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Akosombo Dam spillage: Don’t politicise support for victims, Akufo-Addo cautions

President Akufo-Addo said he has a constitutional duty to offer help to all Ghanaians who may be in distress because of the Akosombo spillage, without discrimination

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has cautioned the 14,000-plus victims of the Akosombo Dam spillage, and Ghanaians in general, not to politicise the support to counter the effects of natural disaster offered them by the government or any other agency or body.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking today (Monday 16 October 2023) to inhabitants of Mepe in North Tongu, one of the nine districts badly affected by the recent spillage of the Akosombo Dam, when he visited the community to commiserate with them.

He told them that, as the president of the republic, he has a constitutional duty to offer every necessary and available help to all people living on Ghanaian soil, without favour or discrimination.

“I want to assure you that the government is going to do everything in its power to assist and to make sure that things are all right,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“I think [I should tell] everybody here – and I hope you take the message all across: North Tongu, South Tongu, Central Tongu – that when these things happen and the government acts, politics does not come into the matter at all.

Residents of Mepe displaced by the Akosombo Dam spillage

“When I took the oath of office as president, I took the oath of office as president for every single individual in Ghana, of all the people in Ghana, all districts, whether they voted for me or not.

“Once I have taken oath of office, I am the president of all the people,” the president said.

“So, Togbe, you and your elders, I want you to understand that when something like this happens and the government acts, the government is acting for Ghanaians. I came here because Ghanaians are having difficulties and suffering and it is my responsibility to try and help.

“If it is a question of counting who votes for me and who doesn’t vote for me, I shouldn’t be here, because you don’t vote for me. But that is not my concern. I came here this afternoon to express my sympathy and to commiserate with all the people in the Mepe area.

“I chose Mepe because this is the area that has been most affected,” the president added.

President Akufo-Addo meets residents of Mepe displaced by the Akosombo Dam spillage, together with the Volta Regional Minister and Chief of Staff Frema Osei-Opare

VRA response

In his speech, President Akufo-Addo said it was important to be “grateful for the work of the Volta River Authority (VRA)”.

This includes efforts such as “the preparation they have been making over the years in such a situation, the simulation exercise, and all the things they have been doing to prepare for this, including the sensitisation”.

“Because of the good that they have done up until now, by the grace of God, not one single individual has lost his life in this crisis,” President Akufo-Addo said, praising the staff of VRA.

Impact of spillage

Tracts of land, including farms and settlements downstream from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams, have been flooded following the spillage of excess water from the two dams, which generate about one-third of Ghana’s electricity supply.

President Akufo-Addo meets residents of Mepe displaced by the Akosombo Dam spillage, together with the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, and the Chief of Staff, Frema Osei-Opare

The VRA started the spillage at the Akosombo and Kpong Dams in the Eastern Region, on 15 September, following a rise in the water level in both reservoirs caused by a sharp increase in rainfall.

The spillage affected almost all the communities along the Lower Volta Basin, resulting in widespread power cuts in the affected areas.

The GRIDCo substations in Sogakope, in the Fievie Traditional Area of the Volta Region, have been inundated, leading to the shutting down of the stations.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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