Monday, 17 June

Yvonne Nelson leads #DumsorMustStop protest II

General News
Yvonne Nelson's dumsor must stop vigil

Demonstrators in Ghana have called for the immediate end to the power crisis that has plagued the country for several months. The outages, termed #Dumsor, have significantly affected people and their businesses, including students.

Actress Yvonne Nelson, who led a similar protest against the power crisis in 2015, spearheaded this demonstration as well, urging the government to resolve the issue. Despite feeling unwell, the actress marched in the streets, declaring, "We do not deserve this kind of governance."

Protesters, clad in black and red shirts, voiced their frustration with chants of "enough is enough." Organisers of the seven-hour vigil stated that this protest was a strong message to the Energy Minister and the President that the public is fed up with the ongoing power crisis.

Protesters carried placards with messages such as "Ghana deserves better, fix #Dumsor," "#Dumsor is killing our dreams," "#Dumsor is destroying businesses, fix it, Nana," "We cannot afford generators, fix #Dumsor," "No more darkness, no more excuses," and "No light, no progress."

For Yvonne, a viral video from a public hospital where the power went out in the labour and admission wards, leaving mothers and their newborns to sweat in the heat, was the trigger for mobilising people for the protest on social media.

"That video broke me, and I thought to myself, I could be in that situation one day. What would I do? That's why we held this vigil, to get the government to fix the problem," Yvonne told journalists.

In the 2015 #DumsorMustStop demonstration she organised, many celebrities and public figures participated. However, at the vigil on Saturday, 9th June, many of those celebrities did not show up or support the protest on social media. Only two or three, including actor and comedian DKB and actor and politician John Dumelo, attended.

Yvonne said she was not surprised that most of the celebrities did not show up. "I sent invitations to most of the celebrities who attended the 2015 demonstration, but some did not reply to my messages, and others gave strange and surprising responses. So, that’s what happened," Yvonne told journalists covering the vigil.

She added that she would not sit idly by while things deteriorate before speaking out.

Another organiser of the vigil, Henry Osei Akoto, said the protest was to urge the president to restore power and that the arrogance of the Energy Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, must stop.

According to him, Ghana only needs 750 megawatts of power, but the government has been unable to provide it. "All we are saying is we need our light. If you do not give us our light, we will not let you sleep," Henry Osei Akoto summarised.

Other participants, including students, stated that the situation has worsened. "We cannot study, even when we have tests and exams to write. Sometimes, the power goes off in the exam hall," one student from the University of Ghana told BBC News Pidgin.

Cold store operators and metal smiths also complained that their businesses are suffering severely, and the government needs to fix the problem instead of making false promises.

The organisers plan to submit a formal letter outlining their concerns to the president, expecting that things will change soon. Otherwise, they will take further action to pressure the government to fix #Dumsor.

Background

For at least the past three to four months, people have experienced frequent power outages without prior notice, affecting them and their businesses. Some have complained that their household appliances have been damaged due to the power cuts, while others have lost their businesses.

However, the government insists that the situation is not a power crisis but rather a minor issue with some transformers. Critics say the government’s claims are not true.

In April this year, President Akufo-Addo ordered the suspension of electricity exports to neighbouring countries in response to the issue. For many decades, Ghana has supplied electricity to Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso. The head of the energy committee in parliament, Samuel Atta Akyea, stated that the president issued the order “in the interest of the Ghanaian people.” Atta Akyea noted that this decision might have consequences, but the priority is the Ghanaian people.

Impact of the Power Crisis in the Country

Since then, citizens have called for a load-shedding timetable so they can plan their lives and businesses, but the government has said it will not provide one. Some areas have been in darkness for days and nights.

Residents of Accra, Kumasi, Koforidua, Tamale, Takoradi, Ho, and other places have been suffering from power outages. However, Energy Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh stated that the electricity company will not release a timetable, claiming it is unnecessary. He told journalists at an event, “People who ask for a power rationing timetable wish bad for the country.”

Source: Classfmonline.com