Every Christian knows Jesus was a “show boy”. He did miracles everywhere he went. At a point, His disciples and the people spoke so highly of their master in His absence. He fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. And the Bible said He was the King of Kings.
If this Jesus were to take His rightful place in recent Ghana, his title would be “Nana” which means a Chief or a King i.e Nana Jesus, alias Show Boy.
But after all, “Nana” wasn’t Jesus in a pandemic-hit Ghana; for Jesus and his disciples weren’t this reckless in handling the poor, hungry and destitute multitudes who scuffled for food purchased from their own taxes. It was true though, that the poor people had lost their senses to the hunger and unemployment that came with the plague whilst under lockdown.
In recent weeks, my continent, Africa, has seen a couple of “miracles” in the wake of the coronavirus plague. These miracles have been recorded in at least two countries – Rwanda and Togo. They were the “miracles of free water and subsidized electricity”. Quite recently, another -“the miracle of feeding the multitudes” has gained some traction.
Rwanda has been fairly successful at this miracle. They’re feeding some 20,000 households. But their “Jesus” and disciples didn’t adopt phone calls, an app tracking or a queue to serve their people. They adopted the door-to-door distribution like Jesus visited the home of the petite man in the Bible, Zacchaeus.
However, in my country Ghana, Nana Jesus especially his disciples committed some unpardonable mistakes. It was a disaster in an attempt to manage a disaster. Some 400,000 households were earmarked for the food but after the first tragic sight recorded in Asokwa in Kumasi, where hundreds of people were seen struggling for food without observing social distancing, or any personal sanitary protocol, we should be reminded not to get reckless with such good interventions against the pandemic.
The recklessness of the Nana Addo Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). Oops sorry I meant the “National Disaster Management Organization” (NADMO) is indicative of either the directive by the President came without any definite guide by appropriate parastatals to ensure there was no excesses created in our attempt to help the poor or NADMO was simply defiant of any caution or better still, it was overwhelmed due to little or no prior assessment of the possible dangers of making people form a queue in a wake of a deadly disease
Government and its frontline ministries should have continued with close supervision of the nation’s efforts to combat the pandemic, and the distribution of food was not an exercise to play with. Remember even Jesus had a plan for His miracle. He didn’t leave the feast solely to His disciples although they could handle the situation. After giving thanks and breaking the five loaves, He stayed to supervise the sharing. He instructed the disciples to ask the people to sit in 50s and 100s. And according to history, He and his disciples ensured the best, ours obviously wasn’t the best.
Secondly, the disciples of “Nana Jesus” should’ve known better. It isn’t enough to say the people didn’t listen to the instructions to form a queue. After all, NADMO isn’t alien to our part of the world, where natural disasters like hunger, plague and unemployment can make one go insane and pick up arms. The leadership of NADMO shouldn’t have entertained anything crowd or gathering in the first place. I don’t think door-to-door deliveries like the case of Rwanda farfetched despite our over 16 million population difference.
Thirdly, NADMO’s approach exposes the creeping culture of showmanship and populism even in our responses towards humanity, and that is a doing of our body politic. May be, NADMO as a disciple of “Jesus” was only trying to score points for the cameras which may cut some electoral fortunes, perhaps with our without the blessings of their master, “Nana Jesus”. The lesson is, sometimes just go the extra mile and do a buffet if you wish to fete the poor, and forget about the cameras.
But the crowd was equally reckless. If only we would appreciate our worth and the taxes that we pay, we may be circumspect in setting bad precedence by allowing ourselves to be treated anyhow in social interventions. A week ago when utility cuts were declared, I observed with some shock the many citizens who hitherto preached that the nation shouldn’t politicize the fight against Covid-19, rather jumped on social media to begin trumpeting the campaign slogans of political parties.
To them obviously, the initiatives of government weren’t an incumbent responsibility, it was a charity done the people of Ghana, and hence, it calls for voters’ acknowledgment in the 2020 polls. Why won’t NADMO think it was doing us too much favour by bringing the food which belongs to us technically, at our doorsteps or using a similar Covid-19 tracker app to get your food item delivered?
The lessons are – Jesus or “Nana” is the leader, He takes the glory when things go right, and so are His curses when a showmanship goes wrong even if it was supervised by his disciples who should’ve known better. Let’s applaud when we have to, but let’s refrain when it gets too chickening and belittling.
Also, it is high time the multitudes are educated that we shall reap what we sow as a people ; without faith miracles especially in our part of the world don’t happen, and when it does remember to apply some commonsense lest we die like animals.
Kabu Nartey is the GJA Student Journalist of the Year, and a political communications consultant.