Mr. Muwema

By Fred Muwema

While responding to the reading of Uganda’s 2020/2021 national budget on the 11/6/2020, President Museveni revealed that some of the 697 people tested recently, had been erroneously classified as having tested positive for #COVID-19 whereas they were negative. I don’t know why the President was surprised by this phenomenon of false positives (read fake positive results) and false negatives (read fake negative results). Those two concepts have graced the cover story the #COVID-19 pandemic since January, 2020. Perhaps the only thing that beats fake #COVID-19 results to smithereens is the fake #COVID-19 news.

Fake news has stood out as the spindle on which the #COVID-19 story went crazy and wheedled millions of rumor thirsty people around the world. Many fake stories about #COVID-19 have refused to go away despite the best efforts to sanitize the public information space. For example, some people in Africa still believe that drinking alcohol or inhaling hot steam can protect them from catching #COVID-19 whereas not. In hindsight, even the fake #COVID-19 results which the President complained about constituted fake news at the time they were delivered by the Ministry of Health. This is the counterfeit culture that I am talking about and fake news has become its new front runner.

It must be common knowledge by now that many countries in the #COVID-19 hotspots like USA, France, UK, Italy, Spain, China, South Africa have reported more fake positive#COVID-19 results than Uganda. The only difference is that the other countries have also reported fake negative #COVID-19 results which we have not. This is what should surprise the President and all of us because generally speaking fakes do not discriminate, they cut across. I suspect that someone was being fake in holding back the fake negative #COVID-19 results. Medical experts tell us the positive and negative results have an equal preponderance of occurrence, so why do we have one and not the other.

The President believes that the fake #COVID-19 results were caused by the negligence and fatigue of some of the health workers. This may be true and excusable to a point if say one worker was forced to operate a machine which is ordinarily handled by 5 people or he or she worked without food or rest for days on end. However, a flip of the coin should have the concerned health workers agonizing about a possible 5-7-year jail term for their efforts. This is if they should wake up one day and fail to answer to charges of neglect of public duty or charges in relation to negligent acts likely to spread infectious disease. That should be the case if they were unprofessional and negligent in collecting and handling the test samples or if they were simply clumsy when they mislabeled the test results. Nevertheless, in such a case, I would still say that their negligence would be symptomatic of their incompetence which is associated with the rampaging examination malpractice in Uganda and is known to uncover numerate fake academic qualifications.

The situation is so dire that sometimes one should be forgiven if they think that fake academic papers are the general rule rather than the exception. This is how far we have sunk in the inglorious counterfeit culture and we are still counting. The culture of counterfeiting is so deep-rooted in Uganda that even when we had not registered a single #COVID-19 case in March 2020, some incredible Ugandans still made it to the international news for administering a fake Coronavirus vaccine. ( http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/world/2020-03-10-Ugandans-arrested-for-giving-fake-Coronavirus-vaccine )

Right now, Ugandans are ruminating about an uncertain future which is caused by the #COVID-19 instigated lockdown of the economy. With a projected growth rate of only 3 per cent this year, the only predictable…