The current challenges confronting government in the fight against COVID-19 in the country, ranging from continuous spread of the virus to almost all districts, delays in allocating payments to contractors and other frontline workers, lack of water and other basic facilities at crowded treatment centers, etc, had totally rubbished the so much publicized government preparedness to fight the virus.
The New Direction government was on record of having reported to this nation that they have done so much to handle any eventuality. Even when the country was the last to succumb to the virus, we have not made much difference in tackling the disease in the last two months with all the experiences gained from other countries who had earlier succumbed to the virus.
We have continued to see overcrowded and dilapidated treatment and isolated centers, increase in violence in communities due to the poor management of restrictions and lockdowns especially on poverty stricken people and businesses.
The Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance continue to adopt bogus measures in the name of cushioning the economic impacts of the virus.
These measures have actually not impacted on people and business. The management of the Social Safety Security Net project under NACSA is now tainted with allegations of corruption.
Civil society players have suggested that government should be clear on who and who should benefit from this social safety net project to avoid aspersions on the scheme.
The Research based think tank, Institute of Governance Research (IGR), in their recent survey, has proffered a number of recommendations to government, including having a more community centered approach to the fight to reduce the current tensions even though they have envisaged more community conflicts.
The IGR had also criticized the EOC for adopting a more militaristic approach to the fight.
The recent appointment of District Coordinators and other individuals into high profile jobs in the national response was another ploy to create jobs for the boys.
Do we know the competencies of these individuals to undertake the task of coordinating the response? Where we able as a country to assess and effectively use those lessons that worked for us during the Ebola scourge or not? How has government effectively utilized the district structures then available during the Ebola?
We continue to see disagreements in the national response on whether to use regional led concoctions and herbs like that from Madagascar to cure the COVID-19.
Reports have stated that our government had already spent colossal sums of money to bring the Madagascar Organics into the country while the EOC is still waiting for approval from WHO on whether or not to use the concoctions that have worked well for that country.
This will also bring us to the question of the role of the scientific advisory committee that was set up to advice the President/EOC on the pandemic. What are they doing? Have their work actually impacted the fight or is it another gimmick to impress on us that government is doing enough?
As we speak, the country is top in the death list in the Mano River basin. The entire country is almost now an epic center whiles other countries in the sub region and the world are slowly recovering and returning to their normal activities.
We have continued to have reports from very senior diplomats in the country that they are not happy over the divided attention of the government in fighting the COVID-19.
The recent arrest of high profile opposition figures and the subsequent tensions which their trails will create will further create problems for the fight.
Many of these diplomats are of the view that government should concentrate on fighting the pandemic rather than continuing to arrest people and undertake more sackings of the security people who are also crucial in the fight.
It is our hope that common sense will prevail.