The enormity of the situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic invites – or rather forces – us to reflect on the nature and effectiveness of the way our country is being governed.
In our current situation with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the central governance issue involves getting people to divert from their normal routines in the name of public health goals. In some cases, they are even asked to forego engaging in the activities that provide daily sustenance. A tall order to say the least.
Plenty of public resources are being channeled toward combating the pandemic.
A couple of weeks ago the World Bank released a report showing how its 22 most aid-dependent countries systematically lost funds to private bank accounts in tax havens.
COVID-19 has repurposed our lives to only one reality — to avoid getting sick, going to hospital, likely dying there because the health system is a mess. However, this is a tunnel-vision we cannot afford.
Critical services necessary for our survival, like health care (testing, quarantine, treatment); relief provisions for the most vulnerable (especially food and hygiene products); law enforcement (including the constantly evolving directives of the President); tax breaks being called for, etc., all cost money.
But we also know that where there’s a lot money being spent the possibility of stealing is high, especially in a highly corrupt country like ours.
The Ministry of Health has been the centre for stealing public funds. It is a ministry reeking with corruption in every pore.
And accusations of corruption over the way COVID-19 funds are being spent are justified. This is a ministry with a reputation for stealing. Look at how some people in this ministry have quickly become rich! But at whose expense? At the expense of people’s lives – lives have been lost.