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MESSAGE FROM HE JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA TO GHANAIANS AT A SERVICE

TO END THREE DAYS OF PRAYER AND FASTING DECLARED


BY THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, thank you for joining us from your various locations this
morning. Today marks the end of three days of fasting and prayer declared by our National
Chairman last week.

These are not normal times, not only for us Ghanaians, but people all around the world. I do,
however, believe sincerely that God rules in the affairs of men and women. Our national
anthem acknowledges this supreme truth in its opening line, “God bless our homeland Ghana”.

In times of crisis such as we find ourselves today, we are reminded of the importance of faith.
We remember the promise of God’s goodness, and take comfort in Christ’s message of mercy.
Those guarantees are eternal.

But, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am also reminded now of the words of Martin Luther,
whose teachings spawned a revolutionary perspective on faith and which gave birth to many
of our Christian denominations- Faith that is based on the essence of man’s bond with God,
and his obligations to his neighbour.

Our current times, in the face of this pandemic, shares much of what happened during the
period Martin Luther lived.

COVID-19 is mankind’s present enemy, but in Martin Luther’s time , it was the bubonic plague
which ravaged the world. And now as then, many found their faith tested. His friends and
neighbours fled his beloved town called Wittenberg in their numbers, but Luther stayed.

And when asked by a fellow minister of the gospel if he was relying on faith alone to save him
from the death that was taking place all around him, he gave an instructive response that offers
all of us guidance for our own time.

Martin Luther said: “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify
the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is
not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus per chance inflict and pollute
others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”

The essence of this teaching by Luther extends beyond faith. It is a message of planning and
preparedness, of thoughtfulness and mutual responsibility. It is a message of caution and of
courage. And it is a message of the endurance of the human spirit in the face of difficulty, death
and destruction.
We, as individuals, must all take this to heart. We must look out for each other and for
ourselves. And we must be united in our commitment to do all in our power to preserve life,
by abiding by the guidance of the experts and- in so doing- protecting the vulnerable.

My beloved countrymen, it is also a call to those who rule to be forthright and principled. The
principle and forthrightness that would not require a court injunction to stop the National
Identification Authority (NIA) from acting in breach of guidelines we have all accepted to
comply with.

The principles that will let Churches have the moral courage to refuse the use of their premises
for purposes that are in breach of the government’s own rules. In this respect, I commend the
Minority in Parliament for standing on principle in opposing the passage of the Imposition of
Restrictions Bill, which does not address the needs of the moment and portends danger for
our democracy.

It is my earnest prayer that at a time such as this, the public welfare will triumph over personal
and partisan interest. Our leaders owe this nation not just prayers but a plan too. One that all
of us can believe in, that we can rally around, and that we can commit our hearts and mind to.
For while hope brings comfort it is not in itself a strategy.

We must project the course of this disease while taking a cue from best and worst case
response scenarios such as Korea and Italy even as the world accelerates research towards the
production of a vaccine. A plan that involves ensuring that frontline health care workers as a
matter of urgency have the manuals, appropriate training and protective logistics to boost their
confidence in fighting this disease.

We must act even as we pray!

I have made a firm commitment to support the authorities in whatever way possible, and
whenever called upon, to combat this pandemic. Over the last week, I have forcefully, thanks
to my Communications Team, led a public education drive that is promoting effectively the
introduction, education and practice of the recommended WHO protocols aimed at helping
stop the spread of the COVID-19.

I have also already announced that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is committed to
assisting government in this fight by availing all technical and logistical resources at our
disposal. As evidence of our seriousness in that respect, we have assembled a technical team
to guide our efforts and to lead the NDC’s response to the evolving situation.

The team is an assembly of experts from the many fields that will be required to implement a
national action plan on COVID-19.
We have through our Minority Leader Honourable Haruna Iddrisu presented to the Rt. Hon.
Speaker of Parliament what are the major points of our proposals and steps that may be taken
to curb the spread of this plague and reinforce the readiness of our healthcare system, and to
save as many lives as possible.

The immediate focus of the proposal is on the appropriate planning for a range of potential
measures, including at the extreme a lockdown, should that become necessary as the realities
of our present condition become clearer. Such a decision would impact the livelihoods and
financial security of many of the most economically vulnerable people in this country, and
jeopardize the survival of many businesses.

We will seek to propose a series of social interventions to address these unprecedented risks,
and to ensure that loss of income does not become a barrier to the effective implementation
of preventive measures.

Let us all hold fast to the preventive measures. They are our first line of defence as individuals,
and a collective responsibility. They are currently the only means by which we can slow down
this dreadful virus and provide enough time to mount a robust response.

Please maintain a safe distance from any person who is coughing or sneezing, or from anyone
showing any other symptoms of a cold or flu.

Always cover your own mouth and nose with a tissue if you have to cough or sneeze, discard
the tissue properly afterwards, and wash your hands immediately. As much as possible, avoid
touching your face, nose and mouth - especially after touching commonly used surfaces such
as door handles, microphones, railings and balustrades, counter tops etc.

You will notice that all those who came to the podium including myself, used a sanitizer, and
microphones were changed for everybody, because they are disinfected and cleaned before
the next person uses it. Hand hygiene is a crucial part of protecting yourself, so I encourage
you to wash your hands at every opportunity you get. If soap and water are not available, a
hand sanitizer is an effective alternative.

For all people of faith, this is a time to show charity and compassion. I urge you to reflect on
your beliefs, and not to engage in practices that will escalate the present anxieties in the
nation. Price hiking and other such opportunistic practices are beneath the dignity of the
moment.

I will continue to extend a helping hand to the government and to share our experience in
managing the Ebola crisis. I do so with an open mind and a willing heart. And I hope that gesture
will be received in the sincerity it is offered. The enemy before us is no respecter of person or
party. We are all in this together.
I send my heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of our countryman who lost his
life to the virus yesterday. To those who remain under treatment in the care of our courageous
frontline health workers, know that the entire nation is thinking of you and bearing you up in
prayer for a speedy recovery.

God bless you all for your presence.


Thank you for joining us for this service, to end our 3 days of prayer and fasting.
I remind us all, of the national day of prayer and fasting, now announced by the President, and
invite us all to observe next Wednesday as declared.

May God continue to protect and guide us all.