Politics

Parliament divided over whether to call power outages ‘dumsor’ or not


Parliament was divided on Wednesday when the House debated the energy sector portion of the 2019 budget statement presented by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta two weeks ago.

While the Minority insisted that the current power outages being experienced across the country is ‘dumsor’, the Majority disagreed.

Joy News Joseph Opoku Gakpo was in Parliament and reported that the Member of Parliament for Kpando Dela Sowah pointed out that the Energy Minister had admitted during a press conference on Tuesday that the power outages were a return to ‘dumsor’.

According to the MP who is also Deputy Ranking member on the Mines and Energy Committee she was “happy that the Energy Minister admitted that ‘dumsor’ is back. Previously we have been fighting but now he has admitted we are in ‘dumsor’.”

But the MP’s comment was challenged by the Vice Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee, George Duker who made a point that he was present at the press conference held by Peter Amewu and never during his presentation did he admit that ‘dumsor’ was back.

Describing Sowah’s claims as a misinformation, the Tarkwa Nsuaem MP demanded a retraction of the comments.

But Sowah will not barge, compelling the Speaker Prof Mike Ocquaye to insist that she withdraws the statement.

“I will want you to withdraw unless you have facts. ‘It is a fact’ may be different from ‘someone said’ if you want to say it is a fact, keep it that fact yourself but don’t say that the honourable minister has said that,” Prof Ocquaye said.

 

Ghanaians are still experiencing regular power outages 

She conceded and withdrew the statement.

The Energy Minister, Peter Amewu who later joined the debate addressed the issue and clarified what he had said during his press conference

“Mr Speaker never did I say that ‘ dumsor’ is back. During question time, I was asked whether we are going to expect ‘ dumsor’ and the answer given was ‘technical issues that trigger intermittent power supply as a result of transmission failures should be expected because these are unforeseen contingencies.

“These are the words we used, I never said we have returned to ‘dumsor’,” the Minister corrected.

Even after that clarification, the Minority was not satisfied. The MP for Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Andrew Dery insisted that Mr Amewu had been exposed by the media following the claims that he made at the press conference.

Eventually, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu had to intervene insisting that per the rules of the House once the Minister had clarified his position, his stance should stand.

The First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Wusu who had just taken over from the Speaker had to give a second directive that the House must stick to what the Energy Minister had said.

“If you have what exactly the Minister said to contradict him, I will admit it, otherwise we go by his words. Please be guided.”

But what exactly did the Minister say at the press conference? Here is a transcribed version of the question asked and the answer Mr Amewu provided.

Journalist: Hon. “Minister, would it be fair for me to say that ‘dumsor’ is back?”

Minister’s response: “Well, when we put off the light you say ‘dumsor’ isn’t it? In the past three years it was ‘dum kraa’ we are not in an era of ‘dum kraa’, the lights may go off as we are witnessing but I can assure you that that long period that our opponents want to capitalize on will never come because we are managing the system.”

It appears the best judges of whether or not ‘dumsor’ is back are the general public whose electricity keeps going off and on.