You could say that the coronavirus pandemic came unannounced. Followed by preventive measures to tame the seemingly indomitable aggressive deadly virus. First, came the lockdown, initiated by various governments around the world. It was meant to last for a period of two weeks or a little more. Fair enough, to most citizens, the duration was manageable a sacrifice to make to enable their leaders to bring the spread of the volatile viral virus to a halt. Soon, that period would be extended. And extended. Before you knew it, a lockdown has gradually graduated into a lock-up. Yes, lock-up of law-abiding citizens trying to obey their governments’ directives to deter the spread of the coronavirus pandemics. Sadly, the victims are the same sacrificial lamb: the poor masses.
Citizens, you would call them. They could be anyone from those educated individuals with fantastic jobs, to semi-educated groups, whom, though might perhaps not boast of enviable jobs, but their lives and future are, nevertheless, protected by the economic and social measures put in place by their various good governments. In Africa and many other third world countries, the story is significantly different. Without any social services and economic protection initiated by their governments in the face of the agonizing coronavirus lockdown, many Africans have no other choice than to struggle and fight for their survival – with an empty stomach. While African masses are busy trying to survive, their leaders are greedily feeding their fat-full tummy with the resources meant for the betterment of the lives of the masses facing the pandemic. In Africa, where almost 80 per cent of the citizens are self-employed and survive from hand to mouth, it is expected, therefore, that any sane government cannot just lock-up its citizens in the name of lockdown without making any adequate provision for at least basic needs like food, water and electricity to enable the caged to cope with the biting bitter effects of the coronavirus lockdown. But Africa is a continent amongst continents. A unique continent, to say the least. Yes, unique, depending on your definition of that word and what that means to you.
While the rich and privileged can afford to stock their homes with often ill-gotten money and other necessities to make the lockdown bite-free, the poor ones are left to their faith. No income. No food. No water. No light. All points to a hazardous hopeless future. Of course, everyone is under the lockdown. But not under the same condition. Nor the same social experience. All humans are indeed equal…but some are more equal than others.
You simply cannot beat up a child and forbid them from crying. In a situation where you lock-up families and refuse to provide them with any source of livelihood, you are likely to expect either a cruel death awaiting them or a deserved disobedience of the rule. At the end of the day, what would one lose? Hardly not much. Definitely, not worse than the dangling death in front of these obedient citizens, if they refuse to try to survive.
Sadly – or stupidly -, many African governments seem not to realise the monster they are breeding due to their cruelty and insensitivity towards their fellow citizens. Or the leaders know the gravity of the dynamite they are about to rekindle due to their refusal to make adequate efforts towards alleviating the suffering of their citizens in the face of the coronavirus lockdown. But as usual, the greed and insensitivity of the leaders take the better part of them.
Whatever the case may be, if African governments do not take immediate steps to provide the desperately needed assistance to their citizens under the coronavirus lockdown, they might soon discover how determined humans can be to ensure their survival – especially, when facing existential threats or pushed mercilessly to the wall. After all, a hungry man is indeed an angry man.