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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Columnist: Mohammed Rabiu Adam

Unhealthy partisan developments in Ghana’s fight against Coronavirus


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The outbreak of the coronavirus also known as COVID-19 has revealed something about Ghana’s political party system. The two main political parties in the country, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and New Patriotic Party (NPP), have successfully turned the COVID-19 crisis into a game of chess in their bid to woo the electorate in this year’s general election. This partisan cacophony has reached a boiling point where the main political parties are engaging in the usual banter of accusations upon accusations.

This phenomenon undermines nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism or unity of purpose is a necessary element in this time of battle against an invincible enemy, COVID-19. The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has rolled out measures spanning from legislations, logistics procurement, the constitution of COVID-19 response teams, a meeting of key stakeholders, implementation of social interventions and above all injecting of hope in the citizens while assuring the nation of government’s commitment to containing the spread of the virus.

The interventions are to mitigate the hardship COVID-19 has brought onto Ghanaians devoid of party colours. The choice of democracy as the best form of governance in this modern era comes with its challenges as political characters always want to remain the best option in the minds of the electorate at all times. The politicians once in power usually tailor projects and programmes towards retaining power. Similarly, the opposition makes efforts to ensure that government in power is unpopular in the eyes of the populace. This makes democracy in our part of the world different because the coded agenda in most cases is about party and not national interest.

The on-going controversy surrounding distribution of food to party people involving the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, Dr. Zenator Rawlings, Member of Parliament for Klottey Korley and Paul Adom Otchere is a clear evidence of partisan perspective in responding to the crisis. The partisan tentacles assumed an unimaginable proportion when the unused state funded facilities become the last resort for handling the crisis at hand. While the government on one hand is indirectly refusing to publicly acknowledge the work of the past administration, some activists are even of the view that the facilities were not funded by the central government therefore credit could not be given to the past government.

Strangely, the opposition communicators are also calling for recognition for the investment made in infrastructural development particularly in the health sector. With the back and forth debate between the two major parties, one wonders if Ghana belongs to NPP and NDC or Ghanaians? Again, incumbent Members of Parliament seeking re-election and parliamentary aspirants across the political divide are seen directly donating and distributing branded personal protective equipment, hand sanitisers and Veronica buckets with their posters and party colours to the various hospitals and health centers. One would have expected to see partisan politics relegated to the background so we could in unison defeat the disease but the Ghanaian politicians are doing otherwise. Let us be mindful that countries with better healthcare system have recorded higher cases and death. That should ring a bell of unity in the minds of politicians to guide them in their approach to handling the pandemic. Notwithstanding, the ugly partisan perspectives in the distribution of food items and PPE, some political actors deserved commendations for being there for the people in this hardship moment.

There are many people in the informal sector of the economy that had to cater for themselves during the lockdown. A group of people worth mentioning are teachers in the private schools. Is there any national plan for them and others? As we continuously keep on demanding more interventions from the government, we should as citizens be ready to adjust and bit the bullet when the coronavirus crisis is over as the global economy is experiencing drastic downward trend.

It is essential for us to continue to observe all protocols regarding the fight against the spread of Coronavirus, as we entreat politicians to put patriotism and national interest above all their activities and pronouncements to galvanize the citizens in this difficult fight to end COVID-19.

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