Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo, says Ghanaians should not be blamed for their lack of compliance with the COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
He rather criticized policy makers for failing in the fight against COVID-19 because they don’t fully know the people they are governing.
“We must blame policy makers, for their fundamental ignorance about the caliber of citizenry they signed our social contract to govern”, he wrote.
According to Prof Gyampo, Ghana’s COVID-19 infection rate seems to have been thrown out of gear because majority of people are not complying with the safety protocols.
He questioned why policy makers would expect compliance with rules simply because they have been announced especially in a developing country.
Citing Michael P. Todaro, an astute scholar of African Development, he said one key feature of a developing nation, including Ghana, is that a good number of people in such a population are ignorant.
Narrating his personal experience at Kormantse-Abandze, he said some fishmongers told him COVID-19 wasn’t meant for them when he asked them to wear face masks. To them, it is a disease for people from Accra, he implied.
“We will keep soaring our COVID figures unless policy makers begin to fully appreciate the caliber of citizenry they preside on, and fashion out strategies to make them reasonably supportive of the policies aimed at fighting COVID”, he emphasized.
He also argued that politicians should have a demonstrable knowledge of the citizenry before they can be declared as ‘fit’ to govern.
The Political Science lecturer therefore proposed two interventions to policy makers.
He suggested a massive, sustained, public education and sensitization drive to help internalize the ideals of COVID -19 protocols.
“A drive that proactively tackles rural ignorance, akin to what we did to get Ghanaians to participate in the 1991 Referendum, that accepted the 1992 Constitution, is what is being recommended”, he stressed.
He added that those who are old enough will remember the days of “REFERENDUM” & Y3RE FR3 DOM.”
Prof Gyampo recommended a rigid enforcement of the law to achieve the desired effect.
He noted that compliance becomes internalized when obedience to rules, become part and parcel of the lives of the people, such that they won’t need another person to enforce the rules.