By Andrew Busingye
A lot of conspiracy theories have been brought forward and twisted to suit the fear factor narratives of covid19 pandemic, most common are the early warming speeches of Bill Gates , Barack Obama preps after Ebola scourge in west Africa and Donald Trump establishment of the pandemic task force in his government labeling it resource wastage.
But if Politicians can tolerate elections committee whose major role seems to be seen once in five or seven years of major elections why can’t the same politicians tolerate the health emergency taskforces whose call to duty can’t be predicted? The answers lie in what individuals, institutions and governments are willing to do in the next months whether is covid19 threat is neutralized or not.
The fact now is that covid19 is no longer only an economic threat but a security threat of World War and terrorism proportions , as health researchers chase vaccines, some security arms are equally busy drawing case studies of for example ; what could go wrong with basics needs scarcity, possible rise of sea pirates, smuggling rackets and gangs that compromise standard ways of life, topple regimes and threaten humanity.
Behind scenes the big boys are in bio-chemical races using prohibited materials and sites of chemical weapons to reinvent their stock and do vaccine trials. Poor Africa has little capacity and roles to play here apart from being a testing ground for experimentation and superpowers neocolonialism. The previously hidden “illegal” mass surveillance technology of countries on their citizens has also come to the fore in combating covid19 for contacts tracing at least in Asian countries with good results. What remains to be seen is whether other countries can use the same technology previously procured to spy on political opponents, activists and espionage can now be put to good use at least. A good number of African countries procured human surveillance techs like IMSI-catcher, Pegasus spyware and IP tactical interception systems at the height of Arab springs.
However, Africa can leverage from the backfoot to empower itself through African Union and regional blocks of ECOWAS, EAC or SADC to negotiate its rightful place on the global table, eg how to add value on local raw materials feeding global trade like coltan for electronics, cocoa for chocolate, tin hardware and cotton fabrics. Can also negotiate franchises for local production and assembly lines of common imported items to bridge local capacity gaps and create employment.
Good example is Kenya minister of Tourism (Mr Balala) recent penned great article of changing African mentality and paradigm shift to tourism. For now, the statistics of Africa covid19 infections, recovery and death are not very worrying compared to the global statistics but the real impact is yet to be seen when the small resource envelopes are stretched. We still of worry for countries like Tanzania and Burundi where leaders have played soft game internally instead of total lockdown thus risking containment measures and their neighbors.