By Kwasi Frimpong
The world and as expected Ghana has been inundated with news about the novel coronavirus, Covid-19 for the past few days. Following the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, China, somewhere in December last year, it has grown to become a global pandemic, splitting the world apart and uniting the world at the same time. The pandemic has affected the social, economic and religious life of individuals, countries and organisations.
The disease has also exposed the weaknesses of the so called super powers of the world and shown the audacity of the so-called third world countries. For a supposed third world country like Ghana to have the audacity to close it borders to a supposed G8 country like UK tells us of the proverbial ‘we are all equal before the Lord or Law’ (depending on how you want to look at it). In Ghana, our forebears say the strength of even the weakest is shown when chased by the strongest. The world strongest enemy, coronavirus, has thus exposed the strength of the third world. To the extent that Cuba now has to support Italy in dealing with the pandemic shows that the so-called world ‘super powers’ was probably a myth after all.
One for Nana
Back home, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his team of experts’ handling of the situation has won the country the admiration of all. World leaders and commoners alike have not hidden their admiration for Ghana’s handling of the situation. Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has described the president’s forth address to the country as ‘powerful’. My Cameroonian friend, Tedji Cedric, during a discussion between young African Leaders on a Sub-region platform on how African leaders are managing the covid-19 situation had this to say about President Akufo-Addo; “Damn! This is a president! Fellow Ghanaians, you wouldn’t know how some of us admire your president & wish we were in your shoes…His words are so assuring, he demonstrates a strong mastery of the situation and it’s repercussions on the masses, the measures he proposes cuts & touches every sector & Ghanaian. Chai! Where did we go wrong in this triangle?”
National Day of fasting and prayers
On Wednesday March 25, 2020 the nation showed how united we could be when it matters most. Declared as a National Fasting and Prayers day against Covid-19, it had absolute cooperation from almost every Ghanaian irrespective of political or religious colour. Leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, mobilised support for the day using his various social media handles. The media dedicated the whole day for the programme with religious organisations from all sides also dedicating themselves to the call. For a while, if there is something that could unite us this much, one would say the pandemic was our ‘saviour’ from our deep polarisation that day.
Companies, agencies, churches, pastors, politicians and individuals have also donated items worth several cedis to different categories of people in these trying times. The donations continue to trickle in even at this time of partial lockdown. One cannot help but to say that if for nothing all, the pandemic has brought to the world and especially Ghana a strong bond of unity. Maybe Pastor Dr. Mensah Otabil is right that at the end of it all, the world will never be the same after this pandemic.
Hike in prices
However, the pandemic has also exposed the corrupt nature of the Ghanaian. It has brought to the fore the self-centred nature of the Ghanaian and how wicked some people can be by exploiting on the vulnerabilities of others.
I have always maintained that an action is deemed a corrupt act when it does not favour the accuser. Indeed every Ghanaian is always looking for the least opportunity to dupe the other.
The pandemic unfortunately has brought in its wake unwarranted panic buying despite all the assurances from authorities. For some traders, this is the opportune time to exploit the masses.
One would ask if we were not the same people who fasted and prayed together just last week.
So what will be one’s motivation to deliberately want to ‘steal’ from the brother or sister in this trying times that many companies have laid off workers due to stricter government sanctions to curb the spread of the disease. Are we that wicked as a people?
Panic travelling and smuggling of people
To make matters worse are those who in the wake of the pandemic only care about their pocket and have deliberately decided to disregard all appeals from authorities. People are said to be smuggling people through unapproved route to the country due to the closure of our borders. Ten of such people who were smuggled in are reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 upon surveillance by the Covid-19 team that got such people arrested.
Why would anybody due to some GHC20 or probably less not care about the lives of the over 30 million Ghanaians?
One other disturbing issue is the panic traveling that met the announcement of a lock down by the president. Must we, really, quickly rush to spread the disease across the country? What was the need for the panic traveling? Personally, I feel disheartened with the panic traveling that met the announcement.
Now, it is safe to conclude that almost every Ghanaian everywhere is at risk due to actions of people who quickly ran from the ‘hot spot’ areas.
Actions of Covid-19 team
Probably, worst of it all is the actions of some members of the Covid-19 team. Several reports indicate that some staff of the team, themselves, do not seem to appreciate the severity of the disease. There are reports of members of the team directing people who have shown signs of the disease to go to the hospital themselves instead of asking them to self-isolate and relaying their concerns to the appropriate offices. There are reports of members of the team not responding to people who are showing signs of the disease. There are also reports of health professionals hording Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in their store rooms while their staff work without the equipment, some staff ‘stealing’ the PPEs and sharing for their family members at the expense of their colleagues among others.
The president, his government and authorities are doing their best; we cannot continue to undermine their effort with our wicked and self-centred actions. We all stand at risk if we don’t emulate ‘communalism’ against ‘individualism’ in this fight.
Isolate socially, gather mentally and let us all be each other’s keeper.
In the words of the President, this too shall pass.
We shall overcome.