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Opinions of Friday, 24 April 2020

Columnist: Theodore Dzeble

President must apologize


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“Before then, anyone who landed at the Kotoka International Airport walked into Ghana free, with or without Corona. That we had to launch a manhunt for people who arrived in the country without screening, and then embark upon contact tracing and mining for Corona in droves ? many weeks after the harm is already done ? is an admission by Government that it has been slumbering and snoring badly on the job.”

President Trump’s management of the Coronavirus in his country is a big deal. The President has come under relentless fire for his initial lackadaisical, negligent dismissal of the pandemic as inconsequential and frivolous. He only woke up to the menacing ferocity of the disease after it had attained the accolade of dreadfulness in its rampant devastation of American lives and egregious subversion of the economy.

When he saw the wreckage the pandemic had left behind in its victorious, unimpeded procession into downtown New York, he knew America was at war, and that he was a wartime President. And you can trust Americans to take their President to the cleaners without prevarication or equivocation when it matters.

I have observed our President’s handling of the Coronavirus in Ghana, and I am tempted to say that Ghana Corona, thank God, is remarkably different from American Corona. If this were not so, we would not be so profound in our thankful celebration of just nine deaths, compared to the thousands of lives lost elsewhere!

I am tempted to think that Corona Wuhan, Corona Italy, Corona Spain, and Corona America are all in the same dreadful category of mass slaughter and death, while its category two variant ?the ones we see in the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria are the mild, lethargic variations.

By the time the virus traverse the shores of those powerfully rich and proud nations by air and by road, trudging through water and sky to downtown Accra or Lagos, the venom in it would have been overthrown by the African soul ? our poverty and pitiful infrastructure, and of course our merciful God ? so much so that the new theory of social distancing really means nothing to ordinary folks.

Like Donald Trump, it appears the President initially disrespected this Wuhan assassin. He probably thought the virus was the problem of the rich nation-states, and could make no provocative appearance or “mouth mouth” in Chorkor or Kasoa Number Two.

At the prime of the outbreak, when we needed to surround ourselves with the necessary medical accoutrement and build strongholds of refuge in readiness for the global vice ? for our elders say when your neighbor’s beard catches fire, get some water by yours ? our President was busy honoring travel obligations around the world, delivering speeches of elegant eloquence and steadfast erudition all over the place!

Like DT, he did not know at the time that he was at war, and that Ghana was at war, and that he is a wartime President.
I can swear by the last pesewa in my pocket that I heard the Minister of Health on radio, telling Ghanaians how combat-ready we were, should Corona make it to our shores alive. He yapped (this is the word we used in our childhood to describe bragging) about everything, and assured us his Ministry and for that matter Government was on top of things, and that there was nothing to fear or worry about.

But the cat is out of the bag ? everyone now knows how brutally unready we were! It took so long, like forever? late March or thereabouts ? to launch a mandatory Corona investigation and quarantining regime for travelers to Ghana.

Before then, anyone who landed at the Kotoka International Airport walked into Ghana free, with or without Corona. That we had to launch a manhunt for people who arrived in the country without screening, and then embark upon contact tracing and mining for Corona in droves ? many weeks after the harm is already done ? is an admission by Government that it has been slumbering and snoring badly on the job! And now we know too well that almost all the Corona cases trooped into the country through the Airport, in the full glare of government!

Setting aside all matters relating to our official slumber, I am happy to commend Mr. President for his lockdown series of presentations. The interactions were fluid, relational, competent, and quite factual. It would have been greater still, if the broadcast were live. Why should he not be talking to us directly as our father during crisis? This situation does not require editorial props.

I also thought it was an oversight to leave the children totally out of his presentations. Being the ones who had to sacrifice their school for the misdemeanors and transgressions of this government, it would have been magical, had he addressed them directly and warmed their hearts with hopes of going back to school. My daughter’s disappointment each time the President failed to speak directly to her was quite unnerving.

Overall, I give him a cool 60%, for the damage control campaign. Not too bad!

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