Ebo Quansah in Accra: Easing restrictions will amount to death sentence on Ghanaians
It is as clear as today is Tuesday. It is not yet time for the removal of restrictions imposed by Executive Instrument and ratified by Parliament, the people’s representatives. I am glad the President minced no words in his broadcast to the nation on Sunday night; the eighth direct talk to the nation since the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic broke out in our part of the world some six weeks ago.
In spite of the removal of the partial lock-down in Metropolitan Accra and Kumasi and their environments, it is not yet Uhuru. The danger out there is far from abating. That is why those hiding behind religion to make ugly noises about the need to relax rules on social distancing, must think again.
We all know the importance of religion in our part of the world especially. But we need to be alive to worship the Almighty. I am not an atheist, but I believe the creator of heaven and earth does not insist on dogmatic worshiping. If it were so, Italy would never have been caught in this pandemic. The Vatican sits right in the centre of Rome, the capital city of the Italian peninsular.
With the Pope, undoubtedly the highest ranked Christian on the earth in residence, worshipping does not cease in the Vatican. It is a 24 hours, seven days a week phenomenon. And yet, Italy has got one of the worse case scenarios in the fight against the pandemic in the world.
Both Muslim and Christian fundamentalists are putting pressure on Jubilee House to remove the restrictions, as if they have the magic wand to end the pandemic the moment they are allowed to worship in the mosque and the various churches.
I am told that some Muslim clergies are behaving as if it was an abomination for them to break their fast without congregating in the mosque. I can only wish them well, but these are not normal times.
I believe that our Muslim brothers and sisters are aware of the circumstances under which the Christian world celebrated the Easter and its Passover. The whole gamut of Christian belief hinges on the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection three days after. All churches in the world, including Ghana, were empty. Various countries in the world confined the commemoration of Easter with its Passover in their individual believers’ rooms.
That should inform our Muslim brothers and sisters not to put too much pressure for the restrictions on social distancing to be eased. There is every evidence out there that the average Ghanaian is incapable of observing the social distancing rule. All over our markets and public places, Ghanaians are milling without the nose masks and sanitisers. Any attempt to remove the restrictions would lead to mass suicide.
In any case, with all their prophetic deeds, none of our so-called Men of God saw the pandemic coming. Rather, there have been some wide claims from some of these one-man church leaders who claim to be in contact with God.
The other day, Prophet T.B. Joshua, the self-acclaimed man of God who holds all-day open prayer meetings from his Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, predicted that the global pandemic would end on March 27, 2020. That date has come and gone. He was reported to have given another deadline. That has also been a fiasco.
In Accra, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-William, leader of the Action Chapel, with its headquarters along the Accra-Tema Motorway, saw the end of Convid-19 manifesting itself before the end of April. Today is the 28th. There are only two days remaining on the April calendar. Unless there is a miracle, akin to his own conversion from a two-time stowaway to the powerful man of God, Archbishop Duncan-William’s prophesy would remain a mere footnote in the history of this pandemic.
I would not hesitate to add that the tendency to make oneself more powerful and to attract heavy tithes and offerings is at the heart of these predictions. I would like to believe that in this gamesmanship, there is always an eye for Caesar’s head.
The danger in such predictions is that they give false hope to people who have so much faith in these so-called men of the clergy. That is one reason why Jubilee House should stand firm.
When I heard President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s broadcast to the nation on Sunday night, in which the Head of State outlined plans for the construction of 88 new hospitals in districts without such health facilities, I jumped for joy. One of this nation’s major infrastructure deficits is in health delivery at the district level.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the Coronavirus has not only ravaged the country, it has also exposed the inequality in the health delivery system, and assured the people of the government’s response to the challenges in health care delivery in this country.
“It would mean 10 in Ashanti, nine in Volta, nine in Central, eight in Eastern, seven in Greater Accra, seven in Upper East, five in Northern, five in Oti, five in Upper West, five in Bono, four in Western, three in Ahafo, three in Savannah, two in Bono East, and two in North-East regions,” the President announced.
One hopes that the government works hard to land the funding for these noble projects, rather than to waste time and efforts trying to satisfy those who think that the pulpit is the place to find silver and gold.
