John Dramani Mahama has said the government’s humanitarian intervention of sharing food to vulnerable Ghanaians to mitigate the effect of the three-week partial lockdown in some parts of the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus was an “abysmal failure”.
The Akufo-led government during the lockdown fed some 400,000 individuals and homes in vulnerable communities in Accra, Kasoa, Tema and Kumasi through the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
The objective of the CAP, according to Nana Akufo-Addo, “is to protect households and livelihoods, support micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, minimise job losses, and source additional funding for promotion of industries to shore up and expand industrial output for domestic consumption and exports.”
The Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Local Government and Rural Development, and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), working with MMDCEs and the faith-based organisations were in charge of the programme.
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But Mr Mahama says the programme was a failure and could have been organised in a much better way than what the government did.
Speaking on Facebook live on Thursday, 23 April 2020 on Ghana’s COVID-19 situation, Mr Mahama said: “It is important to note that government’s humanitarian intervention to alleviate the unintended but predictable consequences of the lockdown has been an abysmal failure.”
According to the flagbearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), “The distribution of food was chaotic and disorderly and in some cases partisan. It flouted all protocols of social distancing and prevention of the spread of the virus. Definitely, no careful planning went into the implementation of this initiative as its characteristics of this current administration.”
“My suggestion to involve assembly members and traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society organisations were ignored. As the President clearly admitted, this was one of the reasons for the lifting of the lockdown. Many Ghanaians were faced with two choices – either to stay at home and die of hunger or come out and take their chance against the deadly virus. Faced with these two choices, most Ghanaians opted for the latter,” he added.
Mr Mahama stated that he, therefore, can understand “the response of jubilation that greeted the announcement of the lifting of the partial lockdown” adding that “with a budget in the excess of GHS1.2billion from the stabilisation fund, I believe we could have handled this mitigation effort much better than we did.”