President Nana Akufo-Addo has said he “unreservedly condemns” the “deeply regrettable” and “isolated” violent incidents recorded during the recently-ended voter registration exercise and has expressed the hope that the police would deal with those issues “without fear or favour”.
Generally, however, the President observed in his 15th COVID-19 address to the nation on Sunday, 16 August 2020 that the mass registration exercise was successful despite the stoking of ethnocentric sentiments by the “naysayers” and “professional Jeremiahs” and further congratulated the Jean Mensa-led EC for the feat.
“On behalf of the people of Ghana, I congratulate, warmly, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Jean Mensa, her two Deputies, Dr. Eric Asare Bossman and Mr. Samuel Tettey, and the entire Commission for the efficient, safe, transparent nature of the registration exercise, where, for the first time in our nation’s history, Ghanaians were provided with daily updates of the numbers of eligible voters registered, together with specific age, gender, regional breakdowns, and breakdowns of identity documents”, he said.
During the exercise, former President John Mahama, who is also the flag bearer of the biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, accused the President of using the Ghana Armed Forces to suppress participation in the process by people of the Volta Region and non-Akans, who mostly form the core of the opposition party’s support base.
However, the President said: “All eligible voters were given the unfettered opportunity to register, a process that was fully embraced by the mass of the citizenry.
“Of course, there were genuine and understandable concerns about conducting such a complex exercise, involving millions of citizens, at this time.
“But, at the end of the day, Ghanaians did their civic duty, by going out to register, having found that the process was overwhelmingly orderly, peaceful and safe”, he said.
The President also noted that despite the doomsaying of his political opponents, the exercise went on well.
“There were those who expressed various degrees of hysteria and negativity toward the exercise, with some, who swore heaven and earth to resist the compilation of the register at the peril of their lives, ending up registering.
“There were also those who offered delicate, personal sacrifices in the event of the register, again, ending up registering.
“And, there were those who claimed that, in the midst of a pandemic, the registration exercise should not be conducted, with some warning of an “explosion” in our case count and very high numbers of deaths, should the exercise go ahead.
“By the grace of God, the work of the Electoral Commission, and the effective measures put in place by Government, these prophecies of doom did not materialise”, he observed.
The Ghanaian people have, according to the President, by the conduct of this exercise, “demonstrated our commitment, once again, to consolidating our status as a beacon of democracy on the continent and in the world”.
“The professional Jeremiahs and naysayers, who seek, cynically, to make a profitable industry out of spreading falsehoods, fear and panic, stoking divisive, ethnic sentiments, underestimate the resolve and the determination of Ghanaians to build a united, democratic, peaceful, prosperous, and happy Ghana.
“We will continue to work hard to prove them wrong”, he said.
As far as Ghana’s COVID-19 figures are concerned, the President said “when I delivered Update No. 14, some three (3) weeks ago, I indicated that a closer look at the data points to the fact that we are steadily on the path towards limiting and containing the virus, and, ultimately, defeating it, and requested all of us to pay particular attention to the number of active cases”.
“As of 24th July, the number of active cases, i.e. persons with the virus, stood at three thousand, three hundred and seven (3,307). As at Saturday, 15th August, three weeks later, the number of active cases stands at one thousand, eight hundred and forty-seven (1,847). This is a clear indication that Government policies are working.
“Currently, there are no recorded COVID-19 cases in the North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West Regions, and I charge their residents to do everything possible to maintain that situation. Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Eastern, and Western continue to be the Regions with the highest number of active cases.
“Thus far, a total of forty thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven (40,567) persons have recovered from the virus. This means our recovery rate has improved from eighty-nine-point five per cent (89.5%) to ninety-five point one per cent (95.1%) in three weeks. Our death rate continues, mercifully, to be low at zero-point five per cent (0.5%). “Happily, there are no backlogs of tests at any of our testing centres, meaning that situational reports are up to date. Indeed, tests results that used to take weeks are now available within forty-eight (48) hours. We have, so far, conducted four hundred and twenty-seven thousand, one hundred and twenty-one (427,121) tests”, the President updated.
“These statistics undermine, as unfounded, the claim that Ghana has lost the battle to defeat COVID-19”, he said, adding: “There can only be one simple reason for this baseless assertion, and that is political expediency. But, as I have said before, do not begrudge those who make such statements, they need to make them to continue to try to stay relevant”.
He said “our health workers will forever be in our debt, for the dedication they have put in to ensure these impressive statistics. We can help them even further by continuing to adhere to the social distancing and hygiene protocols we have instituted to stem the tide of infections”.
The President also noted that he has been encouraged by the results of a recent survey conducted by the Ghana Health Service regarding the use of face masks at selected locations in Accra in the month of August.
“It revealed that the overall intention to use face masks at the sites surveyed was very high, with eighty-two per cent (82%) of persons surveyed possessing a mask. I believe we can do even more, and reach one hundred per cent (100%). However, the same survey demonstrated that only forty-four-point three per cent (44.3%) of those who have the mask use them correctly. I urge each and every one of us to wear our masks, and do so correctly anytime we leave our homes. It is the new normal requirement of our daily existence until the virus disappears”, he implored.