Dear Queen Elizabeth,
Happy New Year Maa Lizzy. I know you started the year well, at least from what I have been reading in the news. I understand your grandson, Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate, are expecting another baby. That must be exciting news, right? At least it is an indication the prince is putting his bed to good use.
And whilst I congratulate you on that, I must also acknowledge your personal difficulties in having to deal with allegations that the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, had an inappropriate sexual relationship with one Virginia Roberts in the United States, and an intruding press scavenging for details about it. I hear royal “Spin Doctors” are working their behinds off to ensure the report is quashed. Good luck on that. I pray the outcome looks good for you.
Anyway Maa Lizzy, I hope you remember me? I am the young man from Prampram, a small town stashed away in the eastern part of Accra, who, in 2014, wrote pleading to you to re-admit Ghana back into the British Kingdom, had the Scots agreed to a “YES’ vote and gone away with Alex Salmond to form an independent country. Sadly, my wishes and prayers did not come to pass. In fact, my letter might have even unintentionally opened their eyes to kick against the “YES” campaign.
At least from Ghana’s point of view, agitation for independence has not guaranteed economic freedom nor an improved infrastructure left behind by Britain. Rather, it has brought pain, anger and disillusionment to the majority of us citizens, as the nation’s natural resources have been openly raped in the full glare of all. Perhaps this is what the Scots saw and advised themselves accordingly.
Maa Lizzy, I am here with a special request. I do not know if your aides or your citizens here in Ghana have told you about “Dumsor” and the negative impact on the country? The term is not a new Azonto dance, Kpanlogo or Agbadza, no. It is incessant power cuts which are grounding businesses to a halt and causing untold hardship to its citizens. I bet you did not envisage such a situation more than thirty years ago, when you said goodbye to this country.
We have not been hit by any natural disaster. No earthquake, tornado or tsunami, none of the above. We are not suffering from any curse from the gods (maybe there is one which I may not be aware of) and yet the ship is sinking faster than a coin thrown into the ocean. The centre is no longer holding.
Maa Lizzy, can you believe that government hospitals have no power to work? Doctors have been forced to use torchlight or lights from their mobile phones to operate on their patients. Two babies are reported dead in a hospital, in a town in the Eastern Region, because the hospital power went off rendering the incubators useless. There could be more that have not been reported. That is the badge we carry on our chest. A once proud nation has been reduced to a banana state, so far as energy consumption is concerned. I am not moaning or whining about the problems in this country, no. I am merely stating facts.
Perhaps if you doubt me, you can check with your boy here, Benjamin. He is a living testament to the “Dumsor” that has afflicted this country. He will tell you how he has to run both his office and home on gensets, something he has never been used to.
Most of our state officials are happy to show up at work in their Toyota V8s and other expensive cars, take their paychecks and associated kickbacks while they look on unbothered only for the problem to fester like a sore. They are not using their brains to think. They have become SPECIALISTS IN SIGNING AGREEMENTS as well as hallucinating about “Ghana gradually becoming an energy hub in Africa.” They are dead to the realties on the ground, Maa Lizzy.
For instance, there is a mother of two who works as a seamstress opposite where I live. Her shop has been closed for over two weeks because she does not have the electricity to power her sewing machines. Just about a week ago, her oldest son, who is 8, was happily loitering in the neighborhood. My small mouth decided to ask the little man why he was not in school. “My mother says she does not have the school fees for me,” was his reply.
The mother is not happy about the situation but did not have the money. Not that she is unemployed, lazy or an idiot, no. She is self employed and though she has honoured her part of the bargain regarding pre-paying for power, she does not have it. The state has woefully failed to honour its part of the bargain.
Her depressing story is one of many others in this sinking ship whose captain is even tired of making promises to rescue the population from the approaching storm. Employers are downsizing their employees because there is nothing for them to do – after all they cannot pay people just to show up at work. However there are those who regularly show up at work yet do no work. Theyare the newly appointed Minister of Power, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, the Minister of Energy Kofi Armah Buah, and their deputies. Call their phones and the next thing you get is a message that reads: “I am in a crucial meeting discussing our energy challenge and can’t talk right now.” Ironically, all these meetings have not resolved the problem.
Maa Lizzy, I plead with you to make available to Ghana five of your many technocrats to come and think for our officials. They are dead to ideas and no amount of fasting will bring them back to life, if they are not willing to kick themselves in the groin. I write on behalf of the rest of the population to consider our plea.
I know you have enough trouble on your own but I am on my knees and, with tears in my eyes, begging you to pull this hapless nation of nearly 24 million people out of this energy quagmire. I plead with you.
I am signing off the letter with Whitney Houston’s “On My Own.”
An unhappy ex-colonial subject.