- From my video yesterday, I hear what many are saying loud and clear and you are all right - " that 70% of Ghanaians live in Poverty and will suffer no electricity and water and that their hand-to-mouth economy cannot support them in a Lockdown.
A MOMO Agent saw me today and exclaimed in Twi "Eheeeh Bra Panyin, yesi Yari3 be abaa, 3y3 ampaa?" (To wit - "big brother, I hear there's a new disease in town, is it true?). I had to spend time educating her in my mask. There are many like her!
The number of COVID cases on 20th March 2020, were "16". Today 24th March, that number is "52" albeit some will argue most were still imported. I'd say, they are here, on our soil, that's our responsibility. That's over a 200% rise. The rate of people infected out of those quarantined is 13%. And less than 20% of those quarantined mandatorily, have been tested.
We have an Emergency on our hands. From my video yesterday, I hear what many are saying loud and clear and you are all right - " that 70% of Ghanaians live in Poverty and will suffer no electricity and water and that their hand-to-mouth economy cannot support them in a Lockdown." The other side of this truth is, IF we count all our shortcomings, we cripple our motivation to put up any fight!
Marricke Kofi Gane Calls for Immediate Lockdown in Ghana
Folks - Life has given us 2 choices. No more - to continue living as normal and face the ruthless Coronavirus or that WE be drastic enough to stop its onslaught. IT WILL TAKE SOME SACRIFICE FROM US ALL. But it is a sacrifice to earn the chance of returning life to normalcy. Just like Israel leaving Egypt - each one had to sacrifice their own Lamb.
But there are many ways around tackling a Lockdown, whether partial, full, zoned or regional and I want to believe our Government has modelled several Scenarios and looking to choose between them. One of such may not be the most acceptable, but here it is... in the circumstances, we must neither seek luxury or convenience - we must seek WHAT WORKS to increase our chances of survival and that ensures our ability to contain and isolate affected groups, should that need arise!
We should be sitting with (1) ALL Religious Leaders (2) Canning and Food Processing companies (3) Water and Bottling Companies (4) Poly companies like Duraplasts , Latex and Ashfoam (5) The Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Military (6) The Benevolent rich in society.
We MUST prepare for some form of Lockdown however we look at it. By Now
(1) The Government should set up a "COVID Support Fund" for the rich in our society and all able Ghanaians to commit funding to no matter how small - with CONDITIONS on the part of Government to make spending very very very very very transparent or perhaps have it administered by a trusted independent development body in Ghana. A volunteering bureau won't be bad either, as long as they and regular health staff are well protected;
(2) All public Stadia (covered parts), evacuated schools, Saglemi and other abandoned House projects (IF certified habitable) and predominant religious buildings like Churches and Mosques, should have their facilities used as camps for the homeless - each building occupied by a set number of persons with standard distancing set ups supervised by the Engineers Regiment. Support with Tanks and or Matresses by the Poly companies. Each camp must be supervised by military personnel and at least one health personnel, to keep testing and quarantining protocols working. Government sponsors the disinfection of buildings, post crisis to return them to normal use.
(3) With the help of Nutritionists from our Universities and Hospitals, we should design a standard Food Box (of locally sourced means) to last for 3 weeks each per recipient (to include masks and sanitizers). It is not a Feast time, it is survival time. The Survival Box contents should be supported by bottling companies, National Food Buffer Stock, Food processing and Cannery companies et Al and distributions done using mass transport to all camps and communities dentified as poor. We also have LEAP data and Metropolitan Authorities to help direct targetting.
We have a National Disaster Management Organisation to coordinate all of this. And maybe each MP, Government Minister, Deputies and Head of all Public enterprise could be persuaded by the Igwe to contribute their One Month Salaries towards the voluntary COVID Support Fund. Maybe some companies can be persuaded to not only make donations but make estimated tax payments ON ACCOUNT, etc, or some project allocations re-assigned by requesting from Parliament to Re-gig the 2020 Budget.
This may be the Biggest One-time all-inclusive operation of all Organisations and citizens BUT it has become necessary - it is also one that will bud us all closer together. These are NOT fullproof ideas, I'll be the first to admit. They will require refinement by the likes of NADMO - BUT we must start by bringing the key people and organizations to the same table and seek their Patriotism. WE are ALL seeking the protection of our collective futures - poor & rich, traders & big businesses, Informal and big corporates, Godly and ungodly - all of us as citizens!
Otherwise....... what shall we do?
Mr. Marricke K. Gane is a 2020 General Election presidential candidate.