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Opinions of Monday, 31 August 2020

Columnist: Dr. Daniel Ato Aidoo

Ogyakrom diary: What happened to NDC's coronavirus response team?

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I am still trying to understand why Ghana's largest opposition political party- the NDC, formed a Covid-19 response team, disguised it , and woefully failed to support government effort to reducing the disease.

Evidently, and true to their shape and form, it turned out that the team was just a partisan machinery that had much to do about nothing, except to design a framework of despair, panic, and criticism. It was positioned as a background noise.

The NDC's approach to social accountability and crisis management should not be our yardstick since their strategies have not been properly examined by researchers, not only for the purposes of today's argument , but what is to be expected in the future. This is a requirement in comparative politics

I cannot make a convenient conclusion, but allow me to make an intellectual guess, which I think is acceptable - gradually, Ghana is witnessing a clueless minority totally unprepared to govern this great country in the not too distant future.

This alternative really scares me.

Distinctively, managing a crisis follows a basic routine of response, reaction, and recovery policy. That has always been the best strategy because it ensures that recommendations go through different concerns before a solution is implemented. Presto!

A combination of politics and crisis management does not augur well for better healthcare delivery. Narrow politics also militate against good intents, and that was exactly what NDC propagandists set out to do. They looked good from afar, but far from good.

When I restrained myself from exposing the mess associated with this so-called Covid-19 team, the thought of cadres who were on a destructive pilgrimage resurrected the need to start a conversation on insincerity and propaganda. I could no longer swallow a grain of wheat.

The bad news is that, when any political party sets out to politicize the masses, the assumption has been, that such an agenda will not have the right ingredients for permanence and durability.

What the NDC team failed to appreciate was that, contemporary politics and crisis management follow pragmatic modern communication techniques. And that these techniques are totally different from propaganda tools sharpened with suggestiveness and force. The party failed to acknowledge these viable constructs, thus they brought attention to bear on the negative discursive practice of propaganda.

Political observers and health workers could also attest to the fact that response to covid-19 in Ghana had illustrated focus on isolation, social distancing, containment, and quarantine. This definitely explains Ghana's low mortality rate, and how the government has been able to use functional pandemic management initiatives to strengthen public health systems.

Does the NDC really appreciate these laudable interventions, or it is still in that unappreciative mood?

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is symptomatic of all political parties in Ghana. Political actors associated with the present government also activated the same mood, and were also unappreciative of some of the good works completed by the NDC from 2008 to 2016.

Otherwise, I'm sure NDC's presumptive "diagnosis" of this Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana was just a smokescreen. The party's recommendations, indeed, were poorly communicated, mimicked government strategies, and totally disregarded what was already effective in controlling the pandemic.

It is a statement of fact than an opinion, that what the NDC did with its Covid-19 team insufficiently demonstrated commitment. It appeared the party's stance was just a tangled web woven with deception.The fact that the team declared to be trustable doesn't mean it was. It exemplified insincerity behind a political curtain, an agenda that still remains opaque.

In essence, they wrapped up what appeared like a present, but failed to give anything that could supplement government efforts. It was politics as usual.

I know I'm not apolitical. But it'll not be wrong to conclude, that many Ghanaians are intrigued with how the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and his team, have handled this pandemic through efficient mobilization of PPE, incentives, creation of response centers, and effective care management.

And if the thanksgiving to our President will not be perpetual, it will be a useful response, a matter of recognition, if Ghanaians express gratitude, pointing to the fact, that at least, there is a sense of existence, which they have not lost sight of.

Do I need to say more about this superfluous NDC Covid-19 team, which was a lackadaisical arrangement put together to discredit and distract the government of Ghana's efforts? No.

What I have done is to give the pundits something to chew on.