The health care system has always been one of this nation’s major problem areas. In many societies, people have to commute for miles before accessing medical care. Over the years, hundreds of patients have lost their lives before reaching standard health care facilities.
In my own Ekumfi backyard for instance, the long wait for district status ended in 2012 with the inauguration of the Ekumfi District Assembly. Since then, the people have waited, without hope, for a district hospital.
My hope and prayer are that the 88 hospital projects for distressed districts would not forever remain a mere paper guarantee.
I was not surprised to hear from the Presidential broadcast that some unscrupulous state officials are thwarting the government’s effort to contain Convid-19 infections by dubious means at our border posts. As a matter of fact, it is universal knowledge that some unscrupulous immigration officers have been collecting bribes from aliens arriving from our neighbouring countries, and allowing these illegal migrants to cross the various borders into Ghana.
I have been told of immigration commanders at our boarders demanding monies ranging from GH¢4,000 to GH¢8,000 as a condition for aiding aliens to cross into Ghana. I do not believe these nation-wreckers deserve to be treated with kid gloves.
I am asking the Comptroller General at the Immigration headquarters in Accra to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter before more damage is caused in our fight against the pandemic.
It is sickening to note that anytime state security officials are appointed to police any criminal activities, these officials rather tend to collect monies from miscreants, and rather aid them to perpetrate the illegal acts.
Fast-forward to the campaign against galamsey. The whole nation was told that some of the military and police officials assembled to lead the fight against galamsey were, and are, still compromised. They rather take bribes from the illegal perpetrators and turn a blind eye to their flourishing black market trade.
Police officials on patrol turned their duty on the road into a money spinning venture. That is a truth universally acknowledged. Ghanaians and money!
At the last count, this country has recorded 1,550 Covid-19 cases, with 11 deaths and still counting. We have not reached the stage in our lives when we could afford to ease the restrictions currently in place. Many of our people are not observing the social distancing rules. That is the nature of the Ghanaian.
I have heard that there are people going round in our rural communities telling the ignorant folks out there that the disease has been imported by Nana Akufo-Addo for his political purposes, and that people ought not to respect the directives from Jubilee House. It is a very serious development that requires government representatives in the district, the Information Services Department, and all those with the ability for mass education, to diffuse this dangerous but deliberate mis-education out there.
I have also heard ugly noises from opposition National Democratic Congress officials trying rather too hard to undermine the government’s effort at bringing relief to the under-privileged during the lock-down period in Accra and Kumasi. Almost every officer the NDC has employed in its own venture of bringing relief to the vulnerable has taken advantage to add his or her own political twist to the saga.
Former President John Dramani Mahama, who is frantically seeking to return to Jubilee House after messing up with our lives, gave a few handouts to mainly party activists the other time and added oil to troubled waters. He read out a prepared speech accusing the government of political machination in the distribution of rations to the vulnerable.
What he conveniently forgot to tell Ghanaians is that the parcel distribution channel he created was mainly operated in constituencies where the NDC’s electoral fortunes are believed to be bright.
Sometimes, we have to muster courage and tell the NDC and its operators a few home truths. Here is a former President who mis-used our resources as the leader of this nation. As you read this article, Mr. Mahama has failed to answer allegations from a British Crown Court in London that Government Official One authorised state money to be paid to an aircraft manufacturing company in London, in honour of a contractual deed to purchase three Airbus aircraft, contrived to take a bribe. As much as five million Euros was allegedly involved.
Mr. Mahama has remained mute in the face of overwhelming evidence that the intermediary in the bribery scandal was an adopted son of his late father. That is not all. There is another damaging allegation from the United States that at the time he was President of this nation, that officials of his government and some members of Parliament took bribes from companies negotiating for the purchase of power generators bought by this country also took bribes.
I am serving notice here that some of us would provide our services in the crusade to establish the truth. In the interim, what matters is for the former President to tell Ghanaians the truth in the matter. The last I heard, Mr. John Dramani Mahama is one of the richest Ghanaians alive. It is our duty to help this nation establish how he came by his huge fortune, reported to be around the region of US$900 million.
I shall return!