It sounded so funny that I laughed heartily. A National Disaster Management Organisation [NADMO] fronting a possible disaster? For real, I could not control myself when I saw the news trending on social media. That, NADMO had distributed expired goods to some flood victims in the Upper West Region!
“It emerged some of the oil distributed to the disaster victims had expired. On the products were August 28 and September 1, . The Vice President [Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia] had donated the items on September 21 and 22,” reported Myjoyonline.
The last time I had such a good laugh was, I think, 2005 at the then Sunyani Secondary School. Students together with the school’s authorities had gathered at the dining [hall] cum assembly hall for our annual forum of campus matters.
Headmaster, Mr. Joseph Awuah, together with his teaching and non-teaching staff were on the podium and they would introduce themselves to the gathering as custom demands.
“Good afternoon, my name is Mr. Aubeng, the school’s electricity,” said a lanky man with TV3’s Alfred Ocansey’s deep voice.
For close to two minutes, almost everybody at the assembly hall laughed― exactly how I laughed after seeing the NADMO story.
In the case of Mr. Aubeng, though he intended to say he was Sunyani Secondary School’s electrician, I think he was not entirely wrong for ‘claiming’ to be the school’s electricity. Indeed, whoever remembers Mr. Aubeng would attest that merely seeing him on campus, after a long search for him, gave one comfort that an electrical problem at hand was already solved.
Such a gifted man deserved not our mockery of laughter because he could not articulate well in the Queen’s tongue. If Egypt is the Nile and the Nile, Egypt then Mr. Aubeng is electricity and electricity, Mr. Aubeng!
In the case of NADMO, however, I felt sad because it should have known better instead of compounding the problems of the victims. There was not going to be any explanation given that would make sense of its shoddy job done.
“A day after the reports went viral, NADMO issued a statement taking responsibility for the expired products. It explained, six cartons of expired oil had accidentally been included in the products distributed by the Vice President,” Myjoyonline wrote.
Whereas I commend NADMO for taking responsibility for the expired products distributed, it greatly beats imagination how and why the disaster management organisation could not totally discard the said expired products, considering the fact that NADMO knew it had gone bad. How ‘accidentally’ did the products get included in those distributed?
Brooding over NADMO’s incredible story, I conclude on two assumptions. That, it either was a deliberate ploy to paint Dr. Bawumia black or some officials at NADMO probably intended to pilfer some goods by pushing the expired ones out. I do not doubt my assumptions. This is a country where people go all length engaging in dirty politics to discredit their opponents. And, this is a country where it had, for more than once, emerged that some NADMO officials engaged in pilfering of goods meant for disaster victims.
In all this brouhaha, however, NADMO does not irritate me much as some members of the National Democratic Congress [NDC]. For them, this is yet another ‘cocoa season’ for cheap politics.
Predictable as the annual spillage of the Bagre Dam, the Upper West branch of the NDC, first, came demanding an apology from the Vice President. Why? Dr. Bawumia should have spread all the bottles of oil, bags of rice among others so he could use a magnifying glass to check for the expiry dates of the goods before he distributed it.
Many NDC Members of Parliament also added their voices to the chorus demanding an apology from Dr. Bawumia.
Could the NDC have demanded an apology from the Vice President had it been that their party was in power? Why can’t politicians, especially Ghanaians, have an unbiased opinion on national issues? The nation’s Vice President has been disgraced this much and we cannot collectively call for the head of persons that spearheaded this near tragedy but rather attack an innocent man?
Well, perhaps, one cannot really blame those dancers of NDC folks doing Azonto on the Vice President’s ‘grave’ when NADMO, out of its overdose of incompetence, succeeded in making Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia the bowl for the public’s spit.
Criticisms are always needed for one’s progress but when it becomes a mere attack, it defeats its purpose. Ghana can only develop when we say the truth as it is for politics without a clean heart is like giving a gun to a mad man.
By Solomon Mensah
The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General (TV3/3FM). Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation.