By Jean Gatera
According to Chimpreports —a Ugandan outlet under CMI control— President Museveni blames Kenya for Covid-19 deaths of Ugandans in Mbale and Namisindwa. He made the accusation during the National Prayer Day at his Entebbe State House last Saturday, and it was relayed by Chimpreports on Sunday. The declaration made no sense to sources in the country who pointed to a pattern of blaming others for ones failure.
“Ever since the pandemic [Covid-19] began, the government keeps shifting blame to others but ignores its fatal failures”, a Ugandan writer on health issues that didn’t want his name revealed said. “At the beginning, Uganda tried to blame Rwanda and Tanzania, now it is Kenya’s turn!”, the source as he divulged some fatal failures in the handling of Covid-19 in Uganda. The analyst explained that right from the start, when Uganda announced a lockdowns and quarantine, corruption hobbled the intent of the crucial measures.
“Who doesn’t remember people sneaking out of quarantine or skipping all procedures at the airport?” expert asked. A video that went viral on social media in April showing foreigners and Ugandans skipping mandatory quarantine.
The Observer, a Ugandan paper, reported that some travelers accused government of extortion and torture in the quarantine facilities, something that explained why most simply preferred to bribe their way out. A Kampala source explained that the handling of Covid-19 was so appalling that the pandemic pushed the Ugandan health system to the brick of collapse.
Throughout the pandemic, blame games prominently featured in Uganda. As early as March, Chimpreports had begun the hunt for scapegoats. At the time, the outlet targeted Rwanda with rumors such as that “Rwanda bats were found to be carriers of Coronavirus”, subsequently proved to be fake information. Faced with undeniable scientific evidence that Rwanda was tackling the pandemic in a more effective way, they simply moved to other countries in the region. Independent analyst estimated that over 17,000 travelers entered Uganda untested and warned that Uganda would inevitably become a Covid-19 hotspot.
“Even Covid-19 statistics have been modified to be politically correct”, a source said as he recalled President Museveni unilateral decision to reduce figures in one of his 17 televised addresses. “From nowhere, he decided to strike out Covid-19 infected foreigners truck drivers by throwing them out of the country”, the health expert pointed out. In a similar fashion the Ugandan president, unable answer to a question about his policy on truck drivers said, “We need the cargo. We need the goods”, he responded,“But at the same time we don’t want the disease!” This to many summed up “the government’s incoherent response to the pandemic.”
The endless search for a scapegoat led to xenophobic acts. In one such incident, over 300 Rwandans were expelled by Uganda on the excuse that “they spreading the novel coronavirus”. Asia, Europe were not spared either from the blame rhetoric. The Ugandan President is quoted as saying, “ The external friends, if they are friends at all, should cancel all the multi-lateral and bilateral loans because this problem (coronavirus) has been created for Africa by Asia and regularly blames the European and American lifestyle (Air conditioning, metro, etc) for spreading the pandemic
“Kenya should know that unfortunately the Ugandan government has been blaming everyone. Even local opposition groups are accused of spreading Covid-19”, analysts observer.
“For the last three decades, insecurity, corruption, poverty have been blamed on others. Covid-19 is no exception”, he said the analyst.