Electricity Savannah

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

I am going to write this letter in a lot of anger and I’m sure it will be seeping out of my fingers so much you will feel the heat that could singe your skin.

What else will I be angry about if not this our electric company and their shambolic shenanigans that they do.

Imagine they started with load shedding, and then they said they had successfully eradicated that so had moved on to load sharing and now there is load management. What a crock of hogwash!

Well some of us did a lot of comprehension and lexis and structure whilst in high school and even before then, and the Professors Anyidoho and Kari Dako of the English Department in the University of Ghana, Legon are so fine teachers that they taught us to know the bull crap of ambiguity and also not only play with puns but semantics.

The president mounts a platform and says load shedding is over (political promise fulfilled) and when lights go off you say it is load sharing. Who are those sharing the load and has electricity now become a bunch of bananas or a bowl of oranges?

What abject nonsense!

To add insult to injury, now there is a news item that the Electricity company of Ghana wants to be the biggest exporter of the utility in the sub region so it is putting its systems in place.

Anokwa!

You haven’t even done your homework at home and you’re thinking of exportation because some people you have been sending the power too want more and are ready to pay for it. Makes me really wonder why our tariffs keep going up and we still getting crap service from this particular company? But that is a different story altogether.

Let me give you two interesting stories in the savanna that is making me pissed off with them this morning.

So for whatever reasons (political I think), electricity was drawn to a community in the savannah. The lines and everything have been set, the people have been given meters in the community but then there is no power running through the lines – the excuse being that they need a separate transformer to serve this community.

However, as usual some miscreants have started stealing the electric wires, (oh yea! They are everywhere) and as such at best the company decides is to put power in the lines even though they still have not put a transformer, and still maintain to the people not to put it on.

See how when it is in their interest, the power runs through the lines?

Kpakpo, I’m not really surprised this ruse has worked so far for the company. The savanna people always defer to the man in the shirt and tie and sitting in an air-conditioned car so the people in the community have still not put their lights on even though there is visibly power in the lines because you can hear the cackle of static.

You cannot do this anywhere near Accra. Even when there is not power they are connecting from main source or grid.

Interestingly there have been a few casualties of cable thieves.

But my worry now is that if you say load management, and there are no heavy industrial users in the savannah, then who are we the residential users managing with?

Kpakpo second story:

You know your people haven’t gotten over the if-it-rains-you-have-lights-off policy? What? With all these number of years in existence, a little rain anywhere and you should expect your lights to go off. What a calamitey! (voice of the funny faced idiot I love)

The lights still go off like clockwork but that is not my story.

Imagine this: one phase of the lights in our community go off and thanks to technology and public service, we now have the electricity company’s customer care numbers, so we call them to make them aware the lights in the community have gone off.

They take their sweet time to assure us that they will be on their way soon but that soon never materializes even up till ten hours later.

So after almost half a day, one young man takes it upon himself to check out what the problem is and within minutes, voila! Lights back on. Problem fixed.

Now here comes the sweet part.

‘Whoever’ somebody, calls the electricity company to tell them that fellas don’t worry coming around because a young man in the community fixed the problem and within the hour, company technicians and the police arrive in air-conditioned cars in the community asking around for whoever fixed the problem to put him under arrest for tampering with government property.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson!! This is the land of our birth.

You will not come and fix the problem but then when somebody does the work you had neglected to do for over 10hrs for you, then you are out for blood.

That is not the end of the story.

Having not found whoever was responsible for fixing the problem, the technicians go back to the transformer and undo what the young man has done and by such action leaving the community literally in the dark for the whole night.

Kpakpo, it’s been hot this past few days and when we had rains and expected it will assuage the heat, the only thing the rain did was to reawaken the bugs especially mosquitoes who couldn’t breed in the searing heat.

By that single action of the technicians, the whole community was condemned to a fate of darkness in 32degrees heat of the night, not forgetting the buzzing of the bugs and the whining of the mosquitoes.

Is it any surprise therefore that I go out to walk at almost 3am and there are other people including pretty young gals just sitting outside or taking a stroll too? Looked like it was day and the most annoying thing is that it was only one phase off so your neighbor could have lights and you did not.

Got back home from the walk to see the taps running like the peeing of a newborn baby without pampers so managed to put my sleeplessness at least to good use in fetching water during the night.

Ghana and utilities!

Nii Kpakpo, the other day I walked past the school compound after seeing your sister off to work and just as I got there the children were at assembly so they started singing the national anthem. People within earshot, as far as 500m away as I could see, including porters and water carriers and even those going to the public toilet, froze in their tracks in attention to the national anthem.

I was on the telephone with a friend of mine and I just kept walking.

All I could think of was what a country we live in and if these people knew what I knew about this country I wonder whether they will have their right hand on their left breast shouting ‘God bless our homeland Ghana..’ on the top of their voices.

Damn it! Ghana is already blessed and I’m sure we are just bothering God with that constant prayer that He has given up on us.

As for the national pledge I would even go there.

With incidents such as in the second scenario, we use our systems for individual and selfish reasons and the ‘we’ factor is lost in our communal and corporate sense. It is each man for himself, God for us all cliché as that may sound.

And yet you expect me to beat myself up and die for this country?

O yea! Let them do as they please and whoever be what they will be but individuals will always survive one way or the other.

Nii Kpakpo, this country is not really bad in comparison to some of the countries around but then if we lose hope in it totally then we might as well just hang ourselves by our belts.

On the matter of hanging, what is it I hear of one of the teachers in our black and white Alma Mata hanging himself in his living room (what irony) citing economic reasons that he has too many dependants. Was he taking care of a whole village complex he had established like Fela Kuti did? My condolences to his dependants though.

Nii Kpakpo, as I write this letter, it’s a cool Monday morning and as it has rained, you know I’m writing from the battery power of the laptop. As for the phablet, the hyper activity has killed it long time but I will soon go to the vodafone café where there is almost always power (there have been a few times even the backup generator hasn’t worked) so I can continue this.

Keep up with trying to make Ghana a better place for us all whist you’re at it.

Stay blessed!

Your Cousin in Law,
Savannah Boy

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