“So, let us, on our part, continue to protect further our health workers by practicing social distancing, washing our hands with soap under running water, refraining from shaking hands, and, yes, wearing our masks whenever we leave our homes. The doctors and scientists tell us that the virus is transmitted from human contact – talking, singing, coughing, sneezing, and, thereby, sending droplets of the virus from one person to another. That is why each one of us must adhere strictly to these directives.”
These were the solemn admonishment of President Nana Akuffo Addo in his 8th address to the nation on Sunday [April 26, 2020].
However, some individuals belonging to one society or the other seem to have purposed in their heart to disregard these laid down precautionary measures. News of people being arrested for flouting the social distancing rule has been in the news recently.
For instance, the Ghana Police Service disclosed on [April 14, 2020] that some 406 persons were arrested for violating the partial lockdown directive and the ban on public gatherings.
Again, four royals of the Akuapem traditional area in the Eastern Region were arrested by the police for flouting the ban on mass gatherings as well as failing to adhere to social distancing protocols when they held a ceremony to enstool the new Paramount Chief of the Akuapem Traditional area.
Figures from the Ghana Health Service indicate that the country has recorded 4,263 cases of the virus as of Saturday, May 9, 2020.
The cases were recorded in 13 of the country’s 16 regions, with Greater Accra alone confirming 3,641.
The Ashanti and Eastern Regions follow with 252 and 96 cases respectively.
However, 378 recoveries have been recorded with 22 persons succumbing to the virus.
Despite the surge in Ghana’s COVID-19 cases, it seems the reality of the devastating nature of the virus has not dawned on Ghanaians yet.
Now, using the Madina La Nkwantanag Municipal Assembly as a case study, the structural deficiency in Ghana’s waste management puts me in a black mood anytime I am at Madina. The indiscipline that has been allowed to go on at the Municipality is overwhelming.
It is heartbreaking to see how authorities who are paid with taxpayers’ money to oversee that the Madina Zongo Junction and its environs are kept neat, free of encroachers and a properly regulated place conducive for commuters, are sleeping on their job and neglecting their duties amidst the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the Greater Accra Region.
There is no doubt the Madina market is one of the largest markets in Accra. Due to the negligence of the authorities to effectively perform their responsibilities, traders have found themselves selling at unapproved places including the shoulders of the road and pavements. Meanwhile, the new market built by the Municipality is practically empty.
In these times of COVID-19 where social distancing is critical to winning the fight against the virus, we cannot afford to see authorities sleeping on the job, as we have a long way to go in combating this pandemic. Again, we are not in normal times hence, we cannot be doing the usual things we use to do. My heart sinks when I hear people ask, “When shall things return to normalcy?” I mean, how?
We must see COVID-19 as an opportunity to move from the usual way we do things. Our transport system must change, the structural arrangement of our markets must change. Local authorities must be seen thinking and develop innovative ideas to run the assemblies. Carrying big titles without work does not bring development.
Although 90 percent of Ghana’s economy is informal, it should not be a justification to deny Ghanaians of a properly structured system.
The writer, Nicholas Brown is a student journalist and a final year at the University of Ghana.
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