DERICK TUMUSIIME: Maybe We deserved Coronavirus Pandemic

Derick Tumusiime is a Ugandan writer based in the United Kingdom. (Courtesy Photo)

We need some kind of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we have been living our lives and this is it,COVID-19. Assisting us change course, our societies and way of life. Our pain often makes us stronger and more grateful if we survive!!

You may call me all sorts of names if you may for wishing this pandemic to carry on. Think me heartless to the plight of billions of people and the deaths of so many due to this pandemic and lockdown.

But I am unapologetic regarding my wish for COVID-19 and the global lockdown to continue and here is why;

At the moment I am in Europe in the eye of the storm. Not in a million years did I think I would see The United Kingdom (Great Britain ) where it has come to its knees by an invisible “enemy “ which knows no colour, class, sexuality, age, ethnicity, political affiliation… to use popular culture, in the TV series Game of Thrones season 8 trailer the voice-over chillingly says, “Our enemy doesn’t tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel ….. describing the fictional dreaded unknown enemy,” the white walkers” you can substitute COVID-19 for the white walkers!!…. Ask Prince Charles, countless celebrities, ask Boris Johnson!!!!

Politicians in the UK pre Covid-19 pandemic were preaching austerity, public spending cuts to balance the proverbial government financial‘Books’. And deliberately under funding the National Health Service (NHS) in order to privatise it. Yet spending billions on weapons and nuclear deterrents in a world where wars are not an imminent threat to humanity.

Suddenly,enter COVID-19 and the trajectory changedthe NHS becomes the darling of the country, the paragon of all things good, untouchable!!Why do I whiff blatant hypocrisy!!! Miraculously magic money appeared, more for the NHS;£13 billion pounds of NHS government loans written off and more money for the welfare state, the self-employed, businesses, and the new furlough….oh, wait!! what of the ‘books’????

I have diverted a bit to show that when issues are not politicised, with a mix of uncomfortable truth in a post truth world with fake news which is; everyone is scared of COVID-19 anything is possible. Who would have thought!!

May COVID-19 continue and the global lockdown continue. All the politicians and the so called privileged few (the 1%) who use tax payers’ money for health tourism, would think about investing in their own country’s health service. The millions of dollars and pounds spent abroad would go a long way to build robust health care systems that are badly needed. It would benefit them since the whole world is under lockdown and they can’t travel. (The great equalizer).

In the case of Uganda, the revival of cooperative unions such as Banyakole Kweterana would be welcomed. Cooperatives were cynically decimated, seen as a political threat. Cooperatives helped preserve food and helped with distribution. They would have been used at the forefront of the food distribution network since they covered the whole country in this time of crisis.

Agriculture the much-maligned main economic sector of the country is what every politician is clamouring for (food distribution). To score political mileage, nothing to do with having empathy for the less privileged.

Throw in messianic millionaires, the tycoons, magnates showing up to earn charitable accolades.Where have they been as agriculture has been underfunded, government demonstration farms sold to them, fertile land turned into shopping malls by these so-called people persons.

Government must rethink its agricultural policies. Offer subsidies to farmers, invest in technology to take farming into the 21 century. Encourage subsistence farming which in a crisis like this is vital. People can barter crops, food. We don’t eat guns, guns don’t fight pandemics!!

Money has become a “God” and the pursuit of it has led to most of our problems as a country and globally. The narrative must change.!! Money is used to avoid problems not to solve them.

Bribes to avoid paying taxes, or paying accountants to hide it, paying people off to make economically damaging decisions, empty the country coffers, pay to suppress any form of dissent, pay to change the political discourse to the detriment of the country.

For those who base their whole lives on the pursuit of money, then learn how to save it for a rainy day like what we are experiencing today. Not to use money to measure yourself worth… (Party after party after party, white parties) The rich gang, the kwagalana group … please stand up!!!

Money in the grand scheme of things is useless as the lockdown continues. You won’t go out splashing the cash, showing off.

“Ubuntu“is what matters, togetherness, community, looking out for your neighbour’s, valuing your family and friends, sharing food, increased compassion. Which values have been Ugandan as long as I can remember.

It’s time for government city planners to make a blue print of the cities now they are empty. Look on how to make the cities better, greener the list is endless.

I end with a cautionary tale, for civil liberty groups and citizens. Keep checks on the temporary powers given to the police or law enforcement agencies. Governments tend to hold on to these powers and laws to suppress on civil liberties and snoop on its citizens, once crises are over. United states post 9/11 is a prime example.

Better your Best (Lion still roars)

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1 thought on “DERICK TUMUSIIME: Maybe We deserved Coronavirus Pandemic

  1. I truly agree with Mr Tumusiime’s honest remarks.
    I would like to briefly add on to his Social intelligence by stating that as governments across the world enact emergency measures to keep people at home and stave off the pandemic, some are unhappy about having their missteps publicized. Others are taking advantage of the crisis to silence critics and tighten control.
    COVID-19 poses significant threats to government and regime security as it has the potential to expose poor governance and lack of transparency on issues that affect every citizen in a given country.

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