The Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul-Malik Kwaku Baako, has noted that officials and communicators of the National Democratic Congress started politicising issues relating to the fight against coronavirus in Ghana before Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia entered the fray.
Members of the NDC verbally attacked Dr Bawumia for saying Mr John Mahama failed in dealing with the dumsor crisis as president.
Dr Bawumia, on Monday, in a response to Mr Mahama’s comment that COVID-19 has sent the Akufo-Addo government’s oft-touted “resilient” and “robust” economy into the ICU, said President Akufo-Addo is a better manager of crises than his predecessor.
The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had said in one of Facebook interactions with Ghanaians that: “Unfortunately, this government has used a lot of propaganda saying the economy has been the best that we have ever had since independence. Unfortunately, just one month of coronavirus the economy is in ICU. If we didn’t run to the IMF for the one billion rapid credit facility, it is possible that in the next month probably salaries would not have been paid and so our economy is on ventilators, and it needs thinking to rescue it from the ICU.”
But speaking at a media interaction after a COVID-19 response team meeting on 4 May 2020, Dr Bawumia noted that: “If you want to test the robustness of an economy, you test it in a time of crises. Thankfully, we’ve had two crises.
“Under the NDC, there was an internally-generated crisis, which was dumsor. Under the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo, there’s been an externally-generated crisis, which is the global coronavirus pandemic. I just want you to ask yourselves how have these two crises been managed?
“The dumsor crisis, which crippled this economy for four years, what were the mitigating measures offered to businesses and individuals during dumsor which was an internally generated crisis?
“We saw that even during dumsor, electricity prices were being increased, fuel prices were being increased, teacher training allowances were being cancelled, nurse training allowances were being cancelled; all of that was happening during that particular crisis.”
He continued: “You look at the coronavirus crisis and you look at the difference in terms of what has happened. The President has reduced electricity prices, made it free for lifeline consumers, given free water to all Ghanaians for three months, has made sure there’s a stimulus package of GHS600 million for businesses and we have seen domestic production of PPE for our health workers.
“So, the difference couldn’t be [clear] during a leadership under the crisis of dumsor and under the coronavirus pandemic. So, I ask a simple question: Who will you trust in a time of crisis? The answer, I will say is very clear – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has shown leadership and concern for ordinary Ghanaians.”
Sharing his views on the matter on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo programme on Wednesday, 6 May 2020, Mr Baako said: “The former president’s comments amounted to political ridicule. Indeed, when you do that you are inviting people to look at it from a purely political perspective. So, the politicisation was already before Bawumia spoke”.
“He [Mahama] may not have been the one to have started but some of his people did and he joined.”
“We haven’t gone back to IMF because we have mismanaged and going for the programme. There’s a distinction”, Mr Baako argued.
“This return to IMF, quote unquote, is not the same IMF entry we made in 2015 or so … The conditions, the circumstances and, indeed, the conditionalities and other things are totally different. So, you can’t do that. When you do that, you are actually ridiculing the situation and, indeed, you’re inviting people to look from a purely political perspective”, he said.