The fallacy of lock down and the gory updates on COVID 19

The fallacy of lock down and the gory updates on COVID 19

Salma Said (Above), Star Journalist with Deutsche Welle, is a Survivor of COVID 19. She went public about her COVID 19 status, which gave hope to patients of COVID 19

WE WATCHED ASKANCE as most nations around the globe went on total lock down, and, a spree of daily updates on the death toll of people who died of COVID 19.
We were given the figures of patients who were on their death beds, ill with the coronavirus.
We were given minuscule data on the survivors of the coronavirus.
We became unwilling voyeurs to pain; hunger; depression; suicide; sexual and domestic violence; and death; which were taking place around the world.
Whether we wanted to or not, we became a world of voyeurs, waiting with bated breath, the new updates on COVID 19 from around the globe.
Some of us made the decision not to listen or to watch such ‘news’ because we found it totally depressing and destructive to morale.

The COVID 19 took all nations by surprise! We had not envisaged that such a disease would appear all of a sudden, and decimate communities.
Globally, not a single nation had developed Protocols on medical treatment of the COVID 19. Not a single nation had come up with strategies to intervene against the disease.
Each nation was grappling in the dark, while developing home grown strategies to intervene in the pandemic of COVID 19.

The WHO took its time time to declare a global pandemic of the COVID 19.
The WHO had no Protocols to deal with the pandemic.
The WHO did not make the effort to harmonize efforts made by the governments of various nations in dealing with the COVID 19.
Instead, the WHO became the Prophet of Doom, enforcing unenforceable Practices of daily updates of all the gory details of deaths from COVID 19; the number of infections among populations; those who were on the threshold of death; and then, a tiny filler in a story of the recoveries from COVID 19.

Mind you, the WHO sought to enforce these Practices on nations globally, when the WHO had not made the effort to develop International Charters for ratification by member states, on the Protocols on COVID 19.
So very irresponsible!

As nations in the world struggled to cope with the pandemic, with nations like ours the URT developing our own home grown strategies to deal with the pandemic, COVID 19 became a political tool, with some greedy and selfish political figures using the pandemic to create alliances with some western powers, for their own gain.
We witnessed this in Tanzania when some politicians and aspirants for power, used the COVID 19 pandemic to build a political base among some Western nations’ representatives in our country, in order to destabilise our national Effort to deal with the pandemic.
They went to representatives of western nations based in our country to enforce on our government to give daily gory updates on the casualties of COVID 19. Real sickos!
Imagine the down spiral of our national morale if we were to daily get inundated with the figures however minuscule, of patients of COVID 19?
Some of us activists for social justice made the decision to partner with and to support our government in developing our own home grown strategies to intervene against the COVID 19.
We did so because we had witnessed the massive negative impact of lock down on nations globally. We had also realised that a pandemic needs a Kauli Mbiu, a rallying call to unite the nation in the fight to reduce the number of new infections of COVID 19, while keeping morale high for those who were infected and had to be in quarantine.

We used the existing legislation on infectious diseases and the Quarantine Act to enforce some measures, because we didn’t have a Policy nor legislation on COVID 19, and because it was a matter of urgency, we developed Guidelines as we went along.
Among the Guidelines are:

■ The protection of children from infection which made the closing of schools and institutions of higher education mandatory. For this, the government had to take recourse to the Infectious Diseases Act.

■ Social distancing

■ Washing of hands with liquid soap and running water

■ Wearing cloth masks in public spaces

■ Counselling patients with COVID 19 online via text messages or other social media

■ Prayers. Keeping morale needed a Guide, so the nation declared Faith and Prayers are a necessary force to keep up our morale.
President Magufuli led the nation in building morale through prayers, and it worked! The Faith based Approach raised the morale of the nation, and we somehow stopped living in fear, which is more debilitating than the coronavirus.

Some people within the country laughed while some of us designed counselling tools based on Prayers.
I am one of those people who participated in designing counselling tools for patients of COVID 19, based on the foundation of Faith and Prayers.
I scoured religious Books and learned the various Aya; Psalms; Shloka; which offer comfort and hope, to the extent, I am now known as a Preacher 🤗.
Why not? If my posting Prayers to my communities would raise morale and build hope and save lives, I’d do it again.

