Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs has shot down suggestions, the 2020 elections should be put hold as Ghana battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu says it is too early to have such a conversation at this stage.
“It is too early in the day to call for any such thing. It’s just about four to five weeks since we had this affliction and that we’ve woken up to it. We are doing our best to confront this.
“Let’s see how it plays out. My counselled opinion is it’s too early to call for the suspension of the general elections,” he told JoyNews in Kumasi.
The Ashanti Regional NPP Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, has called for this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections to be put on hold.
He appears not to be alone in advocacy of the matter.
In a Facebook post, Political Science lecturer at University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Yaw Gyampo, calls for full risk assessment on implications of holding election 2020.
“We must fully assess the risks and implications of holding the 2020 elections in the wake of Covid-19. Depending on how hard we may be hit by the disease, it may be very difficult to hold the elections,” the post said.
He argues postponing the polls may amount to suspending the political rights of the citizenry.
Prof Gyampo asserts, by going ahead with elections, Ghana risks challenges that may undermine public health and lead to what he describes as “voting without choosing’’.
“A postponement of the election may amount to the risk of suspending the political rights of the citizenry. This in political theory is almost coterminous with a denial of man’s right to life.
Going on with the elections, also risks several challenges that may undermine public health and lead to “voting without choosing” as well as the conduct of an election, whose legitimacy may be in severe doubt, he stated.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, however, believes it is too early to talk about suspension of this year’s elections.
“I wouldn’t want at this stage in our national life to say that we should suspend the elections; I think it’s premature.
We are hoping that by the measures that we are putting in place including the laws that Parliament has fashioned; the Restrictions Bill, the Coronavirus Trust Fund and the statement from the Minister responsible for Finance [and] how the nation is preparing itself to combat the disease. Let’s see what the combined efforts jointly produce.
According to Mr. Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, collective efforts of Ghanaians should be directed at saving now and not ordinary politicking.
“Life matters more than social interactions. Life should be over and above anything. The primus concern of all of us should be promotion of life. Let’s protect ourselves and let’s ensure that we don’t have this affliction because if we do, it would be apocalyptic; it could be Armageddon.
“Once we are able to conquer this disease in maybe the next four weeks, then we would be able to make some solemn declarations. Until we get there, lets not over-exaggerate our strength,” he advised.