By Olasupo Ojo
African governments are simply lazy and clueless. Their COVID 19 inspired socio-economic lockdown remains a copy and paste decision devoid of deep study and rigorous mental interrogation of the COVID 19 culture outside its known native land.
They got it wrong ab initio. Ebola was here, highly contagious, there was no lockdown. There was tracking and quarantine of cases and ultimate defeat of Ebola.
We know European panic response to malaria fever is immediate quarantine of the patient. Whereas in Africa,, thousands of cases don’t get reported at hospitals but are treated privately with herbs. No socio-economic Lockdown. The poor people fight for themselves.
Same with Lassa fever. No socio-economic lockdown even with high fatality. Cases are being treated by individuals in their private hospitals at their host and in their homes with traditional medicine and herbs.
But for viral COVID19, the fatality is not as high in Africa as in China, Asia and Europe. Rate of recovery is higher. Fatality rate is lower. However, opportunity for viral filth and lucre is positively attractive.
Preventive measures are known and widely employed. While governments are busy tracking few reported cases and their contacts who are in the minority elite and upper political class, the poor majority reached out to their traditional herbs and are not known to suffer disturbing rate of infection or fatality in their homes.
Without studying this pattern, panicky socio-economic lockdown measures were copied by governments, imposed and enforced exempting commanding heights of their economy.
Social distancing and lockdown are contradictory. The first presupposes free but cautious free movement and social economic interaction which is fair and preserves basic rights of survival for the poor majority who fight their own battle.
The second means lower-class socio-economic lockdown and rights deprivation with movement of only essentials as if those poor folks operating the essential services are immuned against corona. Fatal ambush while hands are tied behind.
The target is very clear. The seed of further economic disempowerment of poor countries and peoples have been sown. Now germinating. Will manifest soon in growth of discontent and desperate survivalist strategies and actions if the poor decisions are not positively reviewed in pro-poor mode.
In the face of hunger, the oppressed may have no option but to face their oppressors and liberate themselves from unfair economic lockdown.
Mr Olasupo Ojo is a Lagos based human rights lawyer, and former President, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR)