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MPs and the fight against COVID-19

BY: Kobby Asmah

Many things are happening as the year unfolds. This column was off last month but we can recollect the dramatic election of the Speaker of Parliament on January 7, which culminated in the high profile inauguration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the same day.

Notwithstanding the minuses that took place in Parliament on January 6 and 7, 2021, for which some members of the House have openly apologised, I still trust that we can be proud of our achievements, especially on the inauguration day.

As a nation in tears, we successfully organised a befitting state funeral for former President Jerry John Rawlings amid the threats of the COVID-19 global scare.

Also underway is the 2020 Election Petition being heard at the Supreme Court by a high-powered seven-member panel of the Justices of the apex court.

Then again, from tomorrow (Wednesday), the Appointments Committee of Parliament will begin the process of vetting the ministerial nominees-elect of President Akufo-Addo.

This is where we expect our MPs to do a good job to get the best out of our ministers-designate.

COVID-19 scare

But beyond all of these happenings is the more worrying health challenge confronting the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic scare does not seem to be leaving anytime soon, and it is getting scarier and scarier.

There are reports of even a new variant and this second wave of the disease has even proven to be more deadly which requires the collective efforts of every Ghanaian, including our parliamentarians, to stop its devastating spread.

It will be recalled that the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, on February 3, expressed concerns about the flouting of the COVID-19 safety protocols by some MPs who were attending parliamentary meetings despite having tested positive for the virus. This behaviour is definitely not the way to go and does not put our MPs in a positive light. Rather it shows poor leadership in the fight against the deadly virus by some legislators which will rather go a long way to serve as a disincentive to those who are doing everything possible to abide by the preventive measures, as advocated by the government.

Fight against COVID-19

There is no denying the fact that the fight against COVID-19 is getting alarming each day and our respected legislators must, through their actions and inactions, set worthy examples in the fight against the disease. This, undoubtedly, will encourage the citizenry to also adhere strictly to the preventive protocols.

As representatives of the people, our MPs have the onerous responsibility to show exemplary leadership at all times by avoiding any acts or omissions that can undermine the fight against the virus and send wrong signals to their constituents to flout the safety protocols.

After prescribing some punishment for offenders of the COVID-19 protocols, lawmakers, by their respected role in society, owe the nation a responsibility of advocating public safety.

It is therefore disheartening to read and watch in some sections of the media that some of our MPs seem to be frustrating the work of the Speaker.

It will be out of order to arrest citizens who fail to wear the face masks and allow our MPs who enact our laws to commit even more grievous offences.

Disregard for protocols

But, while urging some of our lawmakers who have tested positive and still want to be in the Chamber to refrain from this wicked practice, it is equally important for members of the public to also adhere to the safety protocols. The continuous disregard by any section of the society to adhere to the protocols is clearly a recipe for disaster, considering the number of people who have died in the last few months and the many more in intensive care units.

Till we get the vaccines as promised by end of February or March, this year, the nation cannot take chances but step up public education on the protocols and encourage all and sundry to strictly observe the safety protocols to protect themselves and their loved ones from the deadly infectious disease.

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