OPINION: A Failing Government’s Strategy (COVID-19 Pandemic) Fight

NEWS REPORTER
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By Chris Onanuga

From all indication, Our Nation Liberia is in a trying time, but worst of all, the citizenry are indeed all  seen to be unconfirmed ‘Laboratory rats’, waiting for one after the other to be exterminated.

With the dramatic setting up of   what  the government calls observatory center some two months plus ago at the Robert International Airport, in which it informed the  world that  it was prepared to fight the virus and  gave assurances  that it was prepared to keep all Liberians safe, little did they know that nothing good was in sight.

After it made the announcement, in less than a month, the former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), boss, Nathanial Blama refused to go by the protocols put in place and bypassed the entire procedure and spread the virus.

Since then, the nation has known no peace nor had a sense of direction as to how best to deal with the invincible enemy, most importantly that all the front-line soldiers who made this happen are nowhere to be found. Sadly, government is unable to get most of the trained people it used in 2014 to fight the deadly Ebola virus.

Not that some are not available, but perhaps decided not to bring them on board because some people want to bring untrained people whom they think can push their line well. This is affecting the country severely.

Since the number of cases increased and flew over one hundred by government count and the greater attack with confessions of government officials (ministers and others) them testing positive to the virus, it has not only increased the seriousness of the fight at hand and importance of government, but has led to series of claims and counter claims of the President testing positive to the virus.

These allegations have to some level, seemed to have gotten more attention than the fight to eradicate the virus itself. One would expect that with the declaration of the STATE OF EMERGENCY, the Nation would rally itself together for the good of everyone, yet it is so divided along political, tribal and hateful lines, that no one sees anything good or positive that the next man does to make it better.

Some health workers

What bothers me most, is there is no room for reasoning on a National scale, where everyone is prepared to do everything to protect selfish interests and the rest. We tend to forget that the men in uniforms are not immortals and are humans, but first of all citizens before all else. it is quit clear the nation was not prepared for the shutdown thus, with serious poverty, inability for many homes to stock pile food, where there is no resource.

It becomes even difficult for a nation with such low productivity and lagging in every single indicator for progress- manufacturing and all other means, was at a zero pace before the pandemic.   With the withdrawal of service businesses to Nations close by, our credit rating globally it has never been at such low as it is today. With the complete disapproval by the citizenry, comprising religious institutions, traders as well as consumers who want to earn and want to consume, makes it impossible to clamp down on law and order. The joint security if added together in total, will not hit the figure 10,000 persons, which has made it even more strenuous for the security sector to implement such lock-down even in our markets, in public vehicles.

 The police who in the kick off to the lock-down, showed so much energy in making it work, were unprepared to get out there and when they did, they went out without being cared for thereby exposing them to even getting infected or infecting others; no gloves nor face mask;  it is expected hence that there may be a big spread among the security personnel overtime. With the Third week expiring, the provision of food aid to vulnerable citizens have not started, leaving room for greater threat to the spread of the pandemic as people need to go out to fend for families through whatever means available to them.

We are told that the distribution will start within two weeks.

 Some of these things  could lead to increase in  crime rate.  It is no gain saying, without a need for a rocket scientist that a hungry nation, is an angry nation. Take for example  what took place recently in  Tappita, a major town in Nimba, one of the highest populated counties in the north of Liberia  witnessed chaos from quarantine center, The people were not given food. As a result of that,  they had to force their way out of the center.

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About Post Author

NEWS REPORTER

Alphonso Toweh Alphonso has  been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.
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