The Struggle of African Leaders Fighting COVID-19 Pandemic
Many cities and countries are facing serious health issues during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is worse on a continent like Africa. In Africa, systems are broken and population support is nearly non-existent. Governments are unable to take care of its people, yet making decisions to suspend all activities. It’s strange to see many African countries following western countries by obliging everyone to stay at home without a strategic plan in place.
I am not saying people should be exposed to the virus. Of course prevention measures to stop the pandemic should be a priority. Ebola recently hit Africa and many people died in West Africa and D.R. Congo, yet people were still doing their daily activities to survive. Life was not shut down like this then.
I understand that COVID-19 is a pandemic and it can spread quickly compared to Ebola. However, plans and means to be able take care of people are necessary. The big question to ask is why African countries don’t have plans in place when it comes to disasters or pandemics like COVID-19? The answer is simple. Most of Africa’s leaders are selfish and corrupt. They prefer stealing than growing the economy and taking care of its population. Most African countries live by western debts and banks to survive. Yet they have the power to build their economy within. It’s a matter of willingness.
In countries like Uganda and Nigeria, police used force to kick people out of the busy marketplace streets. These people can't imagine being home without working because a day with no job means no food for their families. Instead of creating a support system that will help people during the pandemic, the government chooses to beat them and use teargas to disperses the crowd. The only reason why those people are in the street is because they are hungry and can't afford to quarantine like many European countries or America.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, most people live day by day and can’t afford to be quarantined. It’s a luxury they cannot afford. Asking people to quarantine without food is like slowly killing the population. And we are seeing it happening right now.
According to the World Bank report on Congo’s economy, "In 2012, 77% of the population was living in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day. The most recent World Bank estimates put the extreme poverty rate in the DRC at 73% in 2018, one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, placing it ahead of only Nigeria.”
At the same time many NGOs working in Africa have suspended their operations because of safety reasons. So called “expats” working to “save Africa" have also returned to their countries where they can be safe and healthy. Now the community and those in need have been left alone without help. The community has no choice except to take care of themselves to fight the pandemic and survive to see another day.
Grassroots organizations and local churches are playing a big role (as usual) to support the community and meet basic needs to help the community survive this pandemic. Other people are relying on their family or friends living abroad in U.S. and Canada to support them during the quarantine.
If this situation persists, we will see a lot of people dying, not with the virus but with hunger.