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Opinions of Saturday, 18 April 2020

Columnist: Dennis Bempong

Coronavirus: The Deadly pandemic and the inexcusable politics

Coronavirus has affected lives, countries and economies Coronavirus has affected lives, countries and economies

As the Coronavirus virus continues to ravage on and carry it’s victims to their early graves in Asia, Europe and most recently in God’s own land; America, Ghana and most part of Africa have been largely spared, at least for a moment.

But as days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the deadly virus is popping up everywhere in Africa and early figures show that its effect in Ghana and the rest of Africa will be devastating if not catastrophic as compared to other parts of the world. Latest figures from the John Hopkins University puts Coronavirus cases across Africa at 18,000+ with 966 deaths. A death rate of 5%, the highest anywhere across the globe.

So the figures gives a picture of a catastrophe looming that’s the reason why we need a collective and non-partisan effort in tackling this pandemic and mitigating it’s outcome. This virus no knows political party , neither does it know any intra-party political factions. It’s deadly, it’s costly to our economy and cause panic across communities.

I have seen people get sick with this virus and recover, I have seen people die from this virus and I have seen a whole community turning its stadium into a makeshift morgue in anticipation of death in coming weeks. It’s not funny, it’s scary and we need to collectively educate each other, provide the necessary tools to curb the virus if any, and make sure that our communities are safer and guarded against this virus.

However, the impending 2020 general elections has in fact thwarted the progress of some politicians in the fight against this virus. They preach social distancing but hardly practice same. They are quick to take advantage of the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian who can barely feed himself/herself in this pandemic and turn it into a political self aggrandizing, portraying themselves as the later day saints, saviors and messiah with the keys to this pandemic.

The double standards being exhibited by some of this naive politicians is even more deadly than the virus itself. It’s a recipe for disaster and an avenue for the virus to even spread more.

No one is discouraging any politician to stop sharing goodies to the needy; in fact it’s our money and they have to do it for the needy, but the right protocols to social distancing must be adhered to and new innovations to reaching out to the poor in our communities must be employed.

But we live in a political era where once you criticize someone you become his enemy so many people have decided to shut up. Our silence makes us more complicit and when the virus hits us hard, it won’t differentiate between who was silent and adhered to protocols or who did otherwise. Our loved ones will be gone, we’ll be devastated and there will be nothing to hold on to.

It is our responsibility to hold those in power to their words rather than castigate those who raise concerns about alarming behaviors. If we are to achieve a society where everything works, it must starts from us. We must demand answers and when our leaders; out of arrogance refuse to give us the answers we need, we must call them out for who they are.

You cannot be a politician and ran away from scrutiny. This is not a time to pat anyone on the back. We are in desperate times and desperate solutions and probing questions must be employed.

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