Opinion: One Village, One Dam Policy Agenda May Need to Be Revised by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

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The writer, Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

(Note: As of this writing, it had just been announced that President Akufo-Addo intended to review the quality of construction of most of the village and township dams being undertaken by the government of the New Patriotic Party, for sustainable development, in the northern part of Ghana.)

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I have not listened to the documentary of the environmental hazard allegedly created by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s “One Village, One Dam” policy initiative that was reportedly produced by a Bolgatanga-, Upper-East Region, based radio station called A1 Radio; but from the one news report that I read, written by a journalist by the name of Ustice Baidoo, about the same, it makes better sense for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration to consider constructing bigger irrigation and potable-water supply dams that are capable of catering to the needs of more towns and villages, on a more technologically and environmentally sustainable scale in the long haul, than the present cheaply constructed and mosquito-breeding puddles, which have the potentiality of creating more environmental hazards and health problems for the people of the five regions in the northern-half of the country).

As worthwhile examples, the news reporter tells us that the Bolgatanta-based A1 Radio documentary piece highlighted the Vea and Tono dams, located in the Upper-East’s regional capital of Bolgatanga, and Navrongo, the Kassena-Nankana district capital of the Upper-East Region, as well, as two dams that supply several towns and villages in their respective localities. In essence, rather than pockmark our landscape with too many long-term unsustainable “dugouts,” that is the word of Mr. Baidoo, the reporter whose analysis of the documentary being discussed, secondhand herein, piqued my interest, the New Patriotic Party Government could rather more productively consider building one fairly large-scale dam in every district instead. Of course, the feasibility of such a remarkably ambitious program depends on the sizes of the rivers and creeks in the various localities.

What the foregoing means is that some districts may have to be provided with two or three dams instead of just one dam. Reporter Baidoo also made a significant point that ought to be borne in mind, even as Ghanaians head to the polls come December 2020. And it is the scandalous, but not altogether surprising, fact that passionate appeals sent to the previous John Dramani Mahama government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the Vea and Tono dams to be repaired and upgraded had been met with stone-cold deaf ears. This should inform residents of the present five regions of the North that if they are looking towards the Second-Coming of the self-proclaimed “Northern Star” and the SADA Guinea-Fowl Scam-Artist, they would be waiting for a very, very long time or they had better reconsider such wishful thinking.

Indeed, while generally Mr. Baidoo’s analysis of the aforesaid documentary dispassionately exudes an enviable sense of patriotic progressivism, nevertheless, the writer, who also claims that the Vea and Tono dams had been constructed in the 1970s, ought to have also conducted some historical research to establish precisely under whose watch or government the Vea and Tono dams had been built. My good guess here is that very likely the Vea and the Tono dams were constructed under the watch of the Ignatius Kutu Acheampong-led junta of the National Redemption Council (NRC), later to be renamed the Supreme Military Council (SMC-I). indeed, it was during this period – between 1972 and 1978 – that then-Col. Acheampong and his agricultural policy right-hand man, namely, Col. Frank George Bernasko, launched the much-celebrated Operation Feed Yourself (OFY) Program, arguably the most successful program of its kind in postcolonial Ghana.

It was also during this era that the Acheampong-led NRC-SMC-I junta facilitated the construction of the Kpong Dam and the Dawhenya Irrigation Dam and Project, among a plethora of others around the country. I have also suggested several times in the past that it would not be altogether out of place for President Akufo-Addo to consider renaming a national landmark or a monument or two after Gen. IK Acheampong, his rather inauspicious overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia-led Progress Party (PP) government, of which Nana Akufo-Addo’s father, Justice Edward Akufo-Addo, was the Ceremonial President, notwithstanding.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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