Coronavirus in Ghana – Matters Arising

On Friday March 27, 2020, the President of the Republic of Ghana announced a partial lockdown of the metropolitan areas of Accra and Kumasi. His message was warmly received internationally more so than in Ghana, where everything is perceived in terms of politics.

The President gave a 48-hour notice for the partial lockdown to be effected. The 48-hour grace period gave room for spin heads and rumor mongers to create panic and fear among the less informed who gathered pots and pans and fled designated areas earmarked for the partial locked down.

Even though markets and food shops were not included in the partial lockdown, foodstuff from underlying towns and villages were not coming in because vendors were unsure of safe passage back to their town and villages. Prices of food and other basic needs skyrocketed.

Soon, it became crystal clear that the less fortunate whose daily survival entirely depended on several fluid socioeconomic factors were struggling and hurting to provide decent meals for self and their families.  The structural formation and compactness of markets made it impossible to observe social distancing directives. As a matter of fact, in more than one market place, the situation became so compromised that authorities had no choice but to temporarily shut them down and re-calibrate. And then there were recalcitrant beach revelers, other social and religious truants, and tro-tro vehicles who openly flouted the president’s directives with impunity. 

Meanwhile, the count of infected people was steadily on the rise. These and other factors informed the presidency to revisit the partial lockdown. 

On April 9, 2020, the President of the Republic of Ghana once again broadcast to update Ghanaians on mitigating measures being implemented by government to stem the spread of the virus. Included in the measures was another week of partial lockdown. The extension also came with some interventions to help cushion the harsh economic impact on Ghanaians; absorption of water bills for three months; 50% reduction in electricity bills; free food delivery for the needy; increased remuneration for frontline health personnel; slight reduction in fuel cost, among others.

The novel measures were embraced by most Ghanaians. Unfortunately, the free food distribution was initially poorly thought-through, uncoordinated and executed and political opponents made mincemeat of the situation.  

On April 19, 2020, the President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo once again spoke to the nation. The cardinal message was the lifting of the lockdown and the relaxation of travel restrictions and economic activities in the locked down metropolis of Accra and Kumasi.

However, other measures such as social distancing, and mass gatherings remained unchanged. The lifting of the partial lockdown did not sit well with some individuals and institutions who’d rather have opted for total lockdown. Their argument on a cursory glance hold water given the fact that the count of infected people had increased from two on March 12 to about 566 cases on April 12. Government contends that the increase of infected cases may be due to aggressive and mitigating factors such as contact-tracing and testing, isolation and quarantine etc.

In his latest broadcast to the nation on April 26, 2020 President Akufo-Addo extended the ban on social gatherings for another two weeks and maintained the other existing measures, including social distancing and the wearing of face masks. He warned those Ghanaians who aid foreign nationals to enter Ghana through the illegal entry points. He also mentioned that his government has decided to undertake a major investment in in the healthcare infrastructure, adding that it would begin building 88 hospitals in the districts without hospitals.

Amandla tends to agree with the government which had a choice of either doing nothing (and allow the virus to take its own course), partial lockdown (to assess matters arising out of it) or complete lockdown (that would have brought the economy of Ghana on its knees). Making informed decisions in situations such as we are experiencing is no easy task. The President of Ghana and his team of experts indubitably, considered several parameters and indicators along the way before settling on the best option for the country and its citizens.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has proven once again that he is not afraid to make tough decisions when necessary. We at Amandla are sure that the president understands that should he win, he wins for all, but should he lose, he loses for himself only.

Mr. President, coronavirus has shown the vulnerabilities of some world leaders whose decisions or lack thereof have not benefitted their citizens. You’ve stood tall and steadfast in these challenging times and for that we say…


P.S. And lest we forgot the lockdowns in Ghana and elsewhere carry added natural advantage:  the potential boom of “corona babies” at end of year or early next year.

There’d be no surprises if new names such as Coroson/Corosen, Korovi, Koroga, and Koloba appear within some ethnic groups in Ghana!

Posted by on May 1 2020. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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