March Round-up: The NDC-NPP Dam Debate Settled, Prez’s 63rd Independence Day Speech Fact-checked

One Village, One Dam (1V1D) was one of the many campaign promises made by Ghana’s governing party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the round-off to the 2021 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. However, according to the largest opposition political party the National Democratic Congress (NDC) this promise and many others were not fulfilled and therefore the NPP did not deserve a second term in office. In their bid to question the credibility of the existence of these dams, the NDC in March held a press conference at the sight of one of these dams, sited in Nakpachie, a community in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern region, where the dam was visibly dried up however this dam was listed as part of completed dams by the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives (MSDI), the sector ministry in-charge of the construction stated the said dams as completed.

Fact-Check Ghana team in its report debunked the ministry’s claim which was that the dam was uncompleted. This verification was based on a record of minutes of a meeting held by the Yendi Municipal Assembly on August 20, 2019, which contradicts the claim of the Ministry. In addition, there was also a document titled Constructed Small Earth Dams and their Beneficiary Communities” published by the sector ministry on its website which listed the said dam as completed.

The Fact-Check Ghana team further engaged residents of the area to ascertain if the dam was complete or not.

Besides the 1V1D debate, the Fact-Check Ghana team verified claims made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during Ghana’s 63rd Independence Day Celebration which, was held on Friday, March 6, 2020. These claims included Nineteen percent (19%) of our people do not have access to potable water, but eighty-one percent (81%) of people in Ghana, presently, have access to safe water” which was found to be entirely true according to data by the UNICEF.  Along with this claim was a report on mobile phone users–“In the year 2000, there were ninety-thousand (90,000) mobile phone subscribers, in 2020, there are forty-one million subscriptions.”, the claim was found to be entirely true according to records found on the National Communications Authority (NCA) website. Also, the claim that “Today, senior high school education is free for every child,” was also found to be entirely true by the team. Conversely, the claim The supply of electricity has reached eighty-five percent (85%) of the country” was found to be completely false by the team.

Minority Ranking Member of the Health Committee in Parliament and Member of Parliament for Juaboso Constituency, Kwabena Mintah Akandor on Thursday, March 12, 2020, made a claim–“We started talking about our preparedness even before WHO came in to score us zero (0) for not been prepared” on Accra-based GHOne TV on Ghana’s preparedness towards fighting the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The claim was verified by the Fact-Check Ghana team and found to be completely false and published a report as to that effect.

Finally, the Fact-Check Team in its continuous education of the public on issues concerning the Coronavirus included reports on Chloroquine being an approved cure for Covid-19, which was found to be misleading. The team’s research found that at the time of the report the World Health Organization (WHO) had not approved chloroquine as a drug for curing COVID-19. Further checks revealed the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States had warned the public against using any form of chloroquine not approved by any medical expert. There was also the publication of the report by the team on the basic facts concerning Ghana’s Covid-19 cases, within the report the total number of cases were reported as sourced from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the report gave the breakdown of cases within the country as well as cases recorded through regular surveillance and contact tracing, finally, within the report, there is the regional breakdown of cases and the number of cases in mandatory quarantine.

The final report published by the Fact-Check Ghana team concerned Coronavirus and 5 False Viral Health Prescriptions You Should Ignore. These false viral claims included the use of garlic in preventing the contraction of the virus, there was also the claim that using alcohol to wash your hands in place of hand sanitizers can prevent the contraction of Covid-19. Drinking water every fifteen (15) minutes can prevent the contraction of Covid-19 and home-made sanitizers are a good substitute to commercially produced ones as well as exposure to the sun and drinking hot water kills the virus were all viral claims the Fact-Check Ghana team debunked in its report.

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