The 2012 presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, has called on Ghanaians to avoid politicizing the recent commissioning of the first phase of the Bui power plant and rather focus on the positives to be derived from its commissioning.
Dr Nduom, who was the Energy Minister at the time the Kufuor administration took concrete steps to begin work on the decades-old plan to construct a hydroelectric dam at the Bui Gorge in the Brong Ahafo region, was speaking in the wake of calls by some NPP activists for the Mahama administration to properly recognize the efforts of President John Agyekum Kufuor in bringing the Bui dream to fruition.
President John Dramani Mahama last Friday May 3, 2013 commissioned the first unit of the dam expected to produce 133 of the expected total of 404 megawatts of power to augment energy supply in the country. However, former President Kufuor was not invited to the commissioning, sparking a political storm.
Government later explained that the former leader would be invited to the final inauguration after the 74 year old two term former president had expressed his disappointment at the failure to invite him on Asempa FM’s Eko Sii Sen programme.
Speaking from Washington, USA on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show programme of May 6, 2013 Dr Nduom urged Ghanaians not to taint the Bui power project with the usual politics.
Dr Nduom pointed out that plans to construct a hydroelectric dam at Bui had been on the drawing board since the days of the Kwame Nkrumah presidency, and succeeding governments and bureaucrats had worked over the years to bring it to fruition.
“I wish we would not bring politics into this. Many people have helped to bring the Bui dam into fruition, from the days of Kwame Nkrumah to date. Some of us also helped. I think what is important is to ensure that it is completed, so that we have the necessary electricity, and also ensure that those whose lands have been affected by the construction of the dam are properly compensated and cared for.”
“‘This NPP did this, NDC did not do that, argument is not important. Ghanaians are tired of it,” he insisted.
The John Agyekum Kufuor government signed a contract with the Chinese engineering and procurement organization, Sinohydro in April 2007, to construct the dam that would add a little over 400 megawatts of power to the national grid.
Preparatory construction began in January 2008, with construction on the main dam beginning in December 2009. The dam is expected to be completed by December 2013.
It will be the third major dam in the country after the Akosombo and the Kpong Dams. It would flood about 20% of the Bui National Park and impact the habitats for the rare Black Hippopotamus as well as a large number of the native wildlife species. It will also require the forcible resettlement of 1,216 people, and affect many more.