Clarify directives in Akufo-Addo’s partial lockdown address – Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh


Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh
has called for a clearer interpretation of President Akufo-Addo’s directives in
the speech he delivered on Friday, March 27 concerning the partial lockdown of
some parts of Ghana.

Executive Director of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in an opinion piece pointed out some ambiguous statements the president made.

“Outside-the-home traffic in the affected areas is to be limited to errands to get household essentials (food, beverages (which includes booze), water, toiletries, petrol, gas, electricity, medicines), cash from the bank or ATM, or to use the community toilet (free-range included?).

“Presumably, then, markets and shops, including filling station shops and neighbourhood retailers, selling these items may stay open to serve the public. What about chop bars and restaurants, which, of course, prepare and sell food to the public? Are they to stay open too? Not clear, but looks like a yes. If so, then customers may go there to eat too, anaa? Or are they limited to deliveries and take-away? Not clear.

“Looks like all other businesses and offices, except those
engaged in the production or distribution of the named household essentials and
others expressly named, are to shut down. Since courts are to remain open,
presumably lawyers and their clients may go to court too. How to tell while in

“Taxis, trotros and trotro stations may continue to operate,
but taxis and trotros are “advised” or urged to carry less than full capacity
to allow for social distancing. Not sure how many they are allowed to carry or
whether this is intended to be enforced as a command. Does not appear so.

“No intercity
movement of vehicles or aircraft for private or commercial purposes FOR THE
AREAS OF THE RESTRICTIVE MEASURES.” This obviously doesn’t ground all domestic
(passenger) flights. But which ones are grounded? Does this ground all domestic
flights between, say, Takoradi and Accra or Tamale and Accra? Doesn’t appear
so. Same query with respect to inter-city vehicular transportation.

“Other than transportation between Accra/Tema and Kumasi
(are points along the path, like Nkawkaw, included?), it is not clear if
vehicular entry into or exit from the city limits of Accra/Tema and Kumasi are
barred. Can STCs and VIPs and other long-distance passenger buses enter or
leave Accra/Tema and Kumasi to and from towns and cities outside these areas? Not
at all clear,” he highlighted.

He said despite the directives probably being well explained
to the Security services, “as long as there is unclarity or confusion in the
minds of a large number in the affected population, there’s going to be lots of
needless disagreement and conflict in implementation, which, of course, will
undermine the effectiveness of the measures and create room for abuses.”

He, therefore, advised that the details and specifics of the measures outlined by the President should be detailed and clearly spelt out to avoid any misunderstanding.