In the meantime, our nation was booed and jeered by some of our neighbours in the Region, especially those which had gone in full lock down. We plodded on, knowing each nation has their own method of coping with disaster, and no nation has the right to make decisions for us.

We watched while people in fully lock down countries died from hunger, not from COVID 19.
We watched elderly people dying from fear and neglect from the lock down.
We learnt about the horrendous increase in crime, especially crimes related to sexual and domestic violence.
We saw the high rate of suicide among isolated people from the lock down.
We have seen the plummeting economies globally, and the alarming rate of unemployment.
We have seen people fighting over toilet paper in supermarkets in western countries.
We have seen oil rich middle Eastern countries plunging into poverty.
We have seen how other nations started to borrow a leaf from us and Prayed.
We have witnessed how the WHO kept stuttering wild threats which fell on deaf ears in the global community because it failed the world.
Most of all, we saw how some of our own people, some ambitious politicians use the COVID 19 as a peg to destabilise our nation. Shame on them.

Fact is, there is no International Charters on Protocols on the Response to COVID 19, and therefore, no UN entity can enforce the Protocol of instilling fear among the populace with the gory details of what COVID.

I personally know at least 16 people who are Survivors of COVID 19. One, a Journalist friend of mine went public in social media about her COVID 19 status. She is brave and a Survivor, deserving of an award.
Her journey to recovery gave me, a social worker, the tools and the impetus to counsel COVID 19 patients online.

We saw world leaders desperate to save the lives of their people come up with all sorts of remedies to COVID 19. From lysol and dettol injections, to puncturing of the trachea so COVID 19 patients would recover. We can only applaud their efforts, because they had no recourse.
We have to contend with being pariah in some countries 😂 because we did not go into full lock down.
Those same countries which are wringing their hands and mustering courage to buy food from us because we did not stop farming.

The COVID 19 has taught us important lessons, for me, the main lesson is national unity in the face of disaster.
It has taught us about the importance of building morale.
“I have won more battles from the morale of my soldiers, than from their military prowess” Philip of Macedonia who designed the Phalanx in the art of warfare.
We, as a nation, designed our own Phalanx and Chakravyuh and the Cow Horn and whatever!
We had no recourse.
History will judge us in the way we dealt with COVID 19 under Field Marshal Magufuli, and it won’t find fault with us.
We did what we had to do, within our own environment to confront COVID 19.

Leila Sheikh
Senior Journalist
Social Justice Defender

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Comments (3)

  • Regina Kessy Reply

    I have never been more PROUD to be a Tanzanian than right now:-) Well done all of you who designed a cultural-specific way of dealing with an unprecedented phenomenon. I particularly applaud the strategy of sparing citizens the ghastly details of daily deaths’ update and forecasting estimated deaths etc etc. It is not a matter of “ignorant is bliss” like some sarcastic people might say, but to me that was the correct ETHICAL stance to take because what the heck do you achieve by scaring people and weakening their immune response? Fear doer affect our healths negatively. I remember some doomsters (majina kapuni) saying they predicted millions of corpses on African streets. My initial thought was….mmmmh…..NOT SO QUICK!!! Africa hosts billions of bacterias & viruses of all sorts, so maybe, just maybe, this new kid on the block Covid19 might just mutate and behave differently…TIME WILL TELL. SO FAR SO GOOD:-)
    OK. Then there is the prayer thing, which most Westerners can’t get their head around. “How dare a President tell his people to pray?” they cry!
    My response as a non-religious humanist is: Infact, faith is quite powerful whether you believe in the power of your country’s Health infrastructure or in your own “manufacturer’s” power to protect you from harm. ASANTENI SANA. Tanzanians decided to trust the “Manufacturer” and continue enjoying fresh air with no masks on. #EdenMustReturn.

    October 29, 2020 at 11:26 pm
  • Salma Said Reply

    Nice article, thank you

    December 9, 2020 at 7:05 pm
  • Leila Sheikh Reply


    February 3, 2021 at 6:24 pm

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