Last week, I had the privilege to interview Dr. John Amuasi of KCCR. After the interview, it was clear one would not need a medical certificate from the respected John Hopkins University school of medicine to know that Ghana stands a risk of second wave coronavirus infections.
According to President Akufo-Addo last night, “The number of daily infections is on the rise, from an average of twenty-five (25) new cases per day(three weeks ago) to an average of over one hundred and thirty (130) new cases per day in the course of the last two weeks”. This is a worrying trajectory that should scare us all.
Speaking to Dr Amuasi, he bemoaned the blatant disregard for the coronavirus safety measures and protocols. Political parties and actors especially flouted these protocols with contempt. As the elections season heat up, we have witnessed how political parties are organised huge rallies and campaigns, disguised as health walk. Ironically, most of the patrons of these walks are served fufu and Kenkey after the walk.
Walking through town and using public transport, you can literally count the number of people in masks. Many of us wearing it are wearing it on our chin. Some seniormost fashionistas amongst us have also turned it into a "wristband"
I'm worried at this trajectory for many reasons. Our already distressed economy cannot afford another lockdown. Many people have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Parents will be paying schools in January. For those in tertiary institutions, it's a double agony; school fees and hostel fees. All these mean another wave of this virus will be catastrophic for our economy and the Ghanaian people.
We shouldn't risk all these for an election. Yes, I agree an election is important in the scheme of thimgs but if COVID rampages the economy, destroy all the gains we've made as a nation, what profit is that to the president coming in? Are we not going to borrow more to fix the mess?
We've seen elsewhere, how this tiny and negligible-looking virus has caused political and football tsunamis. Many political connoisseurs believe the mismanagement and downplaying of COVID in the United States by the Trump administration played a key role in his huge defeat in the just ended US elections. Trump's trump card going into the election was the economy, COVID reversed all those gains.
In Ethiopia, I read that non-compliance with the wearing of nose masks attracts some jail sentences. That may be draconian but I feel we need some force of enforcement. An enforcement of these guidelines by the citizenry, including political actors.
Fellow Ghanaians, we should not lay down our guard. And our political parties and actors should know and act better for our collective gain.
- Eugene Osei-Tutu