His Unfulfilled 2016 Campaign Promise Leads To Violent Attacks In Somanya
President Akufo-Addo’s 2016 campaign promise to reduce electricity tariff, because it had become more expensive than rent in the country, has put staff of the state-owned Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in harm’s way almost six months after taking over the administration of the country and failing to honour the vow.
Last Friday, angry residents of Somanya and its environs in the Yilo Krobo Municipality of the Eastern Region, embarked on a massive demonstration against Akufo-Addo government over high electricity bills, vandalizing the company’s vehicles, smashing the Somanya EGC office and nearly injuring some workers of the company.
Ahead of the 2016 election, Mr. Akufo-Addo and his party; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) made electricity tariff one of their central campaign message with the then opposition leader, publicly promising to reduce the bills for Ghanaians when elected. But the government appears to have deliberately forgotten the pledge.
The demonstrators made up of old men and women, but predominantly youth, wielding clubs and machetes amidst chanting war songs, besieged the Somanya office of ECG to demand explanations to the high bills and reinstallation of ECG meters to their home, as well as workplaces of the demonstrators, whose meters were taken out.
Many homes in the Yilo Krobo and Manya Krobo areas, have not been receiving ECG bills for long periods ranging from Three months to two years.
Homes that have been receiving bills too, have had their bills shoot up between 500 to a 1000 percent. The ECG workers, lately turned up in homes with accumulated bills and suddenly started disconnecting those homes without reason.
Residents have been disappointed at the Akufo-Addo government for not reducing the tariffs as promised, due to this development, the residents have been meeting to plan a demonstration against the government for such ballooning tariffs.
The demonstration was slated for this week, but last Friday morning, ECG workers went to the workplace of one of the organisers of the impending Demonstration, Jonas Tetteh, (aka Dendenden) who is also an Assembly member to disconnect him and took away his meter.
They proceeded to his block factory, disconnected him and took out that meter as well.
The youth upon seeing this action by the ECG workers, chased them away leaving their two vehicles.
They deflated all tires of both vehicles and smashed the windscreens and then marched to the premises of the Somanya ECG to demand the reinstallation of the meters and restoration of power.
It took the intervention of the MP for the area, Lawyer Kofi Amoatey for the meters to be released, but the release happened after state properties had been vandalized.
The ECG, had promised to respond to the issues raised by the demonstrating youth within a week.
One woman cried…” The Bills are still going higher but Nana promised to reduced them. Why is Nana not reducing the bills?” ” I use a bulb and a standing fan but my bill for February is Ghc40”.
“I have not even received that of March and April, Another woman said.
The youth demands that government reduces the bills as promised or no ECG worker would be allowed to touch any meter in the area. Workers of ECG in Somanya now live in fear, they have locked up their offices and left.
Citi FM also reports that its partner station at Somanya in the Eastern Region, Rite FM, temporarily faced the wrath residents protesting against ECG on Friday.
“It took the intervention of the police to ensure that we the journalists at Rite FM were safe,” a reporter with the station, Austin Ofori Addo, said on Eyewitness News.
The protesters had earlier allegedly assaulted one of the Rite FM reporters during the demonstration against the ECG and this prompted some criticism from the radio station, according to Mr. Addo.
“We condemned that situation and I think they were not happy about that. So we were here when we saw them in their numbers coming to the studio so we called the police and now I can say we are partially safe.”
The Rite FM reporter was allegedly assaulted, because the protestors were not happy with him taking pictures and video of their actions, according to Mr. Addo.