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Opinions of Friday, 24 April 2020

Columnist: Confidence Abotsi

Confidence Abotsi writes: 'The Coronavirus case in Ghana'

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I listened to my president yesterday on his usual update on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

My frustration with the persistent delay and non-compliance with time was not really an issue for me now. Though, that was disincentive for me to stay on for an hour more. The quality of the presentation was also no longer an issue for me.

Though, there were unnecessary repetitions on One Billion USD IMF stimulus, which we vowed, as a country never to flirt with! Did I hear my president used the update to praise his Finance Minister? I will deal with that on another platform. Let's take these issues as peripherals.

What really did I observe and feel as a citizen?

My president, using data and science, lifted the ban he has imposed on Accra, Kasoa and Kumasi a couple of weeks ago - i.e. 21 days ago. When the ban was imposed in late March, we applauded the President while we made a strong case that IT WAS BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

Today, we have lifted the ban we imposed to contain the spread. Ironically, this is the time when we are seeing the spread both in space and depth! Virgin regions which were not, at the time of the lockdown, unaffected by the virus, are now carriers. For example Volta.

On the recenet April 19, 2020 update by the Prez, I observed a decision which, looking at the data and happenings around the globe, politically induced. No consideration of human safety. No regard for the health of the people. I saw a decision geared toward populism, political expediency and care-for-yourself attitude.

You announced compulsory wearing of a mask but you have not made arrangements for how this mask can be secured. One principle for enforcing COMPULSORY ORDER is that the order, in this case, the mask is available, accessible and perhaps, free or affordable(highly subsidized). I would have thought that, by the time our Prez made this order, NADMO, District Assemblies or Assemblymen might have made these masks available to households.

Our 100 million or perhaps one billion USD can be used, partly, for this. In my locality in Central Tongu, I have not seen that happening. Maybe, I am missing something.

A check from my DCE indicated that they are expecting a consignment of masks today or tomorrow! Here again, we are moving backwards! To make an order which should be enforced or compulsively complied with, it is counterproductive to make the order without the prior and comprehensive arrangement for availability, accessibility and affordability! If this backfires, we will certainly see an exponential surge in numbers.

We are actually sitting on a time-bomb. If the spark happens, perhaps none of us will be available to tell the story of negligence on the part of the leadership of the government, who owes us a duty of care.

In fact, I have not seen, in my entire life, a reckless, populist and indecisive government like this Nana Addo-led government.

It's sad we have a government that is not ready to take the tough decision that will save it's people from the havoc of a virus that even World Health Organisation (WHO) does not understand! Scientists even don't have a firm clue as to how this virus behaves.

There currently a debate as to whether the virus can re-infect someone who has recovered. There is also a global debate about whether the virus can be made and multiplied in the lab. These uncertainties should guide us in making a decision in this COVID-19 fight.

Unfortunately, in Ghana, we have political leadership that is so knowledgeable about COVID and driven by political expediency to dare to make a decision that put everybody at RISK.

In the coming days and weeks, we can only pray that God gives strength and wisdom to our health workers to stay on top of the cases, even as they battle PPEs shortages!

Lifting the ban at this stage when we are increasing at an increased rate is worrying. I don't want to believe that this decision is all about 2020 Elections. This is a RISK MULTIPLIER decision!"