1. The government, in my view, slightly delayed in taking certain drastic decisions to check the importation of this deadly virus to Ghana. But, better late than never.
2. We are well able to break the cycle of this virus, if we act seriously, unlike the Italians who took matters for granted and are experiencing a near national lock-down at the moment.
3. I support the temporal banning of all large gatherings, just that the attempt to mention names of the gatherings, has been problematic, particularly, as people are now questioning the rationale for the seeming “choice of pubs over churches”. I honestly do not think the interpretations put on this, is fair. But, the government needlessly invited this bashing. We could have just limited ourselves to “all public gatherings” and excluded places where “essential services” on which human lives are contingent.
4. Many mainline churches have complied with the directive for the one month ban on church gatherings, and they must be commended for this. However, a few church leaders have raised concerns about the lack of consultations, prior to the directive. These concerns may be legitimate, particularly in a democratic dispensation like ours. But they must know that there was some urgency at the time of the decision as the times are not normal now. They should therefore pardon the lapse and comply with the directive.
5. More importantly, who are those who took the decision to ban church gatherings for one month in Ghana? These aren’t atheists. They are part of the 70percent Ghanaians who are churchically Christians. They are the ones who, in spite of all contrary views, are determined to build a cathedral for God in Ghana. They are Christians too and our church leaders must know that the church is not only about its pastors and leaders. It’s also about its members.
6. Indeed, our revered church leaders must know that they cannot be more Christians and more affected by the ban, than its members, some of whom, are the key policy makers who took the decision to ban church gatherings for one month. Put differently, President Nana Akufo Addo is a Christian too. He doesn’t profess atheism.
7. The dissenting views from some church leaders must be respected and tolerated. But in the interest of public safety, the President’s decision must be respected too. Indeed, Christian Church Leaders must support the Cathedral-Builder Christian President in dealing with a national crisis in order to create a healthy atmosphere for all of us to go back to the church grounds to worship.
8. The government must deal ruthlessly with anyone found to have violated this ban. For we do not have many times in our democratic governance when the main opposition leader, will call for public support of the ruling government in dealing with a crisis situation.
9. It is not typical for an NDC flagbearer to ask his former appointees to offer support to the ruling government, in handling any situation. Yet, we are told former President Mahama, has given such directive in consonance with my lecture hall teaching that, the opposition does not exist to only oppose.
10. In some other advance jurisdictions, the opposition has a function of conducting research into a national crisis and making its findings about solutions, known to the ruling government. It is, therefore, a fundamental misunderstanding of its role when the opposition continues to wallow in what is called “the opposition disease”, a situation where they only oppose just for the sake of it.
11. The credibility of an opposition party must also be judged on the number times they are able to offer praise, support and practical policy alternatives when needed, and not only on the number of times they are able to play the role of cynics, subjecting every governmental actions and inaction, to annihilating criticisms.
12. I commend President Mahama for his call on his former appointees to offer support. The former appointees must do so with sincerity and without grudge. Also, those in power must be magnanimous in accepting comments, as well as suggestions from the opposition, on how to deal with the pandemic in Ghana. Those in opposition now, dealt with Ebola. They, therefore, have some experience and would have something to offer. The practice of “winner-knows-all” must not be tolerated in times of national crisis and emergencies.
13. There should be total cooperation with the government by all stakeholders. The few one-man churches that want to create problems by attempting to do contrary to the President’s directive must be dealt. For, every democracy requires some element of dictatorship to make it work well. Also, if politicians who are deemed “evil” by some people have decided to work together to deal with a national crisis in the interest of humanity, churchical Christian leaders who, until God judges, are deemed to be “good, peaceful, and heaven-goers” also by some people, cannot be seen to be doing what even “ the politically evil” won’t do.
14. Let us work together to prevail in this crisis and more importantly, may we all learn to appreciate the vanity and futility of everything, and run to take refuge in God, the ultimate anti coronavirus vaccine, who is not yet to be developed, but exists.
PAV Ansah Street
Suro Nipa House
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