By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Adansi-Asokwa, Mr. K. T. Hammond, needs to further explain himself vis-a-vis President Mahama’s energy- and energy-cost savings directive to all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the use of prepaid electricity meters. According to Mr. Hammond, a Deputy Energy Minister in the Kufuor government, such a blanket authorization is “dangerous” and a recipe for disaster, since it is bound to remarkably slow down government and civil-service productivity (See “Putting Flagstaff House on Prepaid Meters ‘Dangerous’ – K. T.” Radioxyzonline.com/ Ghanaweb.com 12/3/14).
Mr. Hammond needs to further explain himself, because the systems failure which he presents as his rationale for second-guessing the President is one that is squarely the result of perennial non-partisan executive administrative incompetence. In other words, Mr. Hammond is not really questioning the practical wisdom behind the President’s directive, only that the efficient use of energy at the highest echelons of government ought not to be made a top priority of the Mahama government. Could this man really mean well for both our country and our leader?
Needless to say, this kind of “ultra-conservative” thinking rancidly reeks of neocolonialism; it is shamelessly cynical and downright irresponsible. It also lacks the wisdom of the practical reality confronting Ghanaians presently. In other words, Mr. Hammond (my profuse apologies to the immortalized Prof. Albert Einstein) would have the government obtusely and vacuously do things the same wasteful and unproductive way as currently prevails, even as barb-tongued opposition parliamentary leaders like the Adansi-Asokwa MP harshly lash out at the government for woefully lacking the requisite vision necessary to move the country ahead. Rather, it is this kind of warped and incontinent reasoning that is “dangerous.”
What I personally like about the Mahama directive is that it soundly places government economically on par with the day-to-day existential realities of the ordinary Ghanaian worker and civil servant. For, after all, doesn’t many an ordinary Ghanaian citizen user of electricity, and other forms of energy, use prepaid meters? And if such energy regime, or regimen, is reckoned to be good for the very people whose collective interests the government claims to primarily exist to serve are on the disciplined energy-usage of prepaid meters, what makes Mr. Hammond think, and believe, that any section or group of Ghanaian citizens is above the law?
I am also deeply disturbed by the argument of the former Deputy Energy Minister, because it flagrantly encourages precisely the kind of gross administrative indiscipline and incompetence that got our country into our current mess, to begin with, and which Mr. Mahama is wisely seeking to stanch. It also eerily recalls for the critical-thinking Ghanaian, the kind of bizarre and cavalier official attitude that is best associated with erstwhile colonial regimes, when the maximum level of reckless exploitation was the norm rather than the anomaly.
At any rate, it ought to be quite obvious to Mr. Mahama, by now, that Mr. Kwabena Tahir Hammond is the one parliamentary opposition leader on whom he cannot count for any constructive collaborative effort to move the country out of its current pallid climate of abject misery and socioeconomic, political and cultural regression, into the kind of fiscal discipline that invariably attends an auspicious climate of prosperity. About the only exceptions here are, of course, the emergency wards of our hospitals and health centers.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York