Sunday, March 3, 2024

Covid-19: accomplice to African dictators’ madness

To many African leaders, it appears to be a norm, business as usual; a practice that reduces the lives of their own well-intentioned citizen-victims to misfits and trash.              I am talking about how worthless Africans’ lives are before their own presidents.

Africa has no leaders; it has rulers. 

In times of distress, African leaders lie about the situation in their countries and use the outpouring assistance for their own benefit.

We see them downplay or cook up figures of fatalities or disasters, not caring for the welfare of their people, while at the same time, exaggerating their efforts in trying to ‘normalise’ the situation. 

In Zimbabwe, many victims and those affected by Cyclone Idai of 2019 still cry for help, despite the out-pouring of massive international help sent Zimbabwe’s way. The help to those in distress is always lost ‘somewhere’ along the line to the needy.

Always presenting an extremely exaggerated and disastrous situation in their countries, African leaders aim and expect to gain sympathy and to benefit from the aid given to the victims of their governments. African leaders do not hesitate to betray their citizens just to project themselves as democratic allies who are in total control of issues that appear to be bothering other countries and leaders.

As the coronavirus spreads across the world, we started hearing rantings from African leaders who immediately saw an opportunity to defraud the world and the people of their rights. Many African leaders saw the sneaky arrival of the coronavirus as a godsend that gave them an acceptable reason to deny people’s rights.

Some African leaders even caused confusion by declaring they had a cure for a disease not yet understood, while other African leaders claimed that nothing of this disease existed in their countries.

Now that Covid-19 has bullied presidents of America, Britain, Russia, Brazil and others, I no longer hear much on this issue from Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, who shrugged off coronavirus tests, saying even fruits tested positive. He dismissively challenged medical experts and told them that the economy is “more important than the threat posed by coronavirus”.

Another African leader, Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina, brought forth “an untested herbal tonic” that he actively touted as a treatment for Covid-19. Just two days ago, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported on hospitals in Madagascar “having warned they are overwhelmed after a spike in coronavirus cases in a country where the president has been promoting a herbal drink to treat the virus”.

As people started dying from the coronavirus, as corpses started piling up, African governments started to realise that this is one thing over which they have no control.          But they still refuse to admit or accept it. To them, admitting to a threat of death is akin to surrender.

But instead of fighting it, how about taking it as an accomplice, after all African rulers are just as bad? This continuing worldwide tragedy is something African leaders can bank on to preserve control over defenseless people whose guidance, protection and help they need. African dictators immediately started alluding to the postponement of presidential elections because of the coronavirus. What the heck, it extended their unchallenged stay in power. It was enough to postpone elections.

The need to scapegoat a worldwide health disaster to defraud millions of people of their rights is just pathetic. Above that, allow me to wonder, in all honesty, what people, like Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, think they still have to offer to their nations. 

But such is Africa’s ruling elite. Selfish, disgusting, self-centered political monsters who have no thought for the long-suffering people.

For goodness sake, we suffered before and during colonialism. Africa did. We are still the same. We ended up with monsters worse than those colonials we helped to defeat.            We are no longer able to distinguish who, between our colonizers and our so-called liberators, is the worst. 

For months, Zimbabwe has been churning out suspect figures on the coronavirus in a way that rather minimized the danger smoldering in the nation.

There seemed to be an effort to show the world how normal and under control things are in Zimbabwe, where it not for Zimbabweans who illegally crossed into South Africa and Botswana and back.

While other countries backed up their attack on Covid-19 with genuine care and concern for their citizens, affording them the necessary, minimum and basic household assistance, Zimbabwe was beating up people who ventured out of their homes in desperate search for food.

Daily reports from Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health always offered subdued figures that indicated that the country was very much in control of the coronavirus, unlike what was said to be happening in South Africa, so-called Africa’s flaring point.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, opposition political parties, civil society organizations and trade union organizations in Zimbabwe announced that there was going to be a demonstration in Zimbabwe for citizens to demand better government, stoppage of corruption, improved leadership, better living standards and some basic necessities for families to survive on.

Suddenly, Zimbabwe started reporting coronavirus figures that were climbing in an unfamiliar manner, along with deaths. But, of course, South Africa and Botswana no longer being blamed but Zimbabweans with no history of foreign travel being blamed for the uptick of coronavirus cases in Zimbabwe.

Then, yes, you are right! No one allowed into town. A curfew imposed, prohibiting anyone out on the streets between 6pm and 6am. I guess those are the hours the coronavirus is most active.

Then one of the leaders of the planned July 31 demonstration (Jacob Ngarivhume) was arrested, along with prominent investigative journalist (Hopewell Chin’ono).

Hopewell will languish in prison until August 7th, and for what?

Zimbabwe is open for business and the Southern Africa Development Community, along with neighbors South Africa, Botswana and others, do not even care what business Zimbabwe is running.

Well, South Africa, Botswana and all the rest of them will never be free of political blame or the coronavirus until they reign in Zimbabwe and they all know where to start.

Free political prisoners; free Hopewell Chin’ono!

SADC, Zimbabwe is not open for any business; please, just make it open the jail doors for our people, our journalists, to walk out…

Surely, SADC, this you can do, can’t you?

  • Tanonoka Whande writes in his personal capacity.


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