Day One (1)
WHERE IS HOME?
The lockdown begins at 1am tomorrow, which means s few hours from now. It is fair to say that no one knows exactly what will happen. We all know that we are supposed to stay at home, but as has become clear in discussions on social media and broadcast channels, even that simple sentence can mean different things to different people.
For example, it has come out that some people interpret “home” to mean their “hometown”, which is also a controversial word. In any case, that appears to account for the large number of people who left Accra for different parts of the country.
Even for those who understand home to mean where they normally reside, does this mean they stay inside their ROOMS or can sit in the compound? Are children allowed to play in the neighbourhood or should they all be confined to their rooms or compounds?
There are a number of exceptions, but it is not clear whether people can go out and get food from their local corner shop. In any case, market sellers of foodstuffs have taken advantage of the situation to make windfall profits. Fearing that food prices will rise further even if they are able to buy once the lockdown begins, all markets and supermarkets have been full to bursting. As my Comrade Ibrahim-Tanko put it in his Facebook post, it was as if Covid 19 had been instructed to start tomorrow!
Ghanaians broke every rule in the book; the irony is that people may have become infected in the process of preparing for the lockdown. This whole situation is unprecedented and so we have had to find situations we can understand to try and make sense of what we are living through. In that sense, I think people saw yesterday and today as if they were preparing for Easter or a similar holiday. The disease at the centre of the whole thing was either forgotten or relegated to the back of the mind.
What will tomorrow be like? I don’t have any idea. Generally speaking, Ghanaians have not demonstrated any degree of discipline in recent years but we need discipline now to survive. The exemptions in the lockdown regime can be abused; if they can, they will be. Are the loopholes going to be exploited to the point of making the whole exercise meaningless? Let’s hope not.
The communication of this situation has gone quite well. The President has led from the front and that has inspired confidence in the government’s handling of the crisis. However, that does not mean that people, have ALL understood what it means, or more importantly, what to do.
Tomorrow and the next few days will be interesting and important in determining how we progress in this war against an enemy we cannot see but which can see us.
Let us see how it goes.
Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng
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