The political landscape is heating up as December 7 gets nigh. Already, activities all over the country show a charged atmosphere that is ready for the contest.
The debate of Okada licensing and construction of airport in Cape Coast, among others, has started filling the atmosphere. And after the successful voter registration exercise, discussion about manifestoes is next.
The smaller political parties have started with the selection of their candidates for the election. Edward Nasigrie Mahama, leader of the People’s National Convention (PNC), after five times of contesting as flagbearer, from 1996 to 2016, save 2012, has decided not to contest on the party’s ticket this time around.
Over the weekend, the brilliant lawyer and the Convention People’s Party’s 2016 flagbearer, Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, in a landslide victory, won to become the party’s 2020 flagbearer.
In Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom’s Progressive People’s Party, the 2016 running mate, Brigitte Dzogbenuku, is in a pole lead to becoming the party’s 2020 flagbearer while the Y3nko Nkoaa group, Kofi Akpaloo and his Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) in July endorsed the founder as the flagbearer, with Margaret O'Brien Sarfo as its running mate.
The bigger political parties have also started various campaign tours ahead of the general election. Last week, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took his tour to the Western and Central regions where he cut sods for some projects and commissioned others.
At Ekumfi, for instance, he was honoured with the conferment of the title Nana Oyeadze Nokwarfo I, which means ‘Chief of Development and Truth’, for what Paramount Chief of Ekumfi Traditional Area, Odeefo Akyin VII, says is due to the President’s “steadfastness, reliability and hard work”.
While the President was in the Western and Central regions, the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress had also been touring other places.
Former President Mahama started from the Savannah Region and has moved to the Volta and Oti regions while his running mate, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, started from the Central Region through the Greater Accra to the Upper East Region.
Disregard for Covid-19 protocols
What is shocking in all these activities is the blatant disregard for the Covid-19 safety protocols. People cluster in multitudes to meet these political heads with no protection – no nose masks, no social distancing, nothing!
People are bussed from different locations, packed like sardine, to meet at certain locations to be addressed. Scenes from such campaign activities make one wonder whether we do not believe that the virus is real or something. We behave as if the virus is completely out of the system.
One wonders if it is an issue of lack of education, ignorance about the disease or people are just over enthused about the presence of political figures in their society.
What is fascinating is that the very people they rush to go and see, and in most cases never even see them, are well protected, by observing social distancing, wearing their masks and constantly using their alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
At every given moment, party leadership at the locality and the traditional authorities they go to meet provide them with hand washing facilities, and yet the people going to see them rather break all the protocols.
Ola Rotimi, in his masterpiece ‘The gods are not blame’ says: “What is the use of greetings to a dying body?” I say, “What is the use of rushing to meet a politician if you won’t be available to vote for him/her?”
Nana Akufo-Addo or John Mahama is not interested in having the numbers meet them, at least not in this era of Covid-19. They are interested in having the numbers vote for them. They need you alive to vote than to rush to meet them and catch Covid.
Currently, a whooping 1,712 people are living with Covid-19 in the country. As of yesterday, some 180 people were diagnosed to have contracted the virus.
At least some 43,505, since March this year, have contracted the virus in the country. Despite the country’s high recoveries/discharge rate, which has led to some 41,532 people recovering from the virus, some 261 people have also regrettably succumbed to the virus.
The number of the people who have succumbed to the virus, as recorded, are those who were diagnosed before their death. We do not know the real number of people who died without being diagnosed. As seen from other countries where the death toll has sometimes been revised upward, one can say that there is a likelihood of plus or minuses to the death toll in Ghana that we do not know.
This is why we all need to protect ourselves.
Covid-19 is real, and it is still here with us. Just a cursory look around will tell you that the virus is not gone. Why are our students still in the house? Why are we constantly being reminded to observe social distance? Why are local assemblies’ announcement pickups still disturbing our sleeps at night with Covid info? They all lead to one answer: we are not in normal times.
We cannot behave like how we used to live even in this era.
President Akufo-Addo and the NPP would not have a virtual manifesto launch, to reduce number of people at the occasion, and want you to crowd together when he goes out.
John Mahama and the NDC would not have a virtual running mate outdooring and want you to disobey the protocols when he goes out.
One other thing that is disheartening is how we go about our normal duties as if nothing is happening. Over the weekend, when I travelled from Accra to Akyem Oda, going through Cape Coast and back to Accra, I could count the total number of people who had nose masks in all the places I visited, not to talk of those wearing same.
Youth groups are still going for joking and playing ‘gala’ (football competition).
Today in Osu, there is an announcement of ‘Homowo Street Jam’.
How can we be living our lives this way? Maybe, just maybe, we need the military and the police back on the streets to force us to obey the basic principles.