At the time of writing this piece the past Saturday evening in the quiet setting of my home in US, the major media news network reports are all over place indicating that the United States of all most medically-advanced country has become number one of the reported cases of the global pandemic Coronavirus: the number at the time of writing this piece is about 277,205 people (CDC).
Based on numerous assessments from world-class medical/scientific community so far, it is clear the disease is highly contagious and hence thrives well in crowded areas, including communities where people ignore caution and display recklessness. Unsurprisingly, United States has become the leading country with the coronavirus because the country’s current leadership in the initial stage of the spread of the viral disease did not show decisiveness in that some of the top decision-makers here in America arrogantly described it as “China disease.”
Now here we are, United States with its vast and advanced epidemiologic architecture has been caught napping while the coronavirus seems to be steadily challenging or eating deep into the country’s healthcare system. To a greater extent, what is playing out in the United States today in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic speaks volumes about indecisive leadership and ignorant approach to crisis management.
Clearly, one may be wondering why this column is deviating from its current topic about President Akufo-Addo and ex-President John Mahama and instead focusing on what is playing out in the faraway United States in face of its initial mishandling of the coronavirus threat. Admittedly, if anyone entertains this kind of curiosity, that individual has a valid point. However, one also has to realize that this particular write-up requires some contexts in order to get a full understanding of the ongoing discussion.
The point is, left to Mr. Mahama, Asiedu Nketia, Ofosu Ampofo, and the rest of the power-hungry but ideas-bereft NDC present generation, President Akufo-Addo, and his government should have sat back and indecisively approached the coronavirus pandemic similar to the way President Trump did in the United States before the disease takes hold here in America.
President Donald Trump initially dismissed the coronavirus as “China disease” and now the United States is now the leading coronavirus-infested country in the world, sadly. It is true President Trump did not really take the disease seriously until many Americans started contracting it. This is why the present writer is trying to draw some parallels here in terms of what will happen or what would have occurred in the event of the disease hitting Ghana hard without the necessary and elaborate preparations beforehand. This is what Nana Addo is definitely trying to do here.
Pathetically, it is on record that some leading members of the main opposition party/NDC were pushing President Akufo-Addo to evacuate all Ghanaians living in China when the news broke that the Asian giant nation is under coronavirus attack. The Italian government made that mistake of evacuating many of its citizens in China at the time and the world now knows what the deadly outcome has been as a result of the mass evacuation decision by the Italians. Thank heavens that Nana Akufo-Addo did not give in to the NDC’s infantile and outward showmanship that has increasingly become its trademark, especially, ever since former President Mahama made known his insatiable quest to run for the president again.
Some of us know the NDC presidential candidate Mr. Mahama and his campaign crew will do and say anything to curry favor of many undiscerning Ghanaian voters to win what Mr. Mahama is all about: Raw political power! A couple of weeks ago, a plethora of Ghanaian media outlets, including the Daily Guide, carried news report that the General Secretary of the nation’s leading opposition party Mr. Asiedu Nketia was quoted as saying President Akufo-Addo’s “ban on public gathering” in an attempt to stop or minimize the impact of the coronavirus is a ploy designed to help the ruling NPP rig the 2020 general election.
Of course, there are two ways—at least—one can analyze or look at Mr. Asiedu Nketia’s comment here: First, besides its laughable and self-serving sensibilities, the comment was coldhearted and pathetic. The reason is that the remark speaks not only to the general election mindset of Mr. Asiedu Nketia but also that of the current NDC leadership in terms of winning power, even at the expense of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Suffice it to say, Mr. Asiedu Nketia’s theatrical and cynical comment regarding the Nana Akufo-Addo’s alleged plot to use coronavirus to rig the upcoming 2020 elections comes down to the following question for all those who think or may be tempted to think like Mr. Asiedu Nketia: In 2016 when then NPP presidential aspirant Nana Addo soundly defeated the then incumbent President John Mahama, was Ghana facing the threat of coronavirus?
Why would any sane or serious-minded person believe the current president or any decisive leader needs a creepy help of an existential global epidemic, such as coronavirus to win elections, when the opponent (Mr. Mahama) was easily beaten in the last general elections? Honestly, what major significant changes have occurred on the part of former President Mahama’s electoral prospects that make him more formidable candidate than 2016? Indeed, the circumstances that precipitated his sound defeat are still there, as we write.
Coronavirus or not, ex-President Mahama is a spent force who is desperately hoping against hope. Many of us hope that Nana Addo will stay on course and not waver to the unpleasable triumvirate cabal comprising former President John Mahama, Ofosu-Ampofo, and Asiedu Nketia who have “specialized” in weaponizing every national issue to destroy the purposeful leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo just to win power again to put Ghana back into the IMF’s bosom.
Meantime, while many Ghanaians are complaining—as usual and inflamed by Mahama’s NDC—concerning the partial lockdown announced by President Akufo-Addo to proactively stem the tide of the coronavirus, right here in United States I can say with authority that the college where I am teaching now is shut down. In fact, all in-class school, college or university courses/activities across the nation have been switched to online; so, everyone is working from home, whether one likes it or not. Most, if not all major cities, including superstores, have been partially closed down. We are talking about the hi-tech-based and the richest nation whose government can afford to pass “two trillion coronavirus relief bill/law” few days ago to help working Americans endure these trying times.
Let some of these “me know, me know” Ghanaians keep throwing tantrums at the president for responding decisively to the moral calling of his high office of the presidency!
The United States have the means to bounce back relatively easy, how about beloved Ghana if about 100,000 people (God forbid) were to contract the virus? Ignore former President Mahama and his NDC’s never-ending drama to score cheap political shot. Ghanaians’ lives are more important than any politician’s ego.
Bernard Asubonteng is a US-based writer, and a political science lecturer.