The government of Ghana on Monday, March 16, 2020, placed a ban on all social gatherings. The decision meant the shutting down of all schools, gatherings at restaurants, churches and suspended public events, to stop the spread of coronavirus as a string of African nations imposed tighter restrictions to stem the spread of the global pandemic. However, following the increase in Ghana’s numbers of recovery cases, many people are projecting the president would lift the ban on social gathering on 31st May, 2020 when he addresses the state.
Below are some reasons for which the president may lift the ban on social gathering.
NIA registration: For a proper and accessible data-keeping on citizens, the Nana Addo led administration directed the National Identification Authority to collect primary information on Ghana and issue them with a Ghana /ECOWAS card. The card is supposed to ease movement among the West Africa States. Also, the process was to enable the state to gather pertinent information on citizens to enhance policy-making as well as fight corruption. However, due to the widespread of the deadly coronavirus virus, the activities of the NIA was brought to a halt. With the rise in the country’s covid-19 recoveries, it is highly projected that the president in his next address to the state would lift the ban on social gathering to allow the National Identification Authority to continue with their registration exercise. The NIA exercise could have waited until the end of the coronavirus pandemic but the Electoral Commission needs it to compile a new voter register.
Voter registration: The constitution does not provide a clear road map as to what happens when there is no election on December 7. We do not want to go through such constitutional turmoil hence December 7 elections is a must. The body constitutionally mandated to handle the elections has said and demonstrated that the current voter register and voter management system is not fit to handle the 2020 elections. We have barely 7 months to the polls and based on science and data and our reduction in cases, the president is expected to ease the restrictions to allow the EC to go ahead and conduct the compilation of the new voter registration and voter management system in order to conduct a free and credible elections. It is for the same reason that the NIA registration would be resumed after the ban is lifted. The EC has indicated that the NIA cards are prerequisites for the voter ID registration.
Increased Recovery Rate: Based on science and revelations by health experts, the country is at its peak stage as the number of cases are fast rising and equally, the number of recoveries are also rising. Secondly, the coronavirus, according to the world health organization has become endemic, like Malaria, typhoid and other diseases that we have been living with. Across the world, even in countries where there are higher death rates are easing restrictions.
Private School Teachers: The fear of Teachers, especially private teachers being laid off due to the closure of schools is another reason why the President may be forced to lift the ban on social gathering. The closure of schools has rendered most private schools bankrupt as teachers for the past three months have not received salaries and school owners are also planning of laying off a large number of these teachers due to the inactiveness of such schools.
Today, most private schools are on the verge of collapsing and have even gone ahead to subscribe to the stimulus package for businesses. So if our cases are going down and recovery rates are shooting up, it would be prudent to open schools and ensuring that the WHO protocols are adhered to strictly in order to save the effect of 1000s of people losing their jobs.
Pressure from Churches: The continued pressure from Church leaders to have churches reopened is another factor that the President may consider and lift the ban on gatherings. Church leaders have had a good relationship with the President during his campaign, election and governance. They serve as members on boards seeing to the construction of the National Cathedral and have contributed in diverse ways since the outbreak of the virus. So it will be very difficult for Nana Addo to turn them down. A section of Ghanaians claim the pastors are going broke and miss tithes and offering, but some pastors have said otherwise that they miss their church members.
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