The distribution of food to the needy and vulnerable as championed by Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection and distributed by NADMO is a laudable gesture that will help the poor and vulnerable during this excruciating partial lockdown, which has been extended for another seven days.
However, in many instances, the mode and manner of distribution leaves a lot to be desired. Viral videos of NADMO officials standing on vehicles and throwing food-packs into the crowd must be stopped for its debasing manner; and more importantly, for defying the social distancing directives outlined by the president.
In fact, we concur fully with the Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, who has directed officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to take food aid to homes of the vulnerable instead of sharing them on streets.
Alima Mahama said there is a need to change strategy in the distribution of food – and that is not in doubt in view of the public anger some Ghanaians have expressed, particularly, on social media. Places like the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra last week were typical of the scenes of chaos that accompanies such a mode of food distribution – and we dare to say it is not becoming of a civilised nation.
As a nation, we must respect the human worth and not allow crises of the sort that COVID-19 brings to debase our people and render them hapless. The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has had cause to comment on the development and ask those distributing to observe the social distancing protocols.
We are led to understand that some NGOs and private individuals have also taken to the streets to provide food for the needy and complement government’s effort, but this has to be done in the prescribed manner. Their effort is commendable, but we should also not lose sight of the fact that it could lead to exacerbating spread of the virus.
We do not want a situation wherein humanitarian gestures exacerbate spread of the novel coronavirus.