The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, will tomorrow, chair the Cabinet meeting as President Akufo-Addo, continues his 14-day self-isolation, as part of his COVID-19 precautionary measures, having come into contact with a coronavirus infected person, who has not been named by the government.
Interestingly, the President who, according to the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, tested negative, and is hale and hearty, while working by phone and other devices from the Presidential Villa, will only join the Cabinet Ministers and appointees from his base via zoom, while Dr. Bawumia chairs the session.
This arrangement was disclosed in a short message from an unnamed person at the Presidency, and read on Metro TV Good Morning Ghana by the Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako last Thursday.
The latest message from the Presidency, further deepens the controversy on President Akufo-Addo’s true COVID-19 status, as well as his whereabout.
Highly placed sources have told The Herald that President Akufo-Addo is not in Ghana, a claim his Director of Communication, Eugene Arhin, has strongly disputed.
Four cabinet Ministers namely; Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Health Minister, Kweku Agyaman Manu, Minister of Regional Reorganization and Development, Daniel Kweku Botwe and Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh are either living with the virus and are on treatment or were discharged from the hospital. How they will participate in the cabinet meeting, deepens the controversy further.
The short message which was sent to Mr Baako via phone, was to set the record straight, following speculation that Cabinet, has also been suspended indefinitely due to a surge in the pandemic, forcing many state institutions to shut down, after tests confirmed that officials have contracted the virus.
“No suspension of cabinet meetings, we will have Cabinet meeting on Tuesdayâ¦.Originally, we were to have one today [Thursday] to discuss mid-year and supplementary budget, but Finance Ministry will meet with the Economic Management team instead this week, then Cabinet meets on Tuesday to discuss midyear budget. Mr President will join the meeting by zoom, the vice president will chairâ¦â¦.” Mr Baako read without mentioning the sender.
Ex-boss of the Ghana Free Zones Board, Kojo Twum Boafo, who triggered the response from the Presidency, in discussing topical issues in the newspapers had said that, it was unfortunate that in the face of the upsurge of the COVID-19, government, including the President, have sought refuge at home, but have refused to let the students go as requested by their parents.
Mr Twum Boafo, who expressed sadness about the many deaths recorded from the pandemic, including that of health professionals and ex-General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie aka “Sir John” whom he said was a good friend of his.
He wondered why many government activities, including Cabinet meetings will be suspended indefinitely, but government is resisting request to close down schools where more and more students continue to be infected.
The Herald, last Friday reported how the NPP Director of Communications, inadvertently blew the cover on President Akufo-Addo’s COVID-19 health status, when he prayed for him on live radio wishing him a speedy recovery, hoping it will end early enough for him to come and continue with the good work he was doing for the country.
It has been more than a week, but Ghanaians continue to live in suspense as to the whereabout of the President.
Attempts by various government officials, including, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang Manu, Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, to manage reports on the President’s COVID-19 status and whether or not, he has been flown out of Ghana, has been received with mixed feelings.
But speaking on Okay FM last Thursday, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, gave indication that the President is actually treating COVID-19.
“First of all, permit me to express my profound gratitude to my president and the seat of government for the grace I enjoyed from him during our primaries.
Now, we are all praying that he – President – will recover quickly so that he will come back to continue his good work quickly”, the NPP Director of Communications said.
Mr Buabeng Asamoah, who doubles as the NPP’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Adentan Constituency, referring to President Akufo-Addo, continued “he’s still at where he is, but we know when we see him—we have all missed him, we have missed his fellow Ghanaians. Today when you look round, we have missed Fellow Ghanaiansâ¦”
He spoke in Twi to Kwame Nkrumah Tikese on the Ade Akye Abia morning show on Okay FM.
Meanwhile, a sympathizer of the NPP, Solomon Owusu, who lives in Denver, Colorado â USA on hearing Mr Buabeng Asamoah, on Okay FM sent a questions to the host of the programme asking “I heard *Yaw Buabeng Asamoah* saying “y3 mb) mpae s3 Nana Addo ho b3t) no” (Let’s pray that President Akufo-Addo recovers).Â
Mr Owusu wanted to know “Is the President sick to warrant any recovery? What should the President recover from? COVID-19?Is the President in isolation because he is sick? Who goes into isolation after testing negative of the COVID-19?Â
“Yaw Buabeng should give more explanations to Ghanaians”, Mr Owusu, who has been on a personal crusade against illegal mining accusing government officials of deceit and corruption, demanded from the NPP Director of Communications.
On the same day, Information Minister, addressing the media, in Accra, last Thursday, as part of the bi-weekly briefing, said President Akufo-Addo, was hale and hearty and continuing his self-isolation precautionary measure against COVID-19; as he works from the Presidential Villa at the Jubilee House.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, insisted the President was doing well and even gave instructions over safety in schools, following the recent happenings in some Senior High Schools (SHS) during a meeting with members of the COVID-19 Response Team, on Wednesday, July 5.
The President’s Director of Communications reacting to a publication by The Herald on the President’s status and reports that he had left the country, last Sunday wrote on his Facebook wall “Kindly disregard the FALSE STORY published by the Herald Newspaper to the effect that the President was on Saturday “flown out of the country to London for COVID-19 treatment”. It is clearly a figment of the author’s imagination.
“The President is in the country, and he’s currently at the Presidential Villa in Jubilee House, observing the 14-day self-isolation precautionary measure, in compliance with COVID-19 protocols”.
The Herald in a rebuttal to Eugene Arhin, also stated “if the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, had only tested negative and is in Ghana, but in self-isolation, it shouldn’t be impossible for him to address the country in a live broadcast”.
“He should stand in front of the Presidential Villa of the Jubilee House and address the Nation, to prove that he is in Ghana or live address in front of his chosen media houses, will curb every anxiety or…?
Questions have also been asked about why President Akufo-Addo, who was in Norway with the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana,Gunnar Andreas Holm, one of the first persons to test positive for COVID-19 in Ghana, after the trip, did not isolate himself then, suggesting there is more to the president’s 14-day self-isolation, than the country has been told.