A couple couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Betty Nambooze Bakireke made a very scorching attack on the president. She was criticizing him for the closure of Schools due to Corona Virus. She used a very beautiful analogy based on a story portraying the characters of a copycat Hare and and an elephant. However, the analogy was badly timed and misleading. She suggested that it was a mistake to close schools. She continued to say that if the schools were to be closed, every child should have been given an Ipad to be used for studying at home. She mentioned Kenya and US to have given tablets to students before schools were closed.
I live in one of the richest countries in regard to Income per capita, the annual earnings soar to $80.000, but during this time, no Child was given an Ipad by the government. The claim of the US giving Ipads at this moment is also misleading. Schools have been issuing Ipads/ tablets for nearly a decade. The students who got the Ipads at the closure of schools to study at home, was not as result of a National policy but Individual schools arrangement. As economies are struggling to survive, such extravagances can only be found in the parliament of Uganda where Ms. Nambooze seem to have developed the culture of being given. It’s not the right moment to be extravagant. So, how does she expect Uganda to give ipads when even many homes do not even have electricity to charge them? Are students going to learn using them instantly ? I some how sense that our leaders are out of touch with the realities and challenges confronting our Nation.
Back to the Virus, some of us live at the epicenter of this disease. We know how contagious it is. We have seen people dying in exremely high numbers. The president made the right decision to shut down the schools as interaction in our overcrowded schools would have ended up in big nightmare. Many of our white Brothers and Sisters are praying and hoping that what is happening here does not reach the sub-Saharan Africa yet it seems the Natives of that part are blind to the pending danger.
Mrs Bakireke Nambooze should actually have looked at the challenges faced by even developed countries like lack of enough ventilators which are key in saving lives due to the overwhelming rate of infections. She should have then realized that in case of our Nation, Ugandans will die in huge numbers due lack of ventilators. In the US and Europe, car factories are being ordered to manufacture ventilators. The European Union has already restricted the exportation of Ventilators because they are badly needed. This gives a preview on how grave the situation is. Uganda has less than 100 Ventilators for a population of 42 millions, what will happen if there is a wide spread of the Corona Virus?
So any form of prevention should not be criticized. I deeply feel that this is not the right time for political scores. It’s the time for survival. Let us learn to put the Issues where they are supposed to be. As the Ancient King said; “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” The fight against the dictatorship will come later when we are alive and health.
Some of the religious leaders are also behaving in disappointing ways by continuing to hold mass gatherings thereby portraying great recklessness by putting the population in danger. It does not require high intelligence to ask ourselves that if countries with better health systems are getting overwhelmed, what will happen to Uganda!
On the other hand, this conundrum is bringing people closer. Having closed schools in Switzerland and encouraging people to stay at home, we celebrate those who are still serving in very essential posts.
Everyday, at 21h, we open our Windows. We clap and sound our gongs as a way of saying thank you to the selfless people like Doctors, Nurses, Care givers, Supermarket workers who are helping us to survive during these days where the situation is darker than a thousand mid-nights.
We honor them because despite the risks involved, they are still concerned about what will happen to us if they stop their work. Maybe that is a clear example of someone who love so much that she/he is willing to lay down her/his life for others. That is why I would like to end by paraphrasing the words of Winston Churchill: Never in the history of a Global Pandemic, was so much owed by so many to so few!