A mockery of the Jammeh 22-year rule

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What came out from The Gambia’s electricity road map unveiled by Nawec on Thursday 23 November 2017 has made mockery of the Jammeh bragging about wanting to transform the country into a city-sate and makes it the best in the world.

The Nawec message about the state of our power generation sector also sent some shock to all of us gullible Gambians and non-Gambians who were buying into Jammeh’s game plan of trying to change The Gambia for the better.

Our nerves were touched upon hearing that the country’s electricity system was old and prone to breakdown as a result of “decades of under investment and negligence”.

We were made to think again hearing this message because going by the bragging of the former president reformer, Yahya Jammeh, our electricity sector should not have had its chief weakness and epileptic service in recent times blamed on decades of under investment and negligence.

Considering the premium Jammeh claimed to be placing on building a city-state and develop Gambia over his 22-year rule of our dear nation it is assumed that one of the upper most priorities of his government should have been to put in place or realise a reliable and regular electricity supply in the country. All serious president reformers we have known around the world, Africa in particular, have tried very hard to put their power generating sector on a strong footing thereby ensuring reliable and regular electricity supply, which is inevitable in building a prosperous nation.

Without reliable electricity supply, no nation can attain sustainable development. With unreliable power supply in a country, the growth of businesses and industries, education, health and general human development, among other sectors, will be constrained and stifled.

The benefits of power supply to national development cannot really be over emphasised.

So if today our electricity supply machinery is saying that such a sector has over the years been neglected and has become obsolete, that in itself smacks a big failure of the government that administered this country for over two decades.

A country like Ghana under a conscious leader decades ago, in the person of Kwame Nkrumah, set the pace for an improving power generation mechanism and electricity supply that nation is enjoying today. Nations like Ivory Coast and Mali are also on the high side in maintaining reliable and regular electricity supply for their peoples. Even Sierra Leone, which has gone through severe catastrophes and setbacks in the last two decades, has been able to turn around the level of its electricity supply to great extent over the last ten years under the Koroma government. So what was the Jammeh administration doing over his 22-year rule, that today our electricity sector is still suffering from serious epilepsy due to decades of under investment and negligence.

It is true that maintaining standard electricity involves huge capital investment, but “over the years there has not been that intervention that would address the electricity problems in the country”.

It is but essential that a thorough post-mortem has been done on our power generation sector by Nawec and the Barrow government that has led to the unveiling of an electricity road map that has outlined actions to stablise the system by restoring generation to at least 70MW by early 2018, scale up investments in generation, transmission, and distribution, as well as to commission independent power projects from 2018 to 2020, expand access and increase generation to 300MW by 2025.

We hope this challenge is met, very much so with “the strong support from the international community to help government and Nawec achieve 24/7 access to electricity by all Gambians”.

“Electricity can transform people’s lives, not just economically but also socially. “

Piyush Goyal