Opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Alexander Cummings has written to President George Manneh Weah, suggesting the need for Mr. Weah to institute an inclusive approach in the fight against coronavirus by involving all persons irrespective of political affiliation or alliances.
President Weah on Wednesday declared a state of emergency, amidst a confirmation of an additional 17 new cases bringing the total number of cases to 31, with 4 death and 3 recovery.
“This is the moment to engage the opposition as other nations have done, rally the nation and institute an inclusive, all-on-board policy in this fight,” Cummings says in a letter dated 7 April.
“As such, I urge you to expand the ECOC to include opposition political parties that also represent the vast majority of our people whose lives and health are at stake,” he adds.
Mr. Cummings asserts that it is important that President Weah seizes this opportunity to ensure that the fight against COVID – 19 is a non-political national collective effort that includes all persons.
While acknowledging measures taken by the administration which include a ban on public gatherings, closure of schools and churches, restrictions on public transports carriage, among others, he said the exclusion of opposition members on these committees raises concern.
Citing a press release posted on the Executive Mansion website, Mr. Cummings notes that the president has mandated ECOC’s Coordinator to supervise a single set of national strategic objectives for defeating the Coronavirus disease.
Further, the Coordinator is to coordinate the National COVID-19 multi-sectoral response plan, in coordination with the United Nations (UN), donor partners, Ministry of Health and National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).
Additionally, the Compliance Manager will monitor the overall allocation and disbursement of the response logistics and resources and ensure timely delivery and accounting for supplies directed to the fight against Coronavirus in the country.
“It is prudent to note that a few days ago, our regional friend and your Ghanaian counterpart, President Nana KuffourAddo, held a meeting with members of the Ghanaian opposition to discuss ways in which their country could collectively fight the virus,” Mr. Cummings writes President Weah.
He notes that at the meeting, the Ghanaian president said “The disease does not have a political color, it does not know Democrats or Republicans, NDC or NPP, it is attacking human beings and that should drive our desire to unite and fight it…”
According to Mr. Cummings, this singular act propelled Ghana’s COVID – 19 Response by ensuring compliance, cooperation and collaboration as one people.
“Mr. President, we can do the same if you took the lead. As one of the political leaders in this country, I am reaching out to you but it is you who have the mandate of our people to unite the country and bring us together, especially during these difficult times,” Cummings adds.
He expresses belief that working together will also improve information dissemination and address the disbelief and mistrusts the people have of this government.
He proposes that President Weah consults with opposition leaders on how to expand the ECOC and the IMT to make it more inclusive.
Further, he proposes that President Weah seeks divergent views or input from the opposition, civil society and religious community on the National COVID19 Multi-Sectorial Response Plan.
Additionally, he asks the president to expand the mandate of the ECOC to include working with the Economic Management Team to develop a post-COVID National Economic Recovery Plan.By Winston W. Parley