Hon. Okudjeto Ablakwah writes…
My attention has been drawn to a rather baseless, unscientific and pathetically illogical campaign of calumny targeted at those of us who mounted a spirited campaign of good faith and solidarity for the evacuation of Ghanaian students in Wuhan, China in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Our attackers claim that if President Akufo-Addo had listened to us, Ghana would by now have been overwhelmed with thousands of coronavirus cases as has happened in Italy and elsewhere. Some even go as far as to demand an apology.
The mischievous elements who are championing this senseless propaganda assume that discerning Ghanaians do not know that evacuations follow strict WHO protocols which would have required that all students evacuated are quarantined. Indeed, we stressed the need for all the students to undergo the prescribed 14-day quarantine as soon as they arrive at Kotoka when we made our demand. How it is that these misguided elements can speak against evacuating and placing under quarantine only 170 Ghanaian students from Wuhan and yet ask us to applaud the President for currently placing under quarantine though belatedly some 1,030 passengers beats my imagination.
It is important to acknowledge that from December, 2019 when the outbreak was first reported until this very hour, not a single Ghanaian in Wuhan has tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus so wherein lies the logical basis to conclude that our fellow Ghanaians in China would have infected thousands of us by now if the President had airlifted them to Ghana?
Claims by these self-serving propagandists that the rapid spread of coronavirus from Wuhan into other countries is attributable to evacuations is yet another blatant falsehood and they know it.
Rudimentary reading reveals to everyone who cares about facts that the first confirmed cases in all the countries being alluded to have absolutely nothing to do with evacuations. Take for instance Italy – their first confirmed cases were two Chinese tourists who tested positive in Rome on January 31, 2020. Spain’s first case was a visiting German doctor who tested positive on January 31, 2020. The United States confirmed its first case on January 20, 2020 before the first US evacuation flight from Wuhan, carrying 195 State Department employees, their family members and other Americans arrived in the US on January 29 at March Air Reserve Base near Los Angeles.
South Africa reported its first case on the 5th of March, 2020 long before it evacuated its nationals from Wuhan on the 14th of March, 2020. That has been the general trend. Facts they say are sacred.
I do not need to further demolish this voodoo and spurious evacuation theory by pointing out that despite the evacuation of Libyan students from Wuhan, Libya remains one of the 11 countries in Africa that has not recorded a single confirmed coronavirus case.
In any case, what possible justification can our detractors muster for shuting the door to our own students in Wuhan who would have been quarantined upon arrival and yet opened the flood gates in an unfettered way for many weeks to all manner of persons who arrived from all over the world without being quarantined? Is it policy contradiction, policy confusion, policy chaos or policy insensitivity?
Whatever it was, we know the result – the vast majority of confirmed cases in Ghana are imported cases and those cases had nothing to do with our students in Wuhan, none of whom have tested positive. So who actually owes who an apology?
My colleagues and I who advocated evacuation have no regrets and have absolutely no apology to render. We remain proud that when the story of this watershed period in humankind’s history is told, we shall be remembered for standing in solidarity with our compatriots who were in harm’s way in far away China.
For those engaged in the self-disgracing mudslinging without recourse to fact and logic, we shall avail ourselves of the opportunity today’s national day of fasting and prayer offers, to pray for their repentance even as we seek the face of the Good Lord to heal the world and deliver our nation from this public health armageddon.
I note that this is a time to rally together as one people with a common threat – COVID-19 – that must be defeated, however, we would not fail to defend ourselves when Government’s propaganda machine takes aim at us, albeit without provocation and without any modicum of logic.
May God hear our nation’s prayer and may our supplications be acceptable unto Him.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
[MP, North Tongu
Ranking Member, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs]