LIFTING THE LOCKDOWN IN THE FACE OF INCREASING RATE OF CORONA VIRUS INFECTION IN GHANA IS PROBLEMATIC, PREMATURE AND SUSPICIOUS
The Center for Ethical Governance and Administration has noted with extreme concern the decision by President Akufo Addo to lift the partial lockdown imposed in the Greater Accra, Kasoa and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan areas.
In his seventh presidential broadcast in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the President noted that based on the following factors he had removed the partial lockdown of the identified areas.
- Ability to undertake contact tracing of infected people
- Enhancement of capacity to test
- Expansion in the numbers of treatment and isolation centers
- Better understanding of the dynamism of the virus
- Ramping up of the capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment
- Modest successes chalked at containing the virus in Accra and Kumasi
- Severe impact on the poor and vulnerable
The CEGA however believes that all the issues above from the President have no bearing whatsoever on the ability of the virus to spread in the communities. They do not mean that the virus had been contained. Not a single one of them represents the aim for the lockdown as the President indicated in his earlier address. The real factors that should be considered in any decision to remove a lockdown should include the following;
- The original reason for the lockdown as stated by the President “to contain and halt the spread of the virus within our country”
- The 152 confirmed positive cases on 20th March, 2020 with 5 dead which necessitated the lockdown in only 4 regions – Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern and Upper West out of 16 regions.
- The 1,042 confirmed positive cases with nine dead as at 19th April, 2020 in 10 out of 16 regions
- The results of over 18,000 samples expected in the weeks ahead
- The expectation of new cases of infections with the policy of aggressive tracing and testing
- Ghana still remains the leading country with the highest positive number of confirmed cases in West Africa
- Community spread has reached 77%
The factors above indicate that the original objective for the lockdown has not been achieved. It has rather been totally defeated. The situation has rather worsened as the President’s own facts and figures indicated. And so why on earth should the President contemplate the removal of the lockdown.
Many Ghanaians are shocked about the decision and speculated among other things that;
- The December, 2020 election is looming
- The NPP primary elections are still hanging in the balance
- The NPP has no presidential candidate yet
- The Electoral Commissioner is bent on producing a new voter register against all odds
- The National Identification Authority (NIA) Ghana card registration is in limbo
It might be of interest to know that a few days to the recent nationwide broadcast by the President, the Electoral Commissioner notified its officials that it was organizing a National Planning Meeting and Key Training Workshop at the City Escape Hotel, Prampram from 24th to 29th April 2020 to prepare and plan for the forthcoming registration of voter exercise.
Within the same period, the E.C requested permission from the security agencies enforcing the lockdown to allow crucial staff from the INNOLINK Limited to go to their company’s offices at the North Industrial Area to complete some tasks assigned to them by the Electoral Commission in respect of the December, 2020 elections. The INNOLINK Limited is alleged to be the company which won the bid to procure machines and software for the new voter register.
In the light of these and other factors above, the CEGA is drawing the attention of Ghanaians to the high risk involved in the decision of the President and reject the excuses for lifting the lockdown. CEGA highly suspects that this partial lifting of the lockdown is precursor to a total lifting if the lockdown and social distancing which may be announced at the next nationwide broadcast by the president to enable him execute the hidden political agenda. This is certainly not in the interest of the nation.
Contact tracing will be extremely difficult under the circumstances and infection rate will certainly shoot up to abnormal levels. The health of the people is paramount.
It is against this background that the CEGA is drawing the attention of Ghanaians that the verified facts are pointers that the lifting of the lockdown is unfortunate, problematic, premature and highly suspicious.
Prof. Kwame Ohene Adjei
Dr. Justice Moses Aheto
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s editorial stance.