The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Ghana Medical Association(GMA)have urged political parties to adopt innovative campaigning methods as part of efforts to prevent a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madam Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson, NCCE and Dr Frank Ankodea, President, GMA, at a joint press conference on Tuesday in Accra, appealed to all political parties to ensure that their activities did not become vectors for the spread of COVID-19.
Madam Nkrumah, who read the statement, noted that the two bodies had observed the wide scale of lackadaisical public posture and a general disregard for the COVID-19 safety protocols.
She said despite stringent measures established to manage the virus including the Executive Instruments for the mandatory wearing of masks, limited numbers at social and public events, rigorous public education, many Ghanaians had reverted to a lifestyle prior to the global pandemic.
“Indeed, many citizens are conducting themselves with a total disregard to the safety protocols. Public transport has almost abandoned the mandatory wearing of masks.
“Gatherings are without appropriate physical distancing including some religious gatherings. Offices, shops, supermarkets, clinics, churches, mosques, no longer maintain the veronica buckets or sanitizers at their entrances,” she said.
She said politicians and political activities were not spared in this observation, declaring that many mini rallies were rife with a reckless abandonment of every reasonable safety protocols.
She said observations by the NCCE and the GMA indicated that politicians and their followers had total disregard for the safety protocols and this had further emboldened citizens to give up in the country’s collective fight against COVID-19.
“Election season is here with us, we reiterate our constant reminders to citizens especially our political leaders that COVID-19 is still real and the disease is still with us.
“We question the relevance of the legislation on the adherence of the COVID-19 safety protocols if we have no commitment to comply and enforce these laws. What has affected the political will to remain focused on the strict adherence of the protocols?”
She reminded Ghanaians of countries which were experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that those including the best which almost eliminated infections in their countries.
Madam Nkrumah said the current public or national complacency and indifference to the COVID-19 Safety Protocols among Ghanaians was a danger that could derail the successes chalked by the nation in the fight against COVID-19. It negates the efforts of NCCE’s public education and the concerted efforts of Government, the media and all institutions.
She urged political parties to use their platforms to project the health of citizens as a foremost interest and that political parties and politicians should exhibit exemplary leadership by urging their supporters and constituents to adhere to the COVID-19 Safety Protocols.
“Until the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorses a vaccine for COVID-19, we remain at risk and political actors, religious bodies and indeed every citizen must be mindful of this fact.”
She said Ghana’s case count as of the morning of October 13, stood at 47,097, with 46,452 recoveries and 308 deaths and 337 active cases.
According to her, the records largely indicated that the country was winning the war against the disease however they were reliably informed that some regions which did not record any new case in the last three weeks, had in the last couple of days, recorded new cases.
“We need to be mindful of how we act in order to avert a second wave of the disease, the consequences of which would be dire for the country, socially including its psychosocial dimensions as well as economically.”
She called on the Ghana Private Road Transport Union and other transport unions to enforce the mandatory wearing of masks in all public transport.
Madam Nkrumah implored the Ghana Police Service to enforce the rules contained in the Executive Instruments related to COVID-19 including EI 164.
Dr Ankobea remarked that the country was “not out of the woods yet” and therefore, Ghanaians must keep abiding by the COVID-19 protocols.