The Government has stated that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC's) claims that the coronavirus situation in Ghana is worsening shows clearly that the party is clueless about the pandemic in the country.
It would be recalled that yesterday, May 7, NDC minority in Parliament, addressed the media on what it termed “worsening COVID-19 situation and the national response.”
But responding to the Minority today on behalf of Government, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says the NDC minority was “clearly merely invited to offer cover to their Flagbearer who has been badly bruised by the politicization of the COVID-19 Pandemic started by him.”
According to him, the misinformation, deliberate distortions and warped analysis put out by the NDC flagbearer has been bemoaned and roundly condemned by many well-meaning Ghanaians.
He recounted that few days ago, the Presidential Candidate of the NDC, John Mahama in one of his COVID-19 political broadcasts on Facebook, embarrassed himself by ignorantly questioning why the government had accessed an IMF facility, claiming that no other African country had done so – an outright fabrication from a man who occupied the high office of President a few years ago.
He says “Twenty (20) other African countries, including all the ones Mahama specifically listed, have accessed the IMF facility of $18 billion for African countries to help cushion them through the crisis.”.
Indeed, the Minister added, the facility is interest-free and without the suffocating conditionalities the IMF imposed on Ghana when forced by a toxic mixture of incompetence and insensitivity, Mr. Mahama and the NDC went to the IMF for a bailout and policy credibility.
“It is clear that the NDC minority was only called in to do damage control,” he stated.
Whiles it may ordinarily be a good thing for the NDC minority to have found their bearing and a voice several weeks after Ghana started confronting and containing the COVID-19 pandemic, it is pathetic that even upon hindsight the minority is still unable to offer any pragmatic alternatives but merely rehash those same lame queries that Mr. Mahama has asked during his political broadcasts on facebook, according to him.
Several weeks into COVID-19 and after several media engagements; both at the Presidential and other levels, it is disappointing that such deep levels of unawareness is being exhibited by the minority, he said.
It is disappointing for instance that the minority is unaware that across the various Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) public education is ongoing, according to Mr. Oppong Nkrumah.
He stressed that it is shocking, even embarrassing, that the NDC is still latching onto their very bogus proposal that the government should have repatriated Ghanaian students from Wuhan!
“The students themselves have spoken to several media outlets and shown gratitude for the much wiser decision of the Akufo-Addo government. This week, schools have in fact reopened in Wuhan! And, for the records, not a single Ghanaian student in China was infected by Covid-19.”
“And yet instead of conceding that the government exercised far superior judgement – as we always have – they keep repeating this bankrupt and expired proposal.”.
He says under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, monthly stipends for Ghanaian students studying abroad on Government Scholarship have been paid upfront and in advance.
“Yes, the second quarter i.e. April, May and June have already been paid. This administration inherited an accumulated arrears of one year from the NDC and Mr. Mahama.”
“Whiles we decline the invitation of the NDC to engage in a blind and partisan banter on COVID-19, it is also imperative that for their education, we restate some of the facts around Ghana's very effective and successful COVID-19 Response Plan.”
“Very early into the global outbreak, the President of the Republic constituted a COVID-19 Task Force made up of technical persons, including Epidemiologists, Virologists, Medical Doctors, Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service Officials, Security Heads etc.”
He added that the COVID-19 task force is coordinated by a former Deputy Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Asamoah Baah.
It is this task force of persons of reputable background knowledge, and expertise that advice the President on the policy options in fighting COVID-19 and not politicians masquerading as medical doctors in partisan COVID-19 teams, he added.
The claim from the NDC that “Science has been relegated to the background” and “President Akufo-Addo seems more interested in his re-election than in the safety and life of Ghanaians” is false and without basis, according to him.
“The NDC cannot be allowed to approbate and reprobate on this matter. In one breath they claim, “The scientist at Noguchi and all other testing facilities deserves this nation's thanks for the commitment they have shown in this national effort so far” and in another breath indict them by claiming that they misuse scientific terminologies without empirical basis.”
“H.E. the President has led from the front and continues to address the nation honestly and regularly. Our health experts have also been enabled to offer regular updates and briefing. The claim therefore from the NDC about a certain lack of transparency is mind boggling.”
“President Akufo-Addo addressed the Nation and announced Ghana's preparedness way before Ghana recorded its initial cases.
“The President announced an initial investment of GH¢35 million into our preparedness.
” This has now being ramped up to some $100 million for Ghana's response. The claim therefore by the NDC that the Government made “no provisions for the eventuality of an outbreak in Ghana is not just unfortunate but also unfounded,” he said.
“It is regrettable the minority in Ghana's Parliament has lowered the bar on public discourse by making serious and yet unsubstantiated allegations.
” They claim that blatant falsehoods have been told to garnish the administration's image without providing an iota of evidence.
“In asking the question couldn't Ghana have close its borders earlier, the NDC Minority suggest that by January 20, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global health emergency. What they deliberately did not add was that the WHO recommended that there was no reason for measure that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade at the time.
” For the records, the WHO declared COVID-19 global pandemic on 11th March, 2020.
“Subsequently and when there was reasonably sufficient basis, Ghana's borders were close on March 22, 2020.
“For their information, the strategy objectives of Ghana's COVID-19 Response Plan includes;
- Limit and stop importation of cases
- Detect and contain cases
- Slowdown community spread
- Care and treatment for sick
- Limit impact on Social and Economic life
- Enhance Domestic Capacity and deepen self-Reliance,” he added.
To limit and stop importation of cases, a number of steps were introduced including, Enhanced screening and surveillance at our points of entry to ensure that persons with manifested symptoms were identified and isolated, he noted.