The Managing Editor of New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has reacted to some ‘inconsistent’ and ‘dishonest’ claims by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo, the veteran journalist punched holes in a number of statements made by the party and some of its members including National Communications Director, Sammy Gyamfi and Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Kwabena Minta Akandoh.
At the peak of the outbreak in the Chinese province Hubei, the NDC led a campaign for the evacuation of Ghanaian students in China.
The government turned down those requests and instead sent relief items to the students.
With the situation in China normalizing and no Ghanaian casualty, Kweku Baako holds that the NDC has been exposed.
He described the NDC’s approach as ‘fear mongering’ and an attempt to create a negative image for the government.
“This call for us to bring back our brothers and sisters in China, the context disturbed me a bit. They made it look like the government was insensitive and uncaring. There was an element of scaremongering and it was based on that fact that the virus started there and if we don’t go for them, they were going to die”.
“I listened to some of the students and here in Ghana the NDC MPs also generated some amount of fear and to cast the government in a character of being insensitive. What I’m here now is that none of the students was affected so where was the fear. The students are in the danger zone but were not affected so why was the fear mongering by the NDC. The fear generated by the NDC has no bases, he said.
He also described as ‘untrue’ a supposed claim by Mintah Akandoh that the World Health Organization in February, rated Ghana’s preparation for the virus as zer(0).
Citing a fact-finding report by the Media Foundation for West Africa, Baako insisted that WHO never made such conclusions on their assessment of Ghana’s preparedness for the virus.
“They claim WHO rated us zero. I think Akandoh made that statement and it turned out not to be true. The Media Foundation for West Africa did a fact-finding on the claims and it turned out be false”.
“Quoting a portion from the report, Baako said ‘Akandoh, we started talking about preparations before WHO came in to scores us zero for not being prepared. Verdict: completely false. Explanation given was that in February, WHO issued a report on Ghana’s preparedness status based on their review as at February 7, 2020. The statement rated Ghana on various aspect of preparations including laboratory capacity, surveillance and coordination and overall preparation. The only category Ghana was rated zero percent was case management which is understandable because Ghana had not recorded any case at the time”, he said.
Kweku Baako also reacted to claims by Sammy Gyamfi and Alhassan Suhuyini that the measures being implemented by the government in the fight against the virus were proposed by former President, John Mahama.
“I’m hearing that the President’s address and proposals were stolen from Mahama. When did Mahama speak? If I’m not mistaken, Mahama spoke on April 4. They claim they President is executing prescriptions by President Mahama”.
“Has anyone read Ofori Atta’s presentation to Parliament on March 11 and 30. He told Parliament that measures are being put in place to close a possible financial gap in the 2020 Budget that could result from the coronavirus”.
“On March 30 before Mahama spoke, he (Ofori Atta) came out with a document captioned “Covid Alleviation Programme”. Paragraph 38 of Ofori Atta’s speech to Parliament reads “Mr Speaker, that is why to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that economic activities are sustained while minimizing job losses. The Ministry of Finance will immediately release an amount of GHC1million upon approval by Parliament”.
“The Ministry is proposing to use an equivalent of $219m from the Stabilization Fund. The cap will focus on areas that will provide maximum result on alleviating the impact of the virus pandemic with a focus on protecting job losses, livelihoods, supporting small businesses and ensuring the programme is efficiently and sustainably implemented.
“Targeted business and households will include those in the health sector, education sector, hospitality industry, small and medium enterprises and households hit by the coronavirus. The specific details of the cap will be fashioned out shortly. So, if you check the sequence, the point that someone has stolen someone’s idea is unsustainable.