The Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project which started some 30 years ago seems to be reaching conclusion, if recent pronouncements by top government officials including no less a person than His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, are anything to go by.
While the people of Sierra Leone wait patiently to see the much talked about project come to reality, recent developments relating to its completion have left many with the impression that much remains to be desired.
It is no secret that the current All Peopleís Congress administration has demonstrated much more interest in getting the project to a completion stage, but what has seemingly cast some doubts as its present status is the fact that it has been seriously politicized, and therefore no longer seen as a venture aimed at electrifying the country as part of a development agenda, but one that is largely aimed at gaining a political plus.
This is evident by the number of failed deadlines for the completion of the project since this government came to power two years running. The latest disappointment came few days ago, when His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma during his Easter public address, made a surprised announcement that the project has been completed but that "We have to wait for the rains".
This surprised statement came after months of loud promises in the media that the long awaited project will finally be finished in April this month.
Many interpreted the Presidentís pronouncement as unfortunate, more so when the people have been faithfully promised that they will start enjoying electricity from Bumbuna anytime this month.
While it is a good thing to peg a timeframe to any development project, it is always prudent to ensure that those timeframes are feasible.
What therefore the Presidentís recent pronouncement on Bumbuna points at, is the fact that a thorough evaluation of the project was never conducted before coming out with a definitive timeframe.
Based on the reasons advanced as to why the project will not be completed as promised, one may safely conclude that only one phase of the project which accounts for about 70% of the actual work has been completed.
Before Bumbuna really becomes a reality, there are several factors that remain unaddressed.
The major one is the water source which obviously hinge on the rainy season, and the fact that people whose dwellings are situated closer to high tension poles have to be relocated and of course the fact that most cables especially in Freetown are not ready for the kind of electric current that would be generated and transmitted from Bumbuna.
Addressing all these will no doubt take quite some time, maybe even exceeding the rains.
Recent indications are that it would be catastrophic if Bumbuna starts transmitting electricity without first paying keen attention to the exiting cable network, which many say is no longer at its best.
With this, one can state that it was a big blunder on the part of the government to trick the people into believing that Bumbuna would be finished overnight, forgetting almost entirely about the fact several other factors have to be looked at.
While the people are certain that the approach of the current government towards the actualization of the Bumbuna project is one of determination, they however remain unimpressed that two widely publicized deadlines set by the very government have been missed. Some say it is a shame.
¬© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.