How we abuse the freedoms we have and take them for granted: So we had to wait for a virus to learn how to wash our hands and maintain proper hygiene standards after 62 years of being the first country south of the Sahara, to gain independence?
So, we had to wait for the COVID – 19 virus to learn how to disinfect our markets and Central Business Districts?
Have we not had a plethora of Official Reports and Surveys painting puking pictures of the smelly state of Accra and how Ghana was once ranked second on the African Continent behind war-torn Sudan when it comes to, Open Defecation?
Yet we could not be bothered about taking all the necessary steps to get our act together by way of enforcing all the existing laws relating to sanitation until COVID-19 came flexing its muscles and now forcing us to pay attention to the Veronica Bucket – an invention by a Ghanaian. Is it not a shame?
Years ago in Ghana, it was the status-quo to look out for each other so we had sanitary inspectors who would walk around the communities and homes, making sure that the best hygiene standards were maintained.
In near-recent times, I recall how a certain Warrant Officer Class One, Salifu Amankwa, took it upon himself during the PNDC Days of President Jerry Rawlings, to ensure that, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was kept clean and how all those who dared litter around that place, were compelled to engage in manual labour to compensate for their littering indiscretions.
Circle became extremely neat and a no-go area for filth until we began to demonise Salifu Amankwa, in the name of some so-called democracy and its attendant freedoms, and wrote petitions to get him out of place and after his exit, Circle became one of the citadels of filth and stench in Ghana.
It amazes me how some people, who over the years, have sought to deride the presence of the Ghana Armed forces in managing the affairs of state, are now ululating and praising the military for helping manage the spread the CORONA Virus and actually demanding a constant military-police joint operations in maintaining strict “zombie” sanitation and hygiene standards beyond this Virus scare, and I am a proponent of the need for the military to remain after God takes away COVID-19.
Is it not now very obvious that there is more that unites us than divides us? Over the decades, we have allowed the freedom of our democracy to push us to pursue very, parochial, partisan, and sectarian interests, and allowed our national interest to be subsumed by our negative self-seeking interests.
So, we now know that a Ghanaian, Mrs. Veronica Bekoe, invented the, Veronica Bucket? I read in the Daily Graphic of, Wednesday, April 01, 2020, that, Mrs. Veronica Bekoe is now pleading with the government of Ghana to help her patent her invention because since she came up with the concept, she has been encountering countless obstacles in her quest to patent the invention. It is my prayer that she would not only be supported to patent her invention for Ghana’s name to fly high, but aslo be decorated with a National Award.
“Necessity Is The Mother Of All Invention”, but never again must we wait for a virus to compel us to wash our hands as well as adopt the best hygienic standards, and when, God, in His divine Grace and Mercies moves us out of CONVID – 19, never again must we take our personal and national hygiene matters for granted.
From a sociological functionalist perspective, this Virus is going to teach us critical lessons for the good of our own human existence.
I congratulate the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government for not panicking and being very cautious in its lockdown policies so they do not end up doing more harm than good.
Former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, and John Dramani Mahama, are also playing commendable roles.
Tons of thanks to the Ghana Health Service, House of Chiefs, Faith based Organisations, Financial Institutions, the media, and Ghanaians for uniting behind a common agenda to fight COVID-19.
As for the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Prisons Service, the Ghana Fire Service, and all other frontline Institutions of State, God bless them for the work they are doing.
Kudos to the Utility and other Services providers; our hard working market women and men; and our brave commercial drivers for braving the storm and keeping us alive.
Samuel Koku Anyidoho
Founder, Atta-Mills Institute