By D. A. Jawo

Sometimes it looks as if President Adama Barrow either does not listen to his advisers or they are too incompetent to give him the correct advice. We are all witnesses to an obvious surge in coronavirus cases and according to predictions; the pandemic is likely to increase drastically before it begins to slow down. We have, for instance, seen the exponential increase in COVID 19 cases in neighbouring Senegal, and it is quite obvious that it is just a matter of time before anything (good or bad) happening in Senegal arrives in this country. Therefore, every reasonable person would expect President Barrow and his government to be in the forefront of strictly observing the WHO health guidelines as well as all other protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health in order to minimize the surge.

We have constantly been reminded by the ministry that we should strictly follow the guidelines in order to protect ourselves and the rest of society from the pandemic. However, we have all seen the large crowds that President Barrow had been attracting during the recently concluded ‘Meet the People Tour’, with hardly any social distancing or other COVID 19 protocols being observed. Yet, the Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Samateh was part of the entourage throughout the tour.

As if the tour was not enough flouting of the COVID 19 protocols, we are told that President Barrow’s National People’s Party (NPP) would be launched on Saturday at the Independence Stadium with plans for much fanfare and according to the ongoing advertisements for the launch, they are expecting 100,000 people to attend. It is also said that a Senegalese music maestro, Waly Seck would be the guest artist. Obviously, under such circumstances, it is nigh impossible to observe the social distancing protocols.

Therefore, all this seems to border on irresponsible behaviour on the part of the Ministry of Health to allow such a forum to go ahead under the present circumstances. Alternatively, do we assume that either the health authorities have failed in their duty to advise President Barrow and his party executive, or their advices have been ignored? Whatever the case however, we seem to be treading on dangerous ground, which can lead to catastrophe for our fragile health system.

Recently for instance, we have heard the ministry issue a statement lamenting the failure of certain people who have been tested positive of COVID 19, as well as others who arrived in this country from hot-spot countries to respect the isolation protocols. Therefore, with such irresponsible behavior from members of the government, it would be quite hard to enforce the COVID 19 protocols on ordinary members of the society.

Indeed, by insisting on going ahead with the launching of the NPP in the middle of the pandemic, inviting the whole country to the event, President Barrow is certainly making it extremely hard for the Ministry of Health to henceforth have the moral fibre to enforce the COVID 19 protocols on the other political actors and the rest of the society. It therefore means that President Barrow and his NPP are not helping to empower the Ministry of Health to enforce the COVID 19 protocols. We are definitely not in the era of ‘Do as I say and not as I do”. We expect our leaders to be more disciplined so that they can become our role models and we do not therefore expect any irresponsible behavior from them.