In a recent development, following the lift of the partial lockdown by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Sarkodie, the Rapper, twitted to applaud President Akufo Addo for his decision, and requested that the President opens the borders of Ghana temporary for Ghanaians abroad to return home.
This request has received different reactions from the public; some backlashed him while others shared his sentiments.
Most people who disagree with Sarkodie seems to assume that all people abroad are working for their wellbeing – “why not stay abroad and chill”; a reaction following Sarkodie’s plea. It is worth noting that not all people travel out of the shores of Ghana to work, hence can afford a lengthy stay. Most students who are funded to study abroad do not earn stipends during vacations.
There are people who left the shores of Ghana for activities including workshops, conferences, and research activities and are stuck in various countries across the globe. Usually, these categories of professionals do not have work permit to undertake any temporal legal work in these host countries, even if there are job opportunities.
Workshops, conferences and research activities are funded for a period of time and once funds are exhausted, participants have no choice than to get back home to their normal lives. Students, researchers, conference and workshop participants, athletes and many other categories of people have locked up abroad. Meanwhile, they have no means of continuous stay. These professionals are equally Ghanaians whose problems should be of importance to the government. We know of a Ghanaian researcher who is stuck in Sierra Leone, meanwhile, his funds are exhausted, his time is due, and he has no means of continuous stay in Sierra Leone.
It is acceptable for Ghanaians at home to show concern about the effect that may be associated with the return of Ghanaians abroad; however, there is always a way out. Other countries have evacuated their citizens from abroad. This is not to say that Ghana should replicate the strategies of other countries. Ghana may not have the resources needed for an evacuation, but could she open her borders for Ghanaians who are stranded abroad, with no means of survival, to get back home to their families and normal lives?
Returnees could be quarantined for two weeks and tested just like it’s been done in other countries. People have raised concerns about the cost of quarantine. We suggest that some or most returnees are allowed to self-quarantine in their homes rather than in costly hotels. In a press conference organized by the Ministry of information on April 22, 2020, Dr. Aboagye outlined criteria that are used to identify an infected person who can self-quarantine.
These included an appropriate home environment with enough space and the determination of the likelihood that someone will cooperate. He also indicated that patients are visited from time to time to ascertain their wellbeing and cooperation. These same criteria can be extended to people returning from abroad, in such cases, most can self-quarantine, thereby putting less stress on government funds.