Year 2020 will go down in contemporary history as the year that the entire world came to a standstill. Almost all economic activities ceased. People became more concerned about their sheer life than what the future holds for them. This situation came about as a result of a deadly virus suddenly emerging from the Far East, precisely China, spreading across the world with a huge invisible “flying coffin” provided it by Mr Death, to whisk away as many human lives as it could.
Almost all governments in the world advised their citizens to wear face masks, stay a distance of two metres away from one another, repeatedly wash their hands with soap and running water, stay at home and maintain all social distancing and medical advisory protocols as were given by medical scientists through the governments. Workplaces were closed down. Many people lost their jobs. Essential commodities started running out from the shop shelves to the dismay of many. Some shopkeepers placed restrictions on a number of particular items one could buy at a time.
In some supermarkets or shops in the United Kingdom, you were not allowed to buy more than one packet, not roll, of toilet paper, at a shopping. Rationing of essentials never known in the UK had become a verifiable reality. While these essentials became scarce, prices of commodities started skyrocketing. What a true manifestation of the economic factor of determining prices through the equilibrium of demand and supply. When supply goes down with demand remaining same or higher, prices go up. The opposite is true when demand goes down with supply going up.
The governments and the citizens had to readjust themselves in a manner to mitigate the deadliness of the virus that had become pandemic. All rational beings did cooperate with the governments by adhering to the instructions to them to stay safe and to bear with the governments since they were not in ordinary times but very unusual time in the life of humanity.
While those in the Whiteman’s land did easily see and understand the enormity of the seriousness of the disease come to be named novel coronavirus (Covid-19), those in Africa, especially, my country of birth, Ghana, were making light of it through their usual nonsensical partisanship, ignorance and political propaganda.
Many countries in the world had to borrow or incur huge national debts in their attempts to contain the virus that had come to abruptly halt the wheels of every nation’s economy.
The President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in addition to the internationally accepted coronavirus-containment protocols, initiated his own bold measures to fight the spread of the virus. He was among the first nations, if not the first, to shut the country’s borders to stop outsiders coming into the country with Covid-19 infections. He was the first to demand a “fit-to-fly Covid-19 negative test certificate” from all those people travelling into Ghana by air and via the Kotoka International Airport when he eased international travelling a bit. At all this time and until June 2021 as at writing, the land borders are still closed to cross-border travelling by whomever.
While taking all these bold measures to save human lives, expressing his seriousness to ensuring that Covid-19 is contained without more life loss, he said, “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life”. This statement of his has been acknowledged, quoted and emulated worldwide by many presidents.
In Ghana, some people who had had their hands soiled; embezzled state funds and assets to enrich themselves, had had the guts to question why the president or the government had borrowed so much to incur a huge national debt only to be paid by future generations? As they were making their preposterous assertion against the president and his government, they were craftily inciting the citizens to rebel against the government. Immediately after one such questionable individuals questioning why the government had borrowed so much with the subsequent demand on the government to “fix the country”, despite the known devastating effects of the Covid-19 on countries the world over, including Ghana, many an uninformed Ghanaian joined the chorus, shouting in unison, “Fix the Country”!
The NDC political party, as populist and insanely partisan as their membership is, started goading people to take to demonstrations to force the government to fix the country. Little did they know that their criminally “sikadicious” attitudes, thus infatuation with corruption of all sorts, has caused all the problems the country is beset with.
If the president and his appointees were embezzling funds, inflating the cost of contracts to receive kickbacks, then you could scream in the valleys and on top of the mountains, “fix the country”! If they are not, but for the fact they had borrowed to contain Covid-19, preventing Ghana from suffering the level of deaths as claimed by the virus in countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Italy, India and France, then the supporters howling with anger the phrase “fix the country”, are just a bunch of ignoramuses.
A country is not fixed in a day but over a long period. A country deteriorates when the citizens are generally bad in many ways.
Lest I forget, the United Kingdom has borrowed and spent billions of pound sterling during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has a national debt of over £2.2 trillion and is still borrowing to contain the disease to safe human lives as possibly as it could. This behave is in consonance with the statement made by Ghana president about his ability to bring back the economy but not lost human life. Ghana’s total national debt since her independence 63 years ago, stands at about Ghc310 billion, thus £41.33 billion. It is too big for a small developing nation as Ghana but the borrowing that had taken place during the Covid-19 pandemic and also, in the visionary attempts to industrialize the nation is worth it as long as embezzlements had not taken place.
The whole world economy has come to a standstill. Restrictions are placed on human movements both internally and externally. People are forced into observing twilight to dawn curfew in some countries, e.g. France.
The whole story about year 2020 is a sad one. The narration of the events of 2020, where many loved ones were killed by the virus, people losing their jobs, prices of commodities soaring and some political opportunists in Ghana capitalising on the naivety of the people to cause further commotion and pain, is just too much for me to recount without my eyes welling up with tears.