Since March when we registered our index case in Uganda until now, so much has changed. We have moved on from a lot of things. Before, many of us had to deal with the adrenaline rush as we waited for the daily case stats, wore our masks faithfully, stayed home and observed COVID19 guidelines. At that time the ministry of health was still all about flattening the curve, mitigating the rate of community transmission and eradicating the pandemic as soon as possible.
So much has changed since then. There is a testing fee of 50USD for those without symptoms (that I wrote about here) and our ministry of health has been seen going against the very SOPs (standard operating procedures) they are trying to enforce.
If you have been following me for a while you have probably heard me say health is political. The human being is political and health policies put in place by government impact people differently. The COVID19 pandemic in Uganda is a reflection of what happens when health care is highly politicized. When it is used as a tool to oppress a certain group of people and grant another group some form of immunity.
At the moment, COVID19 is being widely used by the government elements to justify state terrorism and the massacre of over 50 Ugandans that happened from 18th -19th November. Not to mention those that were injured and have to live with life long complications. Since then many Ugandans on twitter have been calling out the stake holders and ministry of health to speak out on the selective enforcement of COVID19 guidelines. With more people dying from police brutality than COVID19 we really need to set our priorities straight. If our aim when enforcing SOPs is to reduce risk of death and yet we have all these people dying and getting injured in the name of enforcing guidelines then there is a glaring problem. Are we really still interested in preserving human life or is this simply a tool to keep the regime in power?
As an advocate for mask wearing and taking care of one’s health I find it increasingly hard to tell people to wear their face masks when they are more likely to die from a “stray” bullet than they are from COVID19. We need an inter grated and realistic response to this pandemic. If we are not enforcing wearing of masks in a place like downtown Kampala then it would be hypocritical of us to pretend to care so much about the health of the same people when they are at a political rally.
To add salt to the wound, even with media’s effort to highlight the impact of the massacre on the lives of victims, the government and apologists still maintain the narrative of hooliganism. That even in their death innocent Ugandans that were killed are still demonized for somehow being in the way of a reckless bullet. So many of the responses by our elites have privilege littered all over them. I shared a couple of rants on my instagram on those that constantly call upon the oppressed to be civil or constantly feel the need to police their response to their oppressor but never hold the oppressor accountable. Why don’t we question why a people that are usually civil suddenly resort to hooliganism. Why don’t we question the reason for the anger?￼
I have also seen the move by many to make this out to be an issue of political affiliation. The “stray” bullet theory (which I don’t ascribe to) should tell you that anyone can be victim. You never know when one finds you in your air conditioned offices. I’m really amused that people actually think you need to belong to the same party to recognize someone’s humanity or when whatever is happening to them is an injustice.
I know the state constantly uses state terrorism to silence any form of uprising. There are even speculations on whether the incumbent will concede defeat or massacre his way back into the state house. State terrorism has been normalized so much that Ugandans live in so much fear of speaking truth to power or holding it accountable. Those that have attempted have been brutalized to somehow stand as an example to anyone planning on having an opinion. The rest that have some form of power to actually change things owe it to the regime and are not willing to risk losing it.
Consequently Ugandans bleed, Ugandans get killed, and the world watches on. It must be amusing to watch Africans kill themselves and count the daily death toll. Black lives must only matter if it’s a white man on the other side of oppression. When we say black lives matter, do we even ever include Ugandan lives? I have been thinking a lot about these things. About how disposable our bodies are. About how our dead are reported as if they were mere statistics and not actual people that had a future a head of them.
When I saw that the state is trying to compensate people for their loss it made me think of how they probably kill us because they think our lives can be compensated with money. What really is the use of compensation if the very elements that put us in this situation still exist. No security officials were reprimanded for killing innocent Ugandans and you speak of compensation? Compensation is not justice. It will not resurrect the dead, it doesn’t ensure that this never happens again.
As you can see my feels are all over the place so I will end this post here. Ugandans deserve better. Aluta continua
Bellows of love
©Tales of a Curious mind