Kampala: In this first quarter of the year 2020, the world is overflowing with news about the daily deaths as a result of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The beginning of this year was a joyous time in Africa as usual, with all but exhilaration that a new year had come and people were determined to strive and accomplish their resolutions by the end of 2020. But unfortunately, Coronavirus hit us hard with a serious aim at the already stressed weak artery of the African Governments—the Health System.
In the spirit of Pan-Africanism, let me talk about how the path we have taken as the African Continent, that is branded with nothing but suppression and marginalization by the different forces of colonialism and presently financial dependence, hence making a common enemy for Africa that we need to change especially during this time when we have nothing but to defend ourselves against Coronavirus.
The duty to change the tide in these days when the whole world has been struck, economies on a halt, and governments on their knees, is in our hands and undeniably as the old proverb goes; ‘Let us take the bull by its horns’ as Africa and come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.
In Africa we are blessed with almost everything; minerals, flora, fauna and best of all a big human resource that is continuously developing irrespective of the negative media attention that has suppressed the view of our wealth and replaced it with all but war and poverty.
Africa must rise up to the occasion by looking at the riches at our disposal that need to be turned into nothing but a functional system that can easily detach us from the dependence on the developed nations – our colonial masters. For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone qualifies to become the richest country in the world with an abundance of all the precious minerals, fantastic climate for all year agricultural production, to name it.
The same can be talked about the biggest producers of oil in Africa – Nigeria, Angola and Libya; the Diamond belt of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and many other examples. It, however, gets baffling to find that most of these nations are called nothing but poor.
Their economies have been ripped apart by invisible forces controlled by the western world cartels that thrive on nothing but confusion, corruption and lawlessness in Africa. It is not surprising that DRC alone is struck hard by the Coronavirus pandemic on top of Ebola and Measles, and the citizens of the richest country in African by Mineral Wealth are earning a meagre US$ 394.25 average per capita a year.
Indeed their colonial masters in France and Belgium have been equally hit by Coronavirus with deaths of more than 10,000 and going.
At a time like this, we in Africa should be looking towards our very own inward development strategies rather than exhibit the same greed through which the colonialists have unendingly plundered our economies to build their systems while leaving us in fiascos.
The suffering of the first world today is a signal to the developing countries that greed cannot build countries but rather individual personalities and focused leadership.
Our common enemy as Africans is not the Coronavirus pandemic but rather how to come out of the obscurities of the colonisers that have always stripped from us our land, mineral wealth, and human resource and to make matter worse, dignity.
Indeed, this is not a case for the DRC alone; but Africa as a whole needs to sit back and agree that this is the time when their systems especially health are independent of the contributor plague. The global pandemic has struck the developed world so hard but it has their resolve to control the African governments for a lifetime has not come to an end. It is shocking to find racial stereotypes in the treatment given to the patients in some areas such as Chicago and New York or even worse off the forced tests that have been done on Africans in China.
In France, it was not shocking to find them pointing to Africa as the suitable guinea pig for the vaccination test, even when the numbers do not lie that Africans are not dropping off daily as expected like Europe and America have witnessed.
Africa might need the vaccination but not at the expense of our sisters and brothers in severely affected countries like Italy and Spain; that should be the destination of their vaccination donations to save their own that are at the actual epicenter of the matter. Let us join hands in Africa and take mindfulness of the social distancing, governments must be strict on the total lockdown to prevent importations from foreign countries and when the time comes, this is the chance for us to transform our health and economic systems in order to end the stereotypes and marginalization that has been the order of the day for the many years past.
Our African leadership must not accept a vaccine that is not essential to our mortality because this flu can be controlled if only we as Africans respect the public health emergency orders.
We as Africans can change our fate starting now! We have the chance to colonize the colonizers and enhance our economy to staggering heights and have the chance to go from low income countries to high income countries / newly emerging economies. As a cohort we can achieve this goal if we as a nation join together and beat our common foes and finally be acknowledged in the world as a nation that broke the barricades of marginalization because together we can.
A note of thanks goes to our President, H.E. Gen Yoweri K. Museveni for having taken a firm stand to ensure that our lives as Ugandans are fully protected. Yes, there is worry today because of the total lockdown, but it is to ensure that we live to see tomorrow and be productive to the Ugandan economy.
I have so far lived in Uganda for less than one year, having been born and raised in London, UK. The stretch on the health system of the UK has been enormous as noted earlier but this cannot stop me from sincerely commending our government’s efforts as we look forward to a revamped Ugandan healthcare system.
Simonetta Nambo Mukwana
Year 12, Gems Cambridge International School, Uganda