SPEECH: A DIGITAL CONVERSATION WITH JOHN MAHAMA

• When we closed the chapter on the year 2019 and welcomed 2020 with the usual fanfare and jubilation, we could not have predicted that so early into the year, almost every aspect of our life would be so profoundly affected by a global pandemic that has brought countries on every continent to their knees. But the signs were on the wall.

Our schools are closed, our churches and mosques shut down, our markets closed or heavily regulated. Our movements have been curtailed and anxiety has become a palpable daily reality.

Guided by our very recent experience in our subregion, the effect of this virus in many ways is like the Ebola virus that ravaged our West African neighbours- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea- a few years ago.


Former president and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama

Full Speech


Hello and thank you for joining this live digital conversation from wherever you are.


Technology has proven to be more than a good friend, actually very dependable, in these COVID-19 times. For you my friends and followers on Social Media, I am happy to continue to avail myself and interact with you.


At the end of this evening’s session, I will take a few questions, as I usually do, on the issues that I will be raising.


My brothers and sisters, one of our best and most enduring qualities we have as Ghanaians is that, notwithstanding the nature or extent of adversity we encounter, we, as a people, have always been positive in our philosophical outlook.

It is this strength of character that in many ways have determined our approach to life.


This is why I do not have any doubt that with the Almighty God on our side, with the specialist knowledge and professionalism of our medical practitioners, with the ever present creativity and industry of our people, and with every single one of our people united towards a common purpose of conquering the coronavirus pandemic, we shall overcome this current existential threat we face.


I pray for God’s overwhelming healing power for the sick, including those who are asymptomatic. I console bereaved families and commend our gallant health workers and our men and women in uniform for their sacrifices towards our common quest to heal our land of COVID-19.


When we closed the chapter on the year 2019 and welcomed 2020 with the usual fanfare and jubilation, we could not have predicted that so early into the year, almost every aspect of our life would be so profoundly affected by a global pandemic that has brought countries on every continent to their knees. But the signs were on the wall.


Our schools are closed, our churches and mosques shut down, our markets closed or heavily regulated. Our movements have been curtailed and anxiety has become a palpable daily reality.


Guided by our very recent experience in our subregion, the effect of this virus in many ways is like the Ebola virus that ravaged our West African neighbours- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea- a few years ago.


I recall at the time, there was a clear thought in mind when I stood before the United Nations and also Westminster to galvanise support for our neighbours.


I stated that Ebola was a virus that compromised our impulse of touch and closeness to comfort our loved ones who were infected.

I mentioned that Ebola was a disease of isolation; and worse, it left many survivors ostracised and stigmatised.


Care and affection are basic human traits. And when a virulent disease such as Ebola makes it impossible to show care and affection to our relatives, friends and loved ones, not even to get close or hug them, it is a most strange and difficult proposition.


Sadly, these unfortunate developments are playing out before our very eyes, with the current coronavirus disease.


This is exactly why when our brothers in Nigeria, in February, became the first country in West Africa to report a case of the coronavirus, I immediately called for aggressive preventive measures to be put in place so that the disease does not spread to Ghana.


We all hoped and prayed but it was not to be. But now that it is here, we owe it to the Ghanaian people to ensure that every attention, decision, every human and material resource, should be aimed solely at stopping the spread of the virus.


We must manage the cases to ensure speedy recovery and continue to have and build a secure and united country at the end of it all. In all these, my thoughts have also been on the state of our country after the pandemic.



How different will our world, our country Ghana, look from the world we have known before?

No country, nobody, will go back to business as usual. In the coming days, I look forward to hosting further digital conversations on how we can rebuild our country, Ghana, and prepare it for the changes that are to come.