President Akufo-Addo announces a ban on public gatherings in an address to the nation

The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) has lauded President Nana Akufo-Addo’s directive to ban all church activities in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

President of the Council, Rev Prof. Paul Yaw Frimpong-Manso, commended the President for being “proactive,” adding that “the decision should have come yesteryears”.

He spoke on Adom FM’s current affairs show, Burning Issues, on Monday, March 16, 2020.

His comment follows a crunch meeting held by the GPCC pursuant to the guidelines presented by President Akufo-Addo to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“In a state of fire outbreak, do we ask of the cause of the fire before quenching it?” he quizzed host, Akua Boakyewaa Yiadom, noting that the President could have even chosen not to engage in extensive consultations before announcing the directives.

President Akufo-Addo addressed the state on Sunday, March 15, on measures being taken to control the spread of the Covid-19.

He announced a suspension of all social gatherings including the shutdown of all public and private schools in the country.

“Firstly, all public gatherings including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four weeks,” the President said.

He added, “Establishments, such as supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, night clubs, hotels and drinking spots, should observe enhanced hygiene procedures by providing amongst others, hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands”.

This has caused many to question why President Akufo-Addo, who is building a cathedral for Christians would suspend church activities and allow night clubs and pubs to function.

But Rev. Frimpong-Manso reiterated that, in a state of emergency, the “President has the constitutional right to protect everybody and he doesn’t owe anybody, he has taken a bold and brave decision”.

Commenting on the questions being asked by people on the non-closure of pubs and night clubs, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church said the President acted based on perspective.

Speaking in Twi, he said persons complaining about the exemption of clubs, pubs and night clubs in the directive have failed to understand the background of the President’s move’

According to him, in Ghana, Christians form 71 per cent of the population and hence banning church activities is a good way to check the spread of the virus.

In the U.S. and other countries, people don’t go to church that much so their President may not suspend church activities but football, baseball and other activities that are patronised by most of the citizens, he said,

He added, however, that people have their opinions which must be respected but insisted that religious fanaticism could scuttle efforts to stem the spread of the virus in Ghana.

Rev. Frimpong-Manso also established that the directive banning church activities does not defy service to God.

In his view, if the argument was that churches should be allowed to continue their activities and pray for the eradication of the disease from Ghana, then in a similar way they could have done that to prevent it from coming into the country in the first place.