Home Business Michael Akafia: The saga of stranded Ghanaian non permanent visitors

Michael Akafia: The saga of stranded Ghanaian non permanent visitors


Governments have experienced to hurriedly formulate legislation and choose actions to address some of the unprecedented difficulties prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This write-up is intended to increase the concern of the destiny of ordinarily resident Ghanaians who have develop into stranded aborad by Ghana’s border closure.

Ghanaian citizens (ordinarily resident in Ghana for all needs which includes tax) who were being quickly browsing other nations, were remaining stranded and devoid of selections as soon as Ghana abruptly and with out any prior warning closed Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to professional flights. This evaluate collectively with a partial lockdown of two towns and the closure of Ghana’s sea and land borders was broadly praised and acknowledged as a essential measure to aid authoritiescontain the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, just like the partial lockdown, the blanket border closures are not sustainable, going forward.

From the standpoint of the citizens briefly browsing other countries with non-immigrant visas at the starting of March, issues escalated extremely rapidly and got out of hand. Most nations like Ghana initially introduced restrictions on folks arriving from hugely endemic nations (people with additional than 200 conditions at the time). Nonetheless, matters promptly degenerated and led to an outright closure of Ghana’s borders. For those traveling by air, it became impossible or difficult to change flights prior to the closure because European airlines had been targeted on returning Europeans to their hubs/household countries and due to a spike in flight cancellations/alterations. 

Opening KIA to Global Commercial/CharteredFlights

The key concern is no matter whether we can allow commercial or chartered evacuation flights into KIA and continue to hold a lid on imported instances of COVID-19? The reply is an emphatic yesas shown by nations around the world with airports still open up for international commercial or chartered evacuation flights. The steps they have adopted include things like:▪ Mandatory screening of passengers prior to boarding the plane,▪ Insistence that crew and airline staff wear the acceptable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),▪ Airlines ensure that actual physical/social distancing is noticed throughout the pre-departure process and on onboard the flight,▪ Mandatory testing upon arrival,▪ Mandatory quarantine, and▪ Ensure that airport personnel don the requisite PPEs.

If we can belief our frontline well being employees (the heroes/heroines of our time) to get the necessary safety measures and steps at health facilities, then surely personnel related with the aviation industry (which faces an existential threat now) can be trusted to make certain stringent adherence to the over. The over steps could be adopted by Ghana to accommodate our situation.

Air journey danger

There is generally an erroneous assumption that merely because the preliminary scenarios were being all imported, opening KIA to worldwide industrial flights will guide automatically to the importation of supplemental conditions. That are unable to be any more from the reality. The obligatory quarantine instituted, ensured that the passengers on the last several flights ahead of KIA’sclosure ensured that there were no more infections. The imported scenarios that led to further infections were clearly these who did not endure necessary quarantine. 

It is distinct thus that mandatory quarantine (in addition to all the actions advised over) will prevent additional infection of citizens within just Ghana by returning stranded citizens. We can contemplate replicating these actions at our other border posts at Aflao, Paga and Elubo, topic to our capability to handle and control the approach properly. In the absence of a managed method, determined citizens may be compelled to exploit our porous borders and enter undetected. 

Plight of Stranded Citizens

Interestingly, the plight of stranded citizens and their suitable to return to their country of abode is still to be raised as an situation by the Ghanaian media but has been highlighted by the Washington Article. The troubles non-immigrant Ghanaian citizens caught abroad must contend with incorporate:

▪ Risk of breaching legislation of other countries by overstaying their temporary visas in their host countries or have to go through a laborous approach to lengthen their stay.

▪ Accommodation difficulties for individuals who built short term lodging preparations.

▪ Those on treatment have run out of their inventory because they did not hope to be away from house this long and it is impossible to get some of the drugs in excess of the counter.

▪ Risk of job loss in Ghana mainly because they did not plan to operate from abroad (they have exhausted their go away interval).

▪ Exhausted their price range for residing costs.

▪ Being away from spouse and children and beloved types.

Global regulation and returning citizens

The right of return (which guarantees a person’s proper of voluntary return to or to re-enter their region of origin or of citizenship) is a hallowed theory of worldwide legislation enshrined in many legally binding international devices which includes the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The ideal of return is binding even on non-signatories to these conventions. Even the unparalleled nature of COVID-19 ought to not lead countries like Ghana, to derogate from this preemptory customary global theory. 

Most international locations that closed their borders or imposed restrictions on travellers built exceptions for returning citizens, with those people from countries severely impacted by COVID-19 remaining demanded to undertake required quarantine (in some instances at the value of those people influenced). These consist of Botswana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles etc. Citizens have the right to return to their state of abode. 

We urge Ghana’s Governing administration to follow the path of these countries that are abiding by the right of return principle in addition to its other commendable efforts.

Policy Response

Although appreciating why the President will focus his laudable efforts on citizens in just Ghana’s territory, the afflicted Ghanaians are no less citizens. As a country with financialconstraints, we take pleasure in that there is a limit to what the state can do. The impacted citizens have indicated that they are keen to contribute or bear the full or part of the cost of flight preparations, obligatory testing and quarantine. Those who simply cannot quickly find the money for the price tag could be made to indication a promissory note (like some nations around the world did) or acquire a subsidy. Kenya organized repatriation of its citizens from New York. South Africa and Nigeria have planned evacuations for early May possibly 2020. In accordance to the Washington Submit, many African “[c]onsulates across the United States have been generating lists of the stranded and location up WhatsApp support groups”. Senegal has sent out US$500 cheques to citizens for accommodation and clinical expenditures. Thus considerably, there hasbeen no measure or response from Ghana’s missions abroad. This concern has not been acknowledged in any coverage statement or speech such as the President’s COVID-19 updates.


A cynical particular person has pointed out that Ghana’s coverage to citizens offshore is: “you’re on your very own!”. We doubt that this is the case. Even so, Ghana’s silence and seeming inaction in this time of crisis may perhaps guide several to that inescapable summary soon. The least the country can do for the afflicted stranded citizens is to at least open up KIA to business or chartered evacuation flights, subject matter to the required controls and steps (even if it is at the total or partial cost of returning stranded citizens).

Other options include utilizing EthiopianAirways, which is nevertheless functioning and is what the Nigerian’s have chartered to evacuate their stranded citizens, to evacuate Ghanaians. Quite a few of the afflicted Ghanaians are prepared to bear the complete cost of these types of interventions.

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