Former President John Rawlings has said Ghanaians must not think the COVID-19 pandemic has lessened its grip or weakened to let down their guard.
“Let us wake up! There are too many gatherings that ignore COVID-19 preventive protocols”, Mr Rawlings said in a statement.
“As we go through the process of voter registration, let us not let down our guard”, he advised, warning: “It may be our last mistake”.
“Let’s wear our masks, maintain appropriate social distancing, basic cough etiquette and proper hand and general hygiene protocols”, the former President urged.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of spreading COVID-19 by not complying with the safety protocols during its parliamentary primaries.
In a statement issued by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, the Caucus said the non-compliance was “demonstrated during the just-ended NPP parliamentary primaries, which confirms the fact that NPP is promoting the spread of the infection because they have prioritised elections over the safety of human lives”.
The party also accused the Electoral Commission of failing to ensure compliance to the protocols at the various registration centres.
Read the Minority’s full statement below:
MINORITY PRESS STATEMENT ON NON-COMPLIANCE OF COVID-19 PROTOCOLS IN THE ONGOING VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE BY KWABENA MINTAH AKANDOH, MP FOR JUABOSO (RANKING MEMBER FOR PARLIAMENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON HEALTH.
It is a privilege to address you on the non-compliance of COVID-19 protocols at the Electoral Commission designated registration centres across the country. It is a fact that the Electoral Commission of Ghana, on June 30, 2020, commenced the ongoing New Voter Registration exercise after receiving a legal backing from the Supreme Court.
The EC has been adamant on the call from many social groups and public health experts against the registration exercise since many have warned that the exercise will pose the Ghanaian populace or registrants to high risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
The exercise, as noted, started with gross non-compliance to the COVID-19 protocols to ensure public safety. The Electoral Commission Chair and her team did not ensure proper compliance at many centres in the country and this is so worrying.
More so, many willing Ghanaians who have availed themselves of registration for the Voter ID card to enable them to vote out President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government, have been left to queue in their large numbers at various registration centres to get their cards. Unfortunately, they face high risk of contracting the deadly Covid-19 at the centres because the EC has not put in place the necessary measures to ensure proper compliance to the COVID-19 protocols.
This non-compliance was also demonstrated during the just-ended NPP parliamentary primaries which confirms the fact that NPP is promoting the spread of the infection because they have prioritised elections over the safety of human lives.
Good people of Ghana, what is happening at the various EC registration centres have the tendency to escalate the COVID 19 infections in the country and must not be taken for granted at any time.
If this continues, there will be more morbidities and mortalities, which will overwhelm the health system in the country.
Although many institutions including the Ghana Medical Association have come out strongly to caution the EC and the government against the registration exercise, all efforts were to no avail. For this reason, the government and EC should be held responsible for any further escalation of the disease in the country.
We want to reiterate that, we, the minority in parliament and the NDC party, have been consistent in our position that the government has not managed the COVID-19 infection situation well as opposed to their self-acclaimed glory. As of July 2, 2020, Ghana has recorded 17,741 cases, 112 deaths and recoveries/discharges were about 13,268.
The Government is, therefore, urgently required to take necessary measures to ensure EC’s compliance to the safety protocols and make more PPE and other logistics readily available to the health institutions to curb the spread of the virus.
Besides, we are using this opportunity to congratulate the frontline health workers for their sacrifices and to urge the general public to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, especially at the registration centres.