiment of arrogance and self-absorption. No single individual can shoulder a responsibility as huge as our electricity problem alone.

Cooperation and compromises are the chief ingredients for the success of any project. Clearly, Dr. Donkor did not embrace these values. He was too big for his breeches. Did you listen to some of his speeches around the country? They dripped with contempt and condescension for the ordinary man.

Remember when he was in Tamale in the middle of last year and proceeded to lambast northerners for protesting frequent blackouts in the metropolis and then threatened to move the ECG headquarters to Techiman from Tamale.

Ministers are supposed to represent the interests of citizens but Dr.Donkor miserably failed in this category. His resignation could not have come at a better time.

I do sympathize with Dr. Donkor, however. He had his hands full. His was not an easy assignment. As Power minister, he was singularly charged with ensuring that power supply to the country was not interrupted.

But with persistent power failures and a clearly irritated Ghanaian populace agitating for a permanent solution, it was a bumpy ride for the former minister.




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