Opinion by Benevolence Mudenda
THIS is a thought that is raging on many thinking people’s minds. The world once again is coerced to work together to find lasting solutions; when people of the world work together there is more benefits than loss.
Truths and lies about Covid-19 pandemic are found in the world today and the proponents of either side are as passionate in peddling their truths and lies as ever, leaving the communities more or less empowered by the information. The communities either benefit or suffer loss from this avalanche of information or disinformation from either side. What then should the common men and women who are not experts on the subject matter do?
Covid-19 pandemic has once again reminded the world that we are one people, from the east to the west, north and south. It matters not whether you are Asian, American, African, Australian or European. Our humanity binds us together “we are all human beings, susceptible to extinction if we do not secure our future together and develop our communities to better fight our common enemies as a collective”.
The elite in business and politics are notorious in dividing humanity, this they deliberately do to manage and push their nefarious agendas for power and control of others. If it is not racism they use to divide us, it will be tribalism, nepotism, religion, culture, colonialism et al. We the people must come to the realisation on what affects our communities from and into development?
Community development starts with an individual being pragmatic and transformative at a household, ward, district, provincial, national, regional, continental and world level. Without a vision, purposes are frustrated and life made unbearable as have been shown by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic which halted the world’s economic activities because our leaders lacked vision.
In Africa, we are devoid of transformative and caring leadership both at political and business level, instead of serving society, our leaders are parasitic and destroying their own. When the Covid-19 pandemic was first rumoured to have broken out from Wuhan in China, our leaders kept the populations ignorant, never really took serious measures to understand and educate their citizens until when it got that serious as to begin to have casualties in their own immediate families.
Our African leaders were caught napping and became reactional, started locking down their individual countries but what then they realised later is that by locking down their jurisdictions due to Covid-19 pandemic, they too locked themselves out from trotting to the capitals of other countries in the region and outside of our continent to seek medical attention when sick.
l consider Covid-19 pandemic to have taught African leaders a big lesson they would not have learnt in a century. Lockdowns have been the best thing for all because those who do not locally empower their communities came face-to-face with reality and the ruthlessness of this pandemic. The elite began to look at the dilapidated medical facilities they shunned for decades which must now cater for themselves, their families and friends but not ordinary citizens due to economical exclusion.
The citizens are hard hit by the economic downturn due to limited or reduced economic activities, absence of specialized medical facilities and inability to access those few renovated medical centres available to those with well to do.
This has directly affected community development in that the little resources spared from corruption by government officials that were meant to benefit the poor are now reprioritized for the benefit of a few who are politically exposed and have economic muscle in a sea of poverty to access such facilities.
Covid-19 pandemics have a hefty price on the poor, especially in Africa. God is gracious and merciful in that he is a preserver of life that he created. The creator miraculously continues to preserve the lives of the poor to this very day by making them more resilient against the diseases to the great surprise of the elite.
Africa is on the receiving hand of all things that are terrible, our governments are so ill-prepared that there is not even one African country with a capacity to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine to date, perhaps only South Africa is making those attempts to. The entire continent of more than a billion people with more than fifty countries is waiting upon America, China and Europe to supply and donate vaccines.
When these vaccines are ultimately donated, the African governments are faced with resistance from the population who have every right to mistrust the donor community due to past history and disinformation. This has led to an authoritarian approach by those in power to coerce the poor to be vaccinated against their will. Some threats are packaged as no jab! no job! considering serious unemployment in Africa, especially for those in civil service and this is fueling more mistrust instead of solving the conundrum.
The community is now more divided than ever before and fear is gripping the people due to failure by African leaders to persuade and convince their followers and subjects, instead, they are using coercive power through scaremongering that if you are not compliant something bad will happen to you, either you will not travel or access other necessary amenities that makes life dear.
The world, post Covid-19 pandemic, will be totally different to what we were used to? Traveling restrictions will lock poor communities away from those with means and in the process increasing economic disparity in the world.
Politicians never waste a good crisis, they have an affinity to abuse Covid-19 pandemic restrictions to achieve their own political milestones which under normal circumstances would have taken them longer to.
We have already seen some countries stifling political activities on the alternative government by the incumbents, some countries successfully conducted general elections whereas others cannot even conduct by-elections and closing the political space for opposition parties not to carry out political activities while the governing party does so against Covid-19 restrictions protocols, it is insanely disparaging for those on the receiving hand.
In conclusion, our communities have more or less to benefit from the pandemic depending on our collective effort as a humanity not as individuals because indeed there is strength in numbers. Families have been separated for far too long and it has negative consequences on society as people drift apart over time.
About the author-Benevolence Mudenda is a social commentator and an opinion leader on current affairs in his social circles. Commenting mainly on political, religious and economic issues both locally and at an international level.