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Op-Ed: Ghanaian human rights under threat, mass action needed immediately

Baffour Ankomah rails against the vaccine mandate imposed by the Ghanaian authorities on citizens travelling in and out of the country

GHANA must be the first country in the world to insist that you can’t travel out of the country and into the country without having been fully vaccinated.

This worries me as a Ghanaian citizen because it is a serious violation of individual human rights. Nowhere in the world has this measure been instituted.

I am in Ghana as I write. I arrived here 2 weeks ago from Zimbabwe. I find to my pleasant surprise that most Ghanaians don’t wear masks because apparently the incidence of covid-19 is now very low in the country – almost gone, and life is gradually returning to normal.

So why are the authorities deciding to violate the human rights of Ghanaians only when they decide to travel?

I find from the available data that the percentage of the ‘fully vaccinated’ population of Ghana is 2.7 of the nearly 31 million population of Ghana. This translates into just 842,000 of the 30.8 million Ghanaians in our homeland. So, the vast majority is not fully vaccinated.

The question that then arises is: Why are the authorities in charge of travel in Ghana not insisting that every Ghanaian must undergo mandatory vaccination or full vaccination to have the right to live in the country? That surely would be against the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians.

Against this background, why do the authorities think they are right in insisting that every Ghanaian must be fully vaccinated before they travel out of the country and into the country? Why are they curtailing our fundamental human rights?

Again, why are the authorities going to force vaccinate Ghanaian arrivals at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA)? Where is the human right of the Ghanaian traveller? Why the new fuss about ‘full vaccination’ to come into effect on December 14, 2020?

After all, you cannot enter Ghana, native or foreigner, without having passed the mandatory covid test at the Accra airport. You will be put in isolation or quarantined in a facility at the authorities’ pleasure. Which means your full vaccination will count for nothing. Which also says the only important thing is the mandatory test at the KIA. All other matters are just harassment by the authorities!!

To me, this is a pertinent issue Ghanaians at home and abroad should be debating and taking action to stop the imminent violation of our fundamental human rights by the authorities in charge of travel in the country.

The new measures come into effect on 14 December 2021, only two days from now. Let’s rise and organise against it. Forced vaccinations at the KIA are against Ghana’s fundamental human rights. Demanding that a Ghanaian must be fully vaccinated before he can travel is against Ghana’s fundamental human rights. The lawyers within our ranks, at home and abroad, should get ready to fight these violations in court.

We need mass action to stop the violations coming into effect on December 14. Ghanaians must work together to stop the bastardising of our rights. We must write and send our concerns to the authorities in Accra, in the shape of: The Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ghana Airports Company Ltd. The four of them issued a 4-page revised release on  December 11 complicating matters even more. We shouldn’t sit down for them to push us around like that.

Wake up Ghanaians! Your rights are under threat!

Baffour Ankomah, a renowned Ghanaian journalist, is currently the Editor at Large, New African magazine, London. He is based in Harare, Zimbabwe

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