By Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton, Canada/ Bududa, Uganda
– This is likely the only time I will ever go on record defending President Gen. Yoweri Museveni on a decision he has made which is good for Uganda.
I remain a strong critic of Museveni’s regime. However, let me tell you why I support him on the closure.
First, many countries have closed schools. Canada is included, USA and many countries in Europe. This has been done to avoid spreading Corona to people, flattening the curve and social distancing.
Second, Museveni is following guidelines issued by WHO. He has also been following developments in other countries. You would be wrong to judge him for his decision. If you doubt him, read up on Italy and Iran. They had no idea that one case could cause hundreds of deaths in their countries.
Third, as I write this, pretty well all the schools in Canada and the USA have closed down till further notice. Some universities are maintaining online courses. Not too many though because online learning is not the same as in class learning.
Fourth, Uganda does not have a strong medical care system. Our health care totally sucks. Supposing one parent visits their kid at a school and the parent is asymptomatic. That parent could transmit the virus to his or her little one. This little one would then return to his or her dormitory and infect the dorm mates. The same kid will be in class the next day and infect other kids and the teachers.
The infirmary nurse will likely care for this kid should the brat develop a fever. Then the nurse will get infected. And all kids who go to the infirmary will get infected. The same kid eats in the school dining room, cafeteria or canteen. And then this kid will infect the other kids. Then, supposing this kid gets very sick, the parents will pick up the kid and take the kid home.
The parents will proceed to work the next day and infect their colleagues. These colleagues will then take the virus home and infect their families. Ugandans are very social. Next thing we know, the kids are playing with neighbour kids and infecting them all. The parents will go to their hang out places and affect all the customers at that Pork Joint. OR, they could go to fetch water from the nearest borehole or community tap water and infect others fetching water. Then these ones would go home and infect their families. Husband goes to work the next day and infects his entire team. Come Sunday, everyone goes to church and affects the others in the church.
Fifth, closing places of worship is even more important than closing down the schools. Places of worship in Uganda are incubation tanks for diseases. Those worshippers shake hands, hug and kiss people on the cheeks.
Seventh, during this whole thing, people are in buses, matatu, and boda bodas and infecting everyone in the transportation business who will then go infect others.
Therefore, Museveni closing down schools and places of worship is Common Sense. We must practice Prevention, Precautions, etc instead of waiting till we are hit and watch millions die for something simple we could have done. CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT MUSEVENI. You have done well for Uganda. They will thank you later. I do, however, thank you now. Thank you.
BUT BUT BUT… President Museveni, you could maybe do what Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania have done. Charter buses to pick all the kids from the schools and take them to their nearest home town. Then the parents can pick them up. Uganda has enough money to charter these buses and have the parents pay nothing. Most parents will be happy to pick up their kids from the announced drop-offs (you will do this, I imagine).
Otherwise, having all the parents drive to the schools to pick up their kids is not affordable to most Ugandans. In addition, the parents who have no cars have to use public transportation which is already crowded.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Leah Nangalama is a Ugandan blogger based in Canada. Her blogosphere can be accessed here: http://nangalama.blogspot.com/2020/03/uganda-president-yoweri-museveni-orders.html