There is a Ghanaian saying to the effect that it is when one is distressed, in trouble or confronted with disaster that one is able to differentiate between true and trusted friends as against hangers-on.
When people extend charity, goodwill and fellow-feeling without expecting any direct reward in return, they must be appreciated and their deeds extolled.
The people of Tamale have been in distress since a rainstorm hit the metropolis and left in its trail a tale of destruction of private and public property. This is the time that the people are looking up to their true friends to help them sail through their moment of grief and distress.
Thankfully, well-wishers, including the government, the National Democratic Congress and corporate bodies, have responded to the appeals for help. They are contributing materials and cash towards the rehabilitation of persons and property to enable the victims to get back on their feet.
Those who are contributing the relief items are doing so because they want to see to the rehabilitation of the rainstorm victims.
However, the danger is that if care is not taken in the distribution of the package, some individuals may be considered more important than others on the basis of some discriminatory notions.
That is our interest and motivation in joining the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, in cautioning members of the relief committee to demonstrate utmost sensitivity in the disbursements under the Tamale Disaster Fund.
Tamale has had its fair share of divisive tendencies, based on chieftaincy, religion or political party affiliation. But when the disaster struck, it defied all these avoidable traps.
Accordingly, in the disbursement of the fund and distribution of relief items, the underlining factor must be the human necessity, rather than the party, religion or royal gate that the victim belongs to.
We should not bring oil to fire or punish the victims twice by deliberately denying them their due under the fund for any baser sentiments. The sharing must be informed by nobler objectives of helping them to live through their painful period.
Those who have responded to the appeal have done so on the basis that the disaster has brought some stress on the victims, not because of any other narrow reasons.
It is our hope and prayer that more groups and individuals would respond to the appeal. The committee, on its part, must complement and compliment the goodwill by ensuring that the items are, indeed, given to those who need them, more because they have suffered losses and not because of their individual personal backgrounds.