The way government and security has in recent days hyped up the issue of rallies and covid spread one would think rallies are the most important route through which the corona virus is spread in Uganda today. We call this exaggerated but camouflaged subtle messaging okuhehesa in Runyankore-Ruhororo.
Look, there is covid-19 spike in schools today but there are no serious measures undertaken or even considering closing schools again. The apparent attention paid to opposition rallies and covid-19 is just kuhehesa.
You can imagine how people used to line up with not even an inch of social distancing during NRM primaries and the one counting would be touching shoulders from voter to voter while counting and no finger was raised that it was spreading corona virus. True rallies can spread the virus but i think it is the least place to spread the virus. Scientists tell us that there is less risk of spread of corona in open air than in indoors or closed places.
Now look here. There are now classes or lectures of more than 200 hundred students taking place in a closed place. There are exams taking place at University where students sit for three hours in a closed place. Some of these students have flue and you can never tell whether it is flue symptom or corona that is making one sneeze in such a hall, Saloons are working and i don’t think law enforcement officers are checking whether Berbers have flue/corona symptoms or not.
By the way if the corona virus and the flue virus are transmitted in the same way doesn’t it mean wearing masks is not as effective as we think? There are now many people with flue around inspite of masks? We may have to rethink the use of masks as a prevention measure or may be we are not using masks properly and advice is needed here from health experts.
Prof Mwambutsya Ndebesa is a historian and lecturer at Makerere University
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