OPINION: Ugandans Won’t Cooperate With Any New Drastic Measures, We Withdrew Our Trust


Ian Ortega.
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By Ian Ortega

The President of Uganda will speak to the citizens once again. But before he does, I wish to tell him; “It is all over. Ugandans have moved on.”

The government of Uganda squandered the one thing the citizens gave them during this fight. All Ugandans from all walks of life regardless of denomination, tribe, income levels, short or tall, they all gave the government their “Trust.” But government chose to waste it away day by day. There was never a day when you couldn’t poke a millions holes in the briefings. Things just never added up.

Right now, there is nothing to salvage. This fight has been characterized by lies, by incompetence but above all, by a select few who saw this as a cash-cow.

We may never know how much was pocketed during this fight but you don’t have to be very smart to realize, that a lot did go out. You can start by asking yourself, are the test kits worth $65 per unit? If so, why would a country waste the bulk of its test kits on truck drivers? But let’s also imagine the possibility that the test kits cost much lower and have been inflated? Right there and then, you get to see the first leakage. Who is verifying the numbers anyway? In Latin we ask; “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Who watches the watchmen?

The next leakage then comes in under the pretext of contact tracing. If you asked how much allowances are given per day spent contact tracing, you will be shocked. Then you go to the different things every ministry budgeted for. Anybody who has worked in government will tell you that there is no better time for money to be released than in panic mode moments. That is why everything in this country is presented in panic mode.

So a select few are interested in the growth of these numbers, in the continuation of COVID-19. It is the case of letting a dog to safeguard meat in a house.

Then came the lies. The current lie is that every positive contact case is always in quarantine. We must be running the most efficient contact tracing system. But think again on the shift of the goal posts. First it is Dubai people. The whole country shouts that Dubai people are the problem. Then, when the airports are closed and Ugandans have stigmatized Dubai travellers, they quickly shift the goal posts to truck drivers. Do we assume that truck drivers were clean until we started testing them?

Let’s shift to the growing numbers. Some people have argued that the lockdown was useless. So let me clear up a few things. First of all, lockdowns are not used to stop growing cases. Lockdowns are used to create a pause to enable governments prepare to deal with an epidemic. During this time, governments get to stock up on testing kits, and beef up their health infrastructure etc. Lockdowns are not long-term solutions. Our government once again did not use the lockdown for its purpose. Instead, the lockdown became another campaigning platform for the incumbent. I’m return, the President was also fed on lie after lie by his team. He was even fed lies on government’s ability to produce and distribute masks to all Ugandans.

Eventually, Ugandans saw through all these lies. And they chose to withdraw their trust. Trust once broken cannot be repaired.

In the next weeks, government is going to fight a very lonely fight. And it is not that citizens are big headed, it is because their cooperation was taken for granted.

Whether the cases skyrocket to 10,000, Ugandans won’t give a damn anymore! Without a vaccine, the only solution is to find a way to live with the virus.

As Besigye previously argued; “eventually each one of us is bound to get the virus. It is a matter of when, not if.” The solution then is for us to speed up herd immunity. How do we know for example how many Ugandans already got the virus and recovered on their own unknowingly?

If we work on my assumption that the virus was in Uganda before November, it could turn out that many of us got the virus and healed. And if that is the case, then we have already won the war, and there is no point fighting any longer.

One of the truck drivers argued previously; “you say truck drivers are the problem. Do you mean to say we live on a different planet? We live in the same community as everyone. We go to the same shops. We reside in the same areas. Why are you mistreating as yet life for the communities where we reside continues normally? How do you say truck drivers are the problem but the communities are not? The problem cannot be us. We are a scapegoat. Governments are running from the fact that COVID-19 is already out and spreading. And people are healing on their own.”

The point is the numbers don’t mean anything anymore. Nobody follows those numbers anymore. Nobody cares. People have decided that the earlier they learn to live with the virus, the better. It is cheaper, and safer trying to live with the virus than trying to live without it.

So in case the President is planning to announce new drastic measures, let it be known clearly that Ugandans won’t cooperate. We withdrew our trust. It is not about to be restored!

The writer is a Ugandan journalist and blogger with interests in business, engineering and technology.

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