AN OPEN LETTER TO CORONAVIRUS
By Gareeba Johnmark
To you who are earnestly committed to dismantling our nation into a dilapidated place to live; one we can dread to set a foot on, woe into you! I will not blame you for the perils of the miserable life of Ugandans, I will not blame you for the molestation, I will not blame you for the severe crisis we are facing, I will only blame you for the lives you have stolen and your overstay in the land you are not welcome. I will blame you for corrupting the minds of the decision-makers, from whose stingy hands, our bread comes.
Mr. Corona, at first we thought you were a mere plague that would hit and run. We thought you were an ogre claiming lives just as your predecessors not limited to HIV/AIDS and Cancer. They came to this land, glorified themselves, but regardless of their horrible terror, they still had learned not to exceed their boundaries.
You came just like one of them. A scary monster that was blown by the west wind. Unlike your predecessors, you threatened the whole globe that soon declared you a pandemic. For the fear we had at first, you locked us down in the comfort of our homes with hopes that we shall soon vanquish. You introduced your infamous quarantine and curfew; words which were rarely used by our people. We obeyed all your ridiculous orders like sacrificial lambs. We thought you were a disastrous killer disease, but have proven to be too weak to kill even a fly in Uganda. Some thought you were the parasite meant to suck blood from wells you did not dig but you seem not so much interested in only blood. Your intention is not clear yet. Some people claim you are a bacteria, others know you as a virus. The fundamental questions we have remained with are: Who exactly are you? And what is your purpose on earth?
If you are a killer disease as you have made us believe, why then have you failed to claim a quarter of the lives in your possession? In Uganda, not a life have we lost! You seem to have failed on the mission that primarily brought you here. Because of your failure on your killing mission, we are tempted to believe that you have turned the battle to the economy of our country. You seem to have successfully caused what we call economic and trade wars.
Just as your father the devil, you have mastered the art of corruption and deceit. You corrupt those in power to fulfill your selfish interests. You have made the leaders to deliberately prolong the lockdown well knowing that the economy will be in shambles. Schools, churches, businesses, and all gathering places are still closed under the disguise that you shall kill us. Where is your strength?
However, I would be failing in my duty if I did not bring to your attention that Uganda is upheld by God. We shall not accept to be robbed of our dignity. We have been taught that the wealth of the nation comes from the sweat and blood of the workers. Those in the markets with stalls, in the lake and rivers fishing, those hawking goods, those in garages, those at the wheel of a taxis and boda boda, those in arcades and malls, those in schools and higher institutions of learning, those who use their talents to sing, those who watch and play soccer and other games, those who vend tomatoes on streets of Kampala, all create the wealth of the nation. These are the men you have locked down so that they can solely rely on grants and donations from abroad. You have made them rely on food provided by the generous leaders whose hands are full of corrupt mercies.
Because you have successfully managed to quarantine us, you have made a few individuals to know the sources of the wealth of the nation well enough. They know where they can drink water that they have not gone to fetch. They know where they can dam the water so that it doesn’t reach people downstream. They know where they can dig canals to divert the river so that it can only water their fertile fields. They have the power to look at the other options of lifting the lockdown but are busy minding grabbing what belongs to the community. I believe that this pandemic is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. History will judge each according to how you have used them. I would rather, if you are simply a monster disease, why cease our economy? Who is taking advantage of the other? Should we say decision-makers are using you? Or you are taking advantage of their wicked borrowed souls? Who is who?
Mr. Corona, you have invented a war that is not fought by guns and bombs, but rather injections. Not soldiers and robots but doctors, and the battlefields have been the bodies of innocent men. So what is left of us?
Mr. Corona, you have overstayed your visit. You have exaggerated the quarantine, curfew and lockdown. You have made us poor enough and we can’t stay with you anymore. You have oppressed the people long enough and tried to exhibit your strength with tenacious force. We still know our rights Mr. Corona and we shall fight for our Godly given rights. We shall not wait for you to suck the last drop of our blood while we watch on.
We have waited long enough for months without any positive results. It’s okay for some people who have never seen the dark days of sleeping on an empty stomach because there’s no food in the house and you are sure it’s the same story the following day all in names of lockdown and curfew. You don’t know what it feels when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your four-year-old daughter why she takes one meal of posho and beans in a day for four months, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that she can’t afford a decent meal, and see ominous clouds of fear and pessimism beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward decision-makers; when you pass at a private school teacher who has not earned any salary for four months and his family of six is demanding what to eat and he’s about to commit suicide, you realize corona has overstayed his visit.
I want to say to you corona; it’s clear and evident that if you keep us under these oppressive measures, we shall fight hard to seek our justice. You can’t threaten our health and economy at ago. We shall seek accountability from leaders you have corrupted. Our cup of patience has run over and we can’t keep waiting. We and the incorrupt leaders shall stand to see you out of this country. We shall fight with our bodies and minds and drive you out of this country. We are tired of you and the people you are harmoniously working with to channel rivers from reaching those downstream.
We shall raise our hands in unison to defy your oppressive orders. We must be allowed to work freely with normal conditions. You must let us go or else, like Pharaoh, you and your allies shall drown in the Red sea while pursuing those who are seeking justice. No freedom has ever been given freely by oppressors. We shall fight for our rights! God says, release his people now to earn a living. Their innocent blood and cries have reached the heavens and God is ready to rescue them.
In case you need another reminder, we are a nation of God. The Royal priesthood. The ones fearfully and wonderfully made! God is on our side to see us through your pungs of venom. And we have already overcome!