COVID-19 continues to assault communities at a magnitude that is difficult for government to ascertain. We do not have a clear picture of the emergency because, unfortunately, there is an underinvestment in medical equipment required to prevent a further spread of the virus.
We desperately need to construct more test centres so people can access health services and receive clarity on their status. This would enable government strategize with credible information and remain ahead of the curve.
We are in a race against time. The public-health measures enforced, without which we cannot effectively put this health crisis to an end, such as the closure of businesses and restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, are also a recipe for an economic catastrophe. We can only afford to be counterproductive for so long.
While it is a matter of time, adequate resources and proficient management until the pandemic declines, the economic hardship and political turbulence it may unleash could alter the Ghanaian social order drastically.
In Accra, the next two months are critical and it is important for government to shore up economic support for the underclass.
The periodic Accra floods are around the corner. This could further devastate deprived citizens and slum-dwellers already faced with a pandemic that has collapsed the informal sector.
The floods would increase pressure on scarce state resources and certainly diminish the capacity of government to safeguard the economic well-being and security of citizens.
The danger here is that misgoverned citizens would begin to question the legitimacy of political authorities, which may be rendered ineffective and unable to honour its social contract, and this could escalate into civil disobedience.
This is why I am painfully surprised that elements within the present government, with access to relief items, have decided to deal with the crisis on a partisan basis.
It is shameful that government officials demand evidence of membership or affiliation to the present government, from down-trodden citizens, before grants are disbursed.
This short-sighted approach would breed chaos. It would widen factions in rural communities, deepen discontent between partisans and discourage peaceful coexistence. This can undermine the social solidarity and cohesion needed to confront the crisis.
The needs of citizens who are proven members of the New Patriotic Party aren’t superior to the needs of every other citizen.
If the abysmal performance of government continues, I am afraid the capital city may shutdown by June.
The author, Vincent Djokoto, is a Business Executive and Columnist.