Sandema Residents Protest Over ‘Dumsor’, But VRA Cites Bats As Cause of Problem
Residents of Sandema in the Builsa North Municipality in the Upper East Region who have protesting over erratic power outages, popularly called “dumsor,” have now been told the cause of the incident – bats!
According to the residents, one of the reasons officials of the VRA in the area gave for the erratic power supply when leadership met them was that the problem is due to interferences of bats on the power cables.
But the residents who are unconvinced about the excuse by the VRA have rejected it and embarked on a peaceful demonstration yesterday Monday 14, to draw the attention of the powers that be to their plight.
Theophilus Awennisiak Akoba, the convener of the protest, said the explanation by the VRA was untenable as he believes having bats on electric cables alone cannot lead to power outages they witness to.
“So, I told them that if bats are one of the reasons for this frustrating situation, then the 37 Military Hospital area in Accra should never have power because of the countless number of bats there,” he noted.
He said information from the VRA also indicated that one line supplied power to the municipality, the Builsa South District and the YagbaKobore District of the North East Region.
“So anytime the line has an issue, all these three districts are affected,” Mr. Akoba said.
The municipality in the past four months has consistently experienced unexplained and frequent erratic power outages, especially at night, which has rendered residents helpless and grumbling among themselves about the worrying trend.
The paramount chief of the area, Nab Azagsuk Azantilow, in a recent interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), expressed concern about the situation, saying “We do not like the frequent power outages. It creates problems for us.”
Theophilus Awennisiak Akoba told the GNA that the demonstration was simply to draw the attention of duty-bearers to the frustrating power outages in the area.
He said the situation has led to the damage of electrical appliances of residents, plunged the entire township into darkness affecting their businesses at night.
“Mostly at night, we do not get stable power supply and people’s electrical gadgets get damaged. We are poised to make duty-bearers hear our plight and initiate immediate solutions to solve the problem,” he said.
On security to ensure a peaceful exercise, the convener in an interview ahead of the demonstration said the organizers met the Municipal Police Command and assured them of maximum security to ensure a peaceful exercise devoid of any disturbances or distraction to any public property.
“The Command assured us of maximum security, and also asked for our support to ensure a peaceful exercise. Tomorrow is a market day in Sandema so the Police were concerned that the demonstration could affect economic activities of traders.
“So we are mindful, and will conduct ourselves well in other not to disturb economic activities of other residents,” Mr. Akoba said.
He said the demonstrators were expected to converge on the main Sandema lorry station, and move to the Chief’s Palace to present a petition to the Traditional Council.
From there, they would use the National Health Insurance office road towards the main road that leads to Chuchuliga, take a turn on the left and move to the office of the VRA to present another petition.
He said the demonstrators would proceed through the Sandema Township to the Municipal Assembly to present a final petition to the Municipal Chief Executive, and return to the start-off point where organisers would address the crowd to climax the exercise.
Mr. Akoba noted that the demonstration was one of several measures organisers had in place to ensure the problem was solved, “For now, we will not put out our next line of action if we do not achieve results with the demonstration.”
MP Commends residents
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, has commended the organizers for the decision to stage the protest.
In short statement sent to The Anchor, the MP said “I commend highly the organisers of the demonstration that took place earlier today, August 14th, 2023 in Sandema.”
He explained, “the purpose of the demonstration was to draw attention to recent frequent power outages negatively affecting the Builsa North Municipality, the Builsa South District, and the Yagaba area.
These outages are disrupting lives, affecting healthcare delivery, destroying electronics as well as choking socio-economic activities in Buluk and Yagaba.”
Dr. Apaak insists, “The demonstration is justified because attempts to get this erratic power supply fixed has yielded no sustainable outcome. NEDCo must do the needful by finding a permanent solution this time,” adding, “We are also Ghanaians. It’s our right to enjoy regular power supply.”