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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

Potrog and the neverland ranch


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Days of both intermittent and constant water shortages are trending in the Accra-Tema conurbation.

Yet, “the president of the Republic” himself, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, who has appointed a minister for sanitation and water resources, says Ghana’s approach to managing the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the country’s low COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death rates, some of the lowest in Africa and the world, according to presidency.gov.gh.

POTROG made the spurious claim at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on 15 May.

Here is one report on Ghanaweb culled from GNA:

“ ‘Our policies are working,’ he said, and entreated the citizenry to work assiduously to maintain the current [regimen of strict] maintenance of personal hygiene, social distancing and the mandatory wearing of nose [face] masks.”

Let us speak truth to power, no grovelling sycophancy; no banku and tilapia here: The president reduces the grandeur and prestige of his high office when he makes such bogus remarks.

While some have counted six days of creation followed by a sabbath without water, other “citizens not spectators” have lived with the intermittent supply since at least the pandemic began.

And these are people living within COVID-19 hotspots in urban areas, not even counting where boreholes or streams and bilharzia infested water are the norm.

Gone are the days in ghana when spin doctors will jump into radio studios and urge the public to instead blame the president’s speechwriters for such faux pas.

My three-year-old nephew in Mamprobi, Accra, a COVID- 19 hotspot, where tap water has not flowed for weeks in certain neighbourhoods, can perfectly parrot hand washing for the minimum 20 seconds required, under a Veronica Bucket.

But when that Veronica Bucket, an interventionist strategy which has been with us for some 30 years is empty, are we the adults not looking foolish anytime he asks us critical questions?

Neverland Ranch is our characterisation of a society led with unsustainable strategies which do not follow science nor data; produce huge debts and where poliTRIKcians never grow up – no, are not willing to grow up.

Those who drafted POTROG’s speech came up short yet again!

Just tune in to a regular news program on TV or just search online about the water situation in this country, and you will realise that the president and his hirelings have developed the Peter Pan Syndrome.

These poliTRIKcians have travelled to virtually every corner of ghana, and as a minister once told me, the president knows the situation better than I do because he has informants in every village in ghana.

Therefore, we can firmly conclude that the president and his hirelings fool no one but themselves.

This is a country with an average life expectancy of 60 years, mired in squalor, yellow fever, typhoid, perennial cholera, malaria; where for at least 20 years running, tap water is not drinkable; a country where sachet water, equally unwholesome, is exchanged with bare fingers on the streets, and is also exported across our borders……and you are among the best in Africa and globally you say?

Oh, this must be Neverland with its fair share of COVID-iots who read what we write and often make amends- we have evidence to that effect.

We welcome them back from Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, where they restarted a maternity project abandoned for 47 years.

That is very good and we wish them every success.

And we charge you Mr President, please restart all the abandoned water expansion projects now: your Neverland Ranch needs water for “personal hygiene” – in obedience to your command.

In a country, where cattle drink from the same sources as human beings; where boreholes are dug within communities that practice open defecation; where only about 15 per cent of all housing/structures have water closets, we refuse to consider as credible any statement about our global leadership in tackling COVID -19, a condition where basic handwashing with soap and running water is non-negotiable in combating the disease.

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