Can we imagine a day when each human being on earth goes to sleep and sleeps for 366 plus days, in a stretch, without waking up? I am asking myself this question because of the issues we are facing as a nation, due to this covid-19 pandemic, particularly from partial reopening of social gatherings to the primaries of NPP to the partial reopening of SHS and JHS.
If someone was to ask me such a question in July 2019, I would have said ‘no way.’ However, in July 2020, I think looking at what we are going through, it is possible for the whole universe to sleep for more than ten years without anything changing; the sea would be at its place, trees in their proper places, animals still being animals, the president still remains the president and God would still be God. Hence, it is possible to postpone election 2020 and nothing will change. Even all the non essential activities of the year 2020 and in fact the year 2020 itself can be postponed and nothing will happen to Ghanaians.
From March 15, 2020, the government of Ghana has done well in slating many protocols to help us bring covid-19 under control.
But it appears as much as we try, as wide and fast it spreads. But, discerning through the measures that have been put in place, there may be cogent reasons why the president closed down schools, Churches, Mosques, funerals and other public gatherings; as well as for partially reopening social gatherings and schools with strict measures.
The president does well in explaining the patent reasons for all the measures to us. But and a ‘big BUT’, one profound latent function (a reason behind the scenes), which I read into much of the measures, especially allowing considerable social gatherings is ‘the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.’ 2020 elections to me is dictating many decisions and directives. If it is so, then it is sad and unfortunate.
I am calling the powers that be in our nation, stakeholders, the NPP, NDC, NGOs, civil societies, Religious Leaders, Traditional Leaders and other influential personalities to consider the 2020 elections with all vividness it deserves. I feel we are playing it safe by not openly considering whether or not we should postpone the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
It must be impartially considered and if possible be postponed. When we are able to put this monster ‘election 2020’ in a cage, doing due evaluation on it vis a vis covid-19 pandemic, much of the decisions of the president and some gatherings like voter registration, party primaries and any attempt of campaigning by political parties could be curtailed, to help minimise the spread.
Whether we like it or not, any outing of a person outside his or her place of domicile puts the entire nation at risk of covid-19. So in as much as we cannot help to keeping Ghanaians at home for want of essentials to our existence like food and water, we can keep Ghanaians at home and postpone all non-essential activities like writing of exams, registering for voter’s ID cards, cueing to vote on election day and etc., to curtail the rapid spread we are experiencing for a few weeks now.
Fellow Ghanaians, there is no vaccine nor medicine for covid-19 as at now and we are not anticipating any in a predictable future. We have lost trace of those who have contracted covid-19 and those who have not. It is still spreading and spreading fast like wild fire on dry leaves. I see that this deliberation and acceptance can be arrived at only by great conviction of courage. This is because, there is the temptation of Ghanaians thinking that the president wants to hold on unto power by all means or the opposition is not serious in wrestling power from the incumbent. The majority of supporters and sympathisers of both parties may not take it kindly.
But, let us tell the president and flag bearer, His Excellency, Nana Addo-Danquah Akkufo-Addo and the NPP, to be courageous to open talks on the possibility of postponing election 2020.
Let us tell ex-president and flag bearer His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and the NDC to be courageous to open talks on the possibility of postponing election 2020. So that, that one event alone may not dictate the decisions that we have to make; in order to fight this pandemic with a common front.
We must note that we cannot oppose each other and fight covid-19. We need a common front to fight for survival. We all know that elections bring considerable opposition among us. Even for the mention of vice presidential candidate of NDC, the opposition (within and without the rank and file of both parties) that it has created is so much so that for the next one month, we will forget that all of us are fighting a common enemy, covid-19. Let us reduce politicking this year.
It will save our lives. Let us consider whether or not to vote, and weigh which of them will ensure our maximum survival. Nevertheless, an attempt to go to the polls may kill many people than otherwise.
I end with an interaction with a brother on the possibility of postponing election 2020. He said that ‘if it is a threat to our collective existence, why not? Consequently, it is an open secret that cuing for registration for voter’s ID cards, political party primaries, and students in schools are posing serious threat to our existence because of covid-19. Also, there is profound future danger and threat already awaiting us on 7th December 2020, if there is no vaccine for covid-19 by that date. This is because all eligible voters would have to cue from 7a.m. to 5p.m. to vote. I anticipate an unprecedented disrespect to social distancing as Ghanaians will be counting votes, winning and losing elections, jubilating, fighting and arguing.
Based on these, I suggest there should be an open talks on the postponement of election 2020 for our own safety and existence. I would want to borrow this jargon from Her Excellency, Mrs Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, ‘be bold!’ Let us be bold and face this issue of postponing election 2020 headlong. If we don’t take a stand now majority of us may contract covid-19. When it comes to that there may be no one to vote nor anyone to exercise power over.
Nokwar meye Catholic Asoreba!
Fr. Samuel Amoah-Owusu Agyemang
St. Paul Catholic Church – Bampenase.