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Opinions of Friday, 10 July 2020

Columnist: Mohammed Rabiu Adam

Challenges Ghana encounter with coronavirus (Final)

The arrival of COVID-19 in Ghana has exposed challenges, which are multifaceted as the whole country experienced the shocks of the pandemic waves especially when the government pronounced lockdown in the Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi and Kasoa, environ in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

From part one to three, we discussed such challenges to include abject poverty, housing deficit and lawlessness of the citizens. Others were the culture of abandoning of projects start by another political administration and domestic business growth, the rigidity of our educational institutions, diminished of holy spiritual men of God and poor communication skills models application. This is the final episode.

Various government institutions existence over the years were put to test by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. State institutions with the specific task to ensure the well-being of Ghanaians were virtually missing. The National Commission for Civic Education responsible for educating Ghanaians in the past years has been reduced to political issues.

As if the when citizens health status are not there, there will be political activities. The COVID-19 has deeply exposed lacuna in the governance system. Our political set up is full of antagonism.

Invariably, nationalism has been reduced to pertinent partisan viewing of perspectives. In this hardship moment, one would have expected serious and effective collaboration between political actors for the well-being of ordinary Ghanaians. No, it is rather avenues to prove who is that best option to the electorates for the coming general election 2020. National interest has been replaced with partisan interest.

Were you surprised to see the opposition party constituting COVID-19 Team and led by their Flagbearer distributing PPEs to strategic health centres in the country? Would you have rather wish to see join political team responding to the crisis at hand? Ghana belongs Ghanaians and not the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress.

All forms of communication from the two parties were all about how to and why. Arguably, from the national level to the district level, some individuals who could help in the fight against the coronavirus but their party affiliation has become a stumbling block to achieving the universal goal. State institutions that cannot function on their own without government supports were seen donating cash and other logistics to the COVID-19 Fund at the expense of their mandatory reasons underpinning their establishment.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has exposed how polarised our governance set up. In view that there will be the need some reformations as we forge forward for mother Ghana. There is no such single slogan or statement that resonates well with the citizens in order to act responsibly. The creative industry could not help in advancing the campaign against the coronavirus.

The country’s poor data management system was also exposed during the pandemic. Numerous activities undertaken towards responding to the coronavirus required readily available data for effective decision making but such codified data about citizens and non-citizens in the country were not available. The crisis caused by the global virus present such a challenge of identifying the vulnerable people in our communities for proper attention.

Currently, the key protocol to avoid community transmission of the virus is social distancing. Independent political institution like the Electoral Commission (EC) is struggling to put up register for the citizens to exercises their franchise come December 2020 general elections.

Considering how the case count is increasing and death toll, one would conclude that at the end of the registration, several people would be infested with the virus. At the macro level, the data is scattered.

There is no such institutions where one can easily walk into and have such a single codified data to serve multiple tasks in the country. As the EC is considering putting up a new register, it would have been a matter the commission sits in their office and accurate data of Ghanaians who qualified to vote are then gathered into voter register without any physical contact.

The National Identification Authority is still battling on how to capture other citizens and thereby issue them the Ghana identity card. It is high time as a country we start working towards that single-purposeful data about the citizens for indeed the COVID-19 have caused destructions and again has exposed how porous our data management systems are.