Mon, Nov

COVID-19 Has Exposed Us

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It is a crying shame that 60-plus years into self-government, we have Ghanaians who still rely on pit and pan latrines. In a country where every MP, every Minister, every party or state functionary and every pastor goes around in V8, this is a shame indeed.

The dreaded pandemic means many things to many people. For me, the picture of Black Cuban doctors arriving in Italy in response to an SOS from this European country of white men and women, was a moment of triumph for the Negro Race.

As the Italians stood in ovation, relief written on their faces that doctors (they didn’t mind that they were Africans) had arrived to their rescue, I affirmed to myself that the Black spirit didn’t die; it only slumbered.

It is a sight that should be played back at European soccer stadiums to open the eyes of those small-minded blue-eyed white skinned supremacist ignoramuses who, in this 21st century still think that white is intrinsically superior.

They should read about America’s NASA, for example, and learn about black-skinned scientists whose intellect has sent, and is sending, humankind into space, starting from the three African American ladies popularly referred to as ‘The Human Computers’, to the likes of Ghanaian rocket scientist Ave Kludze and robotics engineer, Ashitey Trebi-Ollenu.

I am not sure those young racists in Europe have history books that tell of the exploits of Africa where, 30-50 years before Christ, their forebears of renown, among them Greek Philosopher Aristotle, Mathematician Pythagoras and Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, came in search of knowledge.
We are, however, not the only ones with a past. Who would believe that in the 1800, one-fifth of the entire population of Sweden fled starvation to the United States! Of the number, only 20 per cent returned.

Swedish doctor and author, Hans Rosslin, who discloses this fact in his book, ‘Factfulness’, also reminds us that 15-40 million Chinese starved to death in 1960 “in what is on record as the world’s largest man-made famine.”

Both Sweden and China have bounced back: Africa can, and will also, bounce back. This resolution, however, should not forever remain a wish.

It is a crying shame that 60-plus years into self-government, we have Ghanaians who still rely on pit and pan latrines. In a country where every MP, every Minister, every party or state functionary and every pastor goes around in V8, this is a shame indeed.

It’s been more than 10 years since AMA ordered that every household should have a WC. It has not been enforced because elected officials are afraid of the people — because they have the vote!

How can we talk about handwashing when a great number of us do not have access to potable water? Is it an impossible dream to have, at least, one mechanised borehole in one village?
For crying out loud, drinking brownish water into which humans and cattle bathe and urinate, was not our aspiration when we shouted for self-government and why we queue every four years to elect a President and MPs. It is a shame.

Yes, the poor will always be with us, but the poor should not be with us only as voters. At the minimum, every district hospital should have a full-fledged Emergency Unit. I thought that was a more critical priority than building the University of Ghana Medical Centre, good as it is, in a city which already has a Regional Hospital at Ridge, Korle Bu, Police and Military hospitals. Equip the districts and the people would not need to run to Accra.

In 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo banned his appointees from overseas trips. If Ghana did not come to a standstill during the period of the ban, and considering that each appointee (minister, MP, DCE et al) travels Business Class (minimum fare: US$7,971 or GHc45,000) plus a per diem of US$10,000.00 for a week, not to mention accommodation in three or four Star hotels, it is not impossible to dream of One district, One emergency unit.

To do or not to do anything about this depends on whether or not we have any conscience left. Donating two-three months salary at this time is tokenism.

I have said it four times on this page, and I will repeat it today, that while Sanitation Days are good, they, plus fumigation et al are only scratching the surface. The most critical solution, the panacea, is attitude change, from lovers of filth to a realisation that sanitation is life. What better time to do this education than now, when the average Ghanaian is afraid to die!

Why should the President invite market queens to Jubilee House to thank them for allowing the markets to be fumigated!!! It’s unthinkable. They should be thanking government. Why would they not go back to their old ways, assuring themselves that “government will do the cleaning for us.”

As presidents, as ministers, as DCEs and MPs, we should be ashamed to be ruling in a country where the markets abound in rodents.

But I understand that we have to please market women — instead of shaming them — because they have the vote. It is also because we have to assuage our guilty conscience for failing, in 60 years, to provide the average Ghanaian with the basic necessities of existence.
COVID-19 has exposed us.

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