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Strange appointments

June 27, 2012

AS indicated in the editorial above, a government trying to keep the required numbers in parliament often finds itself in a tight spot. It must tackle governance issues on one hand and cater to the demands of allies or other influential parties on the other. However, whatever its political compulsions, good governance should head the government’s agenda. That the current set-up has failed on this front was made clear by a story in yesterday’s edition of this paper on the questionable appointments made in the critical energy sector. The appointments to ‘key’ jobs in the collapsing power sector appear to have been given on the ‘recommendations’ of politicians in complete disregard of the laid-out criteria. Similarly, those who have quite clearly been unable to deliver so far have got extensions in their services because of their political connections. What was the government thinking in adopting such a non-serious approach to what is perhaps the most critical sector in the country?

Growing electricity shortages are holding back economic growth and leading to massive job losses. Little wonder that the people came out on the streets in droves in recent weeks to protest violently. If electricity shortages, largely a governance issue, are not removed another bout of rioting cannot be ruled out. The government still has time to improve its credibility by tackling the woes of the power sector on a war-footing. For this it would have to stop interfering with postings and transfers in Pepco and the distribution companies (DISCOS). The top slots will have to be filled by competent people with complete authority to cut system losses, stop power theft and recover receivables from defaulters. Unless political interference in the management of Pepco and the DISCOS is brought to an end, our homes, shops and factories will remain without electricity.