Jul 8, 2009, 7:20 AM
President, first of all, since this is the maiden edition of this column after
it was stopped following the unaccounted killing of its founder, Deyda Hydara,
about 13 years ago, we say congratulations.
Belated congratulations on your swift victory to presidency.
We hope you have the stamina to right the wrongs that your age-mate, Yahya Jammeh, might have committed during the past 22 years and take the country forward. Expectations are high, Your Excellency.
Mr President, now that the honeymoon period is over, Gambians want results not just the usual continuous declaration of commitment. After spending three months in office, we want to see the laying of foundations that would bring the needed results.
One thing that Gambians want badly addressed is the sporadic electricity supply. Of course, we know you are not oblivious of the problem since at your inauguration, you said your government is working towards resolving the electricity crisis.
But Mr President, barely three months down the line after making that declaration, that most welcome commitment, you recently told the BBC that Gambians have to be more patient because the issue of electricity “has been like that for the past twenty, thirty years”.
Mr President, you promised to stick to your promise of serving for only a transition period of three years or rather the coalition agreement obliged you to serve for three years. But 3 of the 36 months of the transition period are gone but the situation of electricity leaves a lot to be desired.
You have made enough of commitments to solve this conundrum but each time you do, you always fall short of how you would do it.
We are sure you have taken note that since you took over, the situation of electricity is getting worse.
Mr President, we understood that during the Jammeh-era, The Gambia had 80MW of electricity, about just half of the projected demand of electricity. But this amount has even further now dropped to 40MW.
You need to significantly increase electricity generation to meet the demand which has continued to increase due to several factors, including rising urbanisation rate.
Mr President, another aspect of the electricity problem is the tariff. As it is, The Gambia has one of the most expensive electricity in the world, an EU study has revealed.
The electricity tariff cannot remain at the levels at which it is; it is simply beyond the reach of many Gambians even if there is enough generation capacity. The high cost of electricity in the country limits access to energy for the population as well as for the development of the private sector.
Once again, Mr President, we hope you would adequately work on the electricity conundrum in the country: the people are dissatisfied with the current state of epileptic electricity supply.