|A generating set that is currently dysfunctionaL|
It is a perennial problem of a regime that never takes responsibility for anything - blame the victim, which Yaya Jammeh perfected to an art.
When the regime monopolizes groundnut buying and marketing without the necessary wherewithal to guarantee success, it blames the private buyers who are trying to introduce competition that benefits the farmer.
When road accidents continue to mount, the regime looks for scapegoats in bad drivers instead of attributing them to bad designs and construction standards of roads that deteriorates sooner than they are built.
In these past several weeks, there have been spats of house fires that can only be described as inferno which took the lives of four young children in one such sad incident. These young children died, not because they were left unsupervised by their parents but because they were asleep when a candle was still burning in the dead of night. Where else would you expect them or their parents to be at near midnight? It was the candle that consumed the mattress that produced the deadly fumes that snuffed the lives of these children.
They were not the only victims of fires in the past several weeks. There were no less than a dozen similar fires reported this month alone resulting in numerous deaths. Most of these fires were caused by either candles or poor electrical connections. Candles burn residential homes while bad connections burn down markets and commercial outlets.
To discount human error, including the lack of parental supervision, would be foolish but absolving the Jammeh regime would be equally foolish and irresponsible, as well, for its failure to providing safe and reliable supply of electricity after 20 years.
This is the same regime that upon receiving three generating sets - total capacity of 24 megawatts - in 2006 with great fanfare, promised Gambians that their electricity problems were over. The sets were paraded across the Greater Banjul area with the Gambian dictator leading the possession, and drummers in tow through the main thoroughfares. The sets, two of whichare identified as the “Wartsila” and “Pielstick” sets, happened to have been oldones that were reconditioned to pass as new in the unsuspecting eye of ordinaryGambians.
Under Yaya Jammeh, the National Electricity Company (NAWEC) has become insolvent – an insolvency brought, in part, by a regime that sees these public enterprises as cash cows. Under Jammeh, NAWEC has also become a drain to the national treasury. No wonder, it will be the first public enterprise that will be restructured as part of the IMF’s Staff Monitored Program still under discussion between the Fund and the regime.
The inability of the regime to provide safe and regular supply of electricity despite being at the helm for 20 years, is the primary reason for the high and mounting deaths resulting from the use of candles and other means of providing light.
It is a shame that the official mouthpiece of the Jammeh regime, the Daily Observer, is blaming everybody and everything but Yaya Jammeh for these deaths. At least, he should share in the blame.