June 14, 2024

Opposition Members of Ghana’s Parliament and celebrities failed to attend the recent #DumsorMustStop vigil, contrasting sharply with the robust participation seen eight years ago. The event, led by prominent actress and activist Yvonne Nelson on June 9, 2024, aimed to pressure the government into ensuring a consistent electricity supply for the nation. Despite the critical nature of the issue, the turnout was notably sparse, especially among political figures and celebrities.

The vigil, held to draw attention to the persistent problem of power outages, saw only a handful of celebrities and a few familiar faces from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in attendance. This lackluster participation stood in stark contrast to the 2015 vigil, where the then-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) demonstrated their solidarity with a strong presence of MPs, highlighting the severity of the erratic power supply at the time.

In 2015, the NPP Minority ensured that most of their MPs attended the vigil to underline the urgency of the power crisis. However, the current opposition failed to seize this opportunity, with their absence being glaringly obvious. The NDC Caucus, which has been vocal in criticizing the Majority Caucus over power supply issues, did not support Yvonne’s campaign, leading to disappointment among observers and participants.

Whitney Boakye, a participant in the vigil, expressed her surprise and disappointment at the NDC’s absence. “They make a lot of noise about Dumsor in Parliament, so I am shocked that I didn’t see them take advantage of this vigil to drum home their case. It is an undeniable fact that we are faced with challenges with power outages,” she remarked.

Comedian DKB speculated that his colleagues’ reluctance to attend might be due to their unwillingness to criticize a government from which they have benefited. He suggested that many in the creative industry have received support from the current administration and, therefore, feel compelled to remain silent about the ongoing issues.

“You pose yourself as neutral, and we believe you. We did it during the NDC’s time; the NPP is here, and we want to do it again to get our rights, yet they are nowhere to be found. Of course, we know that you’ve shown party colors and benefited from it; therefore, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you. There’s no problem showing your party colors. Some of us are neutrals; we don’t care and will come out to speak at the right time. So don’t act like a neutral when you’re not, because it is annoying and deceptive. We are here, so where are they?” he questioned.

Radio personality Nana Romeo also criticized the apparent hypocrisy among Ghanaians, noting that power outages impact everyone, regardless of political affiliation. He lamented that many people remain silent about the issue because their preferred political party is currently in power.

“We are not truthful in this country. No one can tell me we are not suffering. Nine years ago, the people rose against the government. After nine years, the challenges have resurfaced, and no one wants to support the vigil; instead, people are justifying it. I now understand why people say the NDC suffers when they are in power. Look at the numbers at Yvonne Nelson’s vigil. I even got sad. If the lights go off in the morning and come back at night, it means there is no production or work done during the day. There is hypocrisy in the system, and that was evident at the vigil.

“This was supposed to be a nationalistic agenda to make the country’s leaders aware of the suffering of the Ghanaian people, but the attendance was poor. This is why we cannot develop as a country. We will continue to suffer because we do not want to hold our leaders accountable for their actions,” he said on Accra-based United Television.

The low turnout at the #DumsorMustStop vigil underscores the complex interplay between politics and advocacy in Ghana. As the nation grapples with ongoing power challenges, the need for a united front to address these issues remains more critical than ever.

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