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Opinions of Thursday, 26 March 2020

Columnist: Amankwa Benjamin Kwame

Coronavirus: The prisoners of sorrow and lamentation


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A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. The tumult however soon subsides as time makes more converts than reason. The COVID-19 has brought most countries and the world in general to the realization that humans are susceptible to nature and its forces. One important lesson we have learnt is the need for advance preparation in terms of medical research, technology and education.

Men are strangely inclined to fear what they do not understand. This is a grand secret upon which several imposers on mankind have relied for the success of their frauds. Fear is born out of lack of knowledge. The fear of the COVID- 19 pandemic is partly due to the inadequate knowledge of scientists, doctors and medical researchers on the virus which will help and guide them in developing vaccines and anti-virus to deal with it. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fear of most developing countries has turned into paranoia.

This is the case in most African countries where weak leadership, lack of strategic planning, greed and corruption has plunged the citizens into uneasiness. Effective leadership is key in the total development of a country. In China where the virus first broke out, we saw the preparedness of the government and leadership in building hospitals within weeks and despite the severity and the causalities, the Chinese government commendably did all it could in fighting the virus. Advance preparation and effective leadership in China has in no small way contributed to the fight against the coronavirus. In Italy, scientists and doctors are locked in laboratories researching on possible ways of combating the pandemic.

The leaders in most countries in Africa like Ghana are however asking their citizens to pray. I believe in the power of prayer but I also believe that mechanical problems require practical solutions. Did the Bible not allude to the fact that faith without works is useless? But how can we blame the Ghanaian leadership for example.

A leadership that prioritises the building of cathedrals to the establishment of medical research centres and hospitals. The government of Ghana is building a cathedral that is costing the taxpayer millions of cedes for the citizens to pray whilst countries like China, United States of America and Singapore are investing in nanotechnology, medical research, network and communications among others.

Is it not clear that most African countries like Ghana have laid the foundations for their own failure? Whilst others establish hospitals and laboratories, we build cathedrals, whilst they manufacture cars and aeroplanes, we pray and whilst they develop their human resource in science and technology, we produce prophets and men of God to lead prayer. What then can we do in the wake of a pandemic such as COVID-19? Of course, we can only pray that those European countries that build the hospitals and research centres develop the vaccines needed to deal with the virus so we can go, cup in hand to beg or purchase same.

A wise man once said that, the pleasures of the world are chiefly folly and the business of it mostly knavery, and both nothing better than vanity. When we consider the men of pleasure tearing one another into pieces from the emulation of spending money, and the men of business from envy in getting it, we see their forgetfulness of death as a necessary condition of humanity as an ignorance most palpable. COVID-19 is here, it is a reminder of death and the folly of men not realising that the precautions and preparations for longevity in life is and should be of paramount interest to all humans.

As we cry and lament on the devastating effects of COVID-19, African leaders should listen to the clarion call to invest in the things that matter, Hospitals, good drinking water, electricity, technology among others. They should create opportunities for the young who are eager to contribute to the development of their countries. This call is not only necessary for their own survival but for the sustenance of humanity.

For if we die, we have no use of wealth. As it is impossible that any man endowed with rational faculties and being in a state of leadership and freedom should willingly agree, without some motive of love or friendship, absolutely to sacrifice his own interest to that of another, it has become necessary to impose upon the leaders of Africa, to persuade them that their own good is designed, and that they will be gainers by developing their own citizens and institutions of state.

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