An Afrobarometre report says seventy-five per cent of Ghanaians welcome a lockdown of the nature imposed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus which has killed five people in Ghana out of one hundred and fifty-two patients so far, with two recoveries.
The Afrobarometer team in Ghana, led by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), interviewed 2,400 adult Ghanaians between 16 September and 3 October 2019.
A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
Previous surveys were conducted in Ghana in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2017.
In late 2019, three-quarters (75%) of Ghanaians said the government should be able to curtail people’s movement in the face of threats to security. The willingness to accept government restrictions on movement was lower in Greater Accra (64%) than in the Ashanti region (79%).
A lockdown may pose particular challenges for Ghanaians affected by “lived poverty.” Almost three-fourths (72%) of respondents said they went without a cash income at least once during the year preceding the survey, while one-third (32%) said they went without needed medical care and one-fourth (26%) reported experiencing shortages of food.
Only three in 10 Ghanaians (30%) have running water inside their homes or compounds. A similar proportion (33%) source their water from public standpipes. o Urban residents (44%) and the relatively well-off (37%) are more likely to have access to piped water inside the house or compound than rural residents (14%) and the poor (24%).
Fewer than half (46%) of Ghanaians have toilet facilities in their homes or compounds. A majority of Ghanaians (54%) use latrines outside their compounds or have no access to latrines at all.
Comparing the two regions affected by the lockdown, residents in Ashanti region are far less likely than those in Greater Accra to have piped water (39% vs. 62%) and toilets (56% vs. 68%) in their homes or compounds.
Even among citizens who experienced lived poverty and lacked ready access to piped water and toilets, most expressed support – in principle, as of late 2019 – for the government’s right to restrict people’s movements to protect public security.
Willingness to accept restrictions for the sake of security
In late 2019, the Afrobarometer Round 8 survey presented respondents with the following two statements and asked them to indicate which was closer to their views: 1. Even if faced with threats to public security, people should be free to move about the country at any time of day or night. 2. When faced with threats to public security, the government should be able to impose curfews and set up special roadblocks to prevent people from moving around.
Three-quarters (75%) of Ghanaians said they supported the government’s right to impose curfews and set up special roadblocks to prevent people from moving around when faced with threats to public security. About a quarter (23%) opposed any restriction on freedom of movement.
The willingness to accept such restrictions was widespread across key socio-demographic groups, though slightly lower in cities than in rural areas (72% vs. 78%) and among those experiencing high lived poverty1 (70%) compared to those who are economically better off (74%-75%).
Although a majority of residents in both Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, where most of the COVID-19 cases have been recorded, were ready to accept restrictions on their right to free movement, acceptance was lower in Greater Accra (64%) than in the Ashanti region (79%).