GHANA president John Mahama has run into trouble after suggesting the country’s mobile phones were the cause of debilitating blackouts in the West African country.
“Ghana’s population is 25 million, but statistics indicates that mobile phone lines in Ghana are over 27 million and these phones are charged every night, and this is one of the causes of the load-shedding,” Mahama is reported to have said while addressing Ghanaians leaving in The Gambia last week.
His Communications minister has since sought to dissociate his boss from the comments, but the criticism have not let up, many terming the views as inciting and insulting.
The Electricity Company of Ghana has a particularly tough load shedding programme: it cuts power to residences in the capital Accra for 24 hours, then restores it for 12 hours, leading to frustration and turning the issue into an election hot potato.
Ghana, billed a African economic success story, also cut its growth forecast for this year to 3.9%, from the 4.2% chalked up last year, as the lack of reliable power supply dented investor confidence.
The country also bought 80 megawatts of power from neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire to ensure Ghanaians watched the national soccer team’s matches at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
That powerful effort was not enough, as the national team lost in the final to their supplier, Cote d’Ivoire.. .