COVID-19 LOCKDOWN: HUMAN RIGHTS ‘STUPIDITY’ MUST STOP

There is this Akan idiom that literally and loosely translates as: the stern treatment of the nephew’s ankle sore or wound will make him wail and over-pampering him too would end up his leg being amputated. The wisdom in this idiom must apply if President Akufo Addo is truly serious about fighting the frightening and deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus popularly known as covid-19.

Holier than Pope human rights advocates, this is not the time for your advocacy. It is now time for the commander in chief to crack the whip and exert his authority because the Ghanaian is recalcitrant if dealing with him in kids gloves. Now is the time to support our president for him to show leadership and serves as our warfront commander to battle the fatal virus to first contain and later defeat it.

We are all aware that the right of the citizenry must be sacredly upheld, respected and should not be trampled upon as spelt out by United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but not on timely decisive moments like this that as a serious nation we should joke in the name of human rights to imminently loose precious lives that can never be brought back as the president famously said.

This was the same mistake countries like the UK, Italy and USA did in not taking momentous intransigent hard-line approach when the need be. Today, they are laughing at the wrong side of their mouth. Their health systems have been heavily overwhelmed. They have resorted to improvise ways of healing the sick but yet have suffered heavy death tolls in a spate of just one month that transcends beyond human thinking.

If we as a country is to be guided by history, this is what President Donald Trump’s infectious disease expert and the US face against the fight of the coronavirus Dr Anthony Fauci had to say, “I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously. No one is going to deny that. But you’re right. I mean obviously if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then,” he is reported to have told the CNN.

In crises war-like situations like this where many countries are invoking state of emergency and other emergency measures that suspends the enjoyment of certain rights, our president is fortunate to have been backed by legislation enacted by parliament – Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) that empowers him to take decisive approach in dealing with the situation at hand in fighting the novel coronavirus.

As a serious nation and citizens, we cannot cut our cake and have it back. Thus, taking a lackadaisical approach in fighting an exponential deadly contagious disease like covid-19 that is wreaking havoc with its alarming death toll in great proportion in such this short stint even in most advanced economies with the state of the art health systems, we in Sub-Sahara Africa with the fragile dilapidated health infrastructure cannot take things for granted as we seems to be doing now.

I highly commend President Akufo Addo for the leadership he has so far shown since the covid’s imminent and subsequent outbreak. His demeanour with all the actions taken so far indicates that he is serious about defeating the coronavirus pandemic but if he continue to spare the rod, he spoils the child.

Ghana has introduced a range of measures in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus. These include quarantine and isolation of those who have the virus. Restrictions have also been placed on a host of events, including public and social gatherings. The country’s borders have been closed and partial lockdowns imposed in Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi.

These measures though not far reaching, its enforcement is seriously lazed and flawed. It is in these spirit that I call on the president to take tougher measures against the recalcitrant population in dealing with the most serious test confronting humanity since World War II.

The writer Kwaku Boateng, is an environmentalist and president of Environmental and Mining Policy Institute (EMPI), Ghana (www.empighana.org)