From the voice of reason:
There is only one story in Ghana and in the world right now: The corona ('Collora') virus is creating unprecedented social, political and economic havoc---probably unprecedented in the history of the world, in recent times.
Even the proverbial Ghanaian hospitality ,that we are affectionately known for across the globe has been 'coronazed' and shunned without exception. Social -distancing is the norm and reality.
In Ghana, at least ,this is the first time in the history of Ghana that the Ghanaians are shunning Chinese nationals in Ghana like crazy. Not only that, the Ghanaian returnees coming from abroad are also being shunned or rejected by the natives like lepers. Everyone is avoiding them .Nevertheless, this is probably the best and first time the Ghanaians in the dispora can really ,really, exhale and enjoy their time and lives in Ghana without interruptions .
This is very extraordinary observation. But, I'm sure you won't understand its implications and ramifications ,if you have not been 'victimized '(as in being pesewased and cedied) for being a 'burger' in Ghana .You pay more for services and products, than the average native Ghanaian if you are a 'burger'.
Until this unfortunate epidemic broke out, if you returned from abroad to Ghana for holidays it felt like you owed almost every person you encountered a living. People want things from you like father Christmas. Now ,you would be shunned and discarded like a used vehicle tire.
This is the funniest side of life. Indeed, life has its own way of playing tricks on us.--I can't stop myself from laughing !.
To that end, here are the five coronavirus' impacts in Ghana:
1)The One-Man churches: Coronaviurs will eventually slow down the mushrooming of one-man's churches .Their tithes, counseling fees, 'akwankyere' fees, and population will diminish tremendously, if its effects continue. This also can free up the TV airwaves that they have hijacked. With that, some of the radio and TV frequencies will be available for educational informative programs for our kids and students.--that can boost the spirit of the free SHS initiative.
2)Rampant Motor accidents: Motor accidents on our pot-holes infested roads are the major cause of death in Ghana..It also consumes 1.6 percent of our GDP--which is way too much for a country like ours-especially, given the needed priorities that need financial attention .So anything which can reduce this malice on our roads is not only saving money for the nation, but it also saves human capital investment.
With the adverse effects of Coronavirus , people are not travelling that much so there are not many vehicles on our roads; racing against time or another vehicle to pick the next passenger .The nation is robbed everyday of its able-bodies and human capital resources; whenever there is a deadly car accident.
There are many causalities of road accidents: The emotional and economic costs. The deceased's families left behind, business ideas that never saw the light of the day, books that were never written, dreams that never materialized and a fragile nation which is being robbed of its scarce human capital. We surely need a break from wearing 'kuntukuni' on every weekend.
3)Sanitation: The use of hand sanitizers and hand-washing practices were never part of our DNA. And food contamination and poor sanitation have always been our Achilles' heel . But the fear of the coronavirus has really made all of us sanitation ambassadors for now. Everything is sanitized, over and over.And, if we can top it off with not piling up mountainous garbage in the middle of the streets around the Rawlings' park, that will really break a historical record. At least, that will allow us to take a break from mosquitoes and their malaria .
4)The environmental Mismanagement: Forest degradation, sand mining, 'galamsey' and haphazard waste disposal practices have been with us for several decades. But now ,at least , we know that someone's environmental mistakes(upstream) elsewhere may sip downstream like corona virus .No mercy, no respecter of person, no limit to the distant---it can adversely affect others far, far away from the epicenter. Everyone can and will be a victim if we do not collectively fight against environmental mismanagement practices. This shows that we all live in one global village indeed!.
5)Politics: There is a deep freeze on politics in Ghana right now. Politics has simply stopped. No rallies, no policy plans, no political attacks and insults. No nothing!.
When will it begin again? No one knows. And, no one really wants to be the first person back in the political muddy water--particularly given concerns about infection and contagion and backlash.
Make no mistake: The presidential race is, going to start with a full swing, whenever the country emerges from the quarantined mode. Nevertheless, coronavirus will have profound effects on 2020 campaign. So what will they be? I don't know. Neither does anyone else--because we've not been in this mess or place before--ever! Particularly, when it's combined with the fear, panic and anxiety .
The coronavirus is not something likely to be forgotten anytime soon. Nor will we ever forget how vulnerable we are as a nation.
Yes, without a doubt, Ghanaians have a very short -memory ,especially, when it comes to natural and other national traumas. However, this profound one is going to leave powerful lingering effects on politics because we eat, drink and sleep with politics. It looks likes 2020 election will hugely be known as the "Coronavirus election".
But, one thing is certain when everything is over: Ghanaians are going to set their priorities right. And, our policymakers and the leaders of every political shade and stripe will fine-tune their priorities and agendas right; to reflect on the nation's aspirations and needs--that is my wish.
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, the tendency to focus exclusively, on superficial symbols and 'paper achievements', as measuring stick of 'success' can easily camouflage our own deep sense of identity crisis, confused sense of belonging and mixed- up priorities .
Oh ,Yes !, since we and our offspring are torn between two 'cultures' ,goals and sense of entitlement, simultaneously; we don't really know where we belong. But, the question is: Are we going to walk alone or try to bring the nation along? Or are we equipped to lift Ghana from its socioeconomic doldrums anytime soon? And, to the socio-economic exiles, can they honestly say(without any reservation)that the possession of a foreign passport alone, makes them 'foreigners' ( and not 'Ghanaians')?
Trust me, your answer will betray your Ghanaian part, which is not willing to negotiate with your conscience and background--several weeks from now.
Yes, there is always a bliss after a storm, so let's turn the aches of the coronavirus into a teachable moment for our own economic upliftment and development ,to get things right because this "misfortunate opportunity" may never come again.
Given the good life this country has offered us( and our politicians and their offspring)---by keeping ethnic- cleansing at bay---doesn't she deserve a little bit of humane treatment and protection from any disaster?
Is that too much to ask from you? I hope not!
And, please turn off the light when you leave the room.
Stay tuned. Be blessed ,educated and informed.
From Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi(voice of reason)
*The author is social commentator and a diehard concerned citizen, not a spectator.