How Africa can win against COVID-19
By Tasie Theodore
With over three million cases now recorded in the continent, it is clear that Africa needs an even more assuring plan to win the war against COVID-19. From Johannesburg to Abuja and Nairobi to Kinshasha, the numbers are rising. More is needed to be done.
A lot of the COVID-19 challenge in the continent has to do with the political situation in the continent. Leaders are chiefly rulers and do not command natural legitimacy, followership and support. Many came to power in contentious circumstances and have also done very little to bridge the gulf with the people. What follows then most of the time is that they either resort to brute force to have their way or use a number of handy divide and rule schemes.
More than a regular joe
But the current enemy has proven to be more than a regular joe. It has killed people in palaces and those in ghettoes. It has taken its victims from professors as well as among illiterates. COVID-19 has become a paradoxical leveller of classes and given that there are far more of the poorer, lower classes in the continent, it also follows that it is the poor that actually do hold the aces to mitigating the spike.
Lockdown not the solution
When the first incidence broke out, governments across the continent joined their developed countries’ equivalent to impose lockdowns. But this was costly. They did not only not have the cash reserves to pay for it, they also were losing money daily as the economy was haemorrhaging.
Smarter, more creative solutions needed
Even now with the second wave now underway, the challenge remains. Lockdowns remain expensive. But getting compliance to social distancing rules, nose mask wearing and hand washing also remains a challenge given that the state of government-people distrust remains quite palpable.
What to do
Governments should come down from their high horses. They need to simply connect better with their people. COVID-19 is saying that the people should be listened to, carried along and pampered as it was always meant to be. They must be made stakeholders. It is from that point that their cooperation would lavishly flow. Or did someone not say you really cannot police a people who are not prepared to let you do so?