The first three months of 2020 have been a time of humility following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
There has been rapid and significant loss of lives worldwide. According to John Hopkins University, close to 25,000 people had lost their lives to Covid-19 by Friday afternoon.
The world economy is suddenly crawling towards a recession and possible collapse. A war is raging with a known, but unseen enemy.
Many world leaders have turned to prayer, acknowledging God, seeking his face and repenting for past sins at a national level.
In the past week alone, both Uganda and neighbouring Kenya held national prayers led by presidents Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta, respectively. This gave us opportunity to acknowledge God as supreme power over survival, the giver of life and the one who determines the time of death.
“Thus says the Lord, let no wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not the rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth,” reads Jeremiah 9: 23-24.
Therefore, in this time of meekness and humbleness, it was surprising to see a bizarre tweet from senior presidential adviser for special operations, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
“General Yoweri Museveni, the most successful revolutionary in African history. I pity those who think they can defeat him,” seemed to boast Gen Kainerugaba, also President Museveni’s son, in the Wednesday tweet.
The statement seems bizarre, coming at a time when different countries are busy combating a common enemy, Covid-19. While assumptions can be made that the spirit in which the comments were made were with good intentions to support and celebrate our military might, it seems inappropriate given the current circumstances.
It is unclear which other adversary could have suddenly become a threat and is now planning to defeat President Museveni.
Mixed legacies of our revolutionaries
There are many African revolutionaries who are celebrated for their contributions towards the improvement of lives both socially, economically and politically on the continent.
Unfortunately, many of these African revolutionaries lost their lives. They include Patrice Lumumba of DR Congo, South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, first president of Mozambique Samora Michel, and Burkinabé revolutionary and president Thomas Sankara, aka African Che Guevara.
Despite them dying prematurely, their legacies live on.
Last year, former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe died, age 95. He was described as an African revolutionary, but he is also remembered for causing bloodshed and economic impoverishment.
“Robert Mugabe helped liberate Zimbabwe, but his human rights abuses and gross economic mismanagement after 40-year rule caused a life of poverty to millions, betraying his people’s hopes,” noted US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus following Mugabe’s death.
So as Uganda joins the rest of the world in battling Covid-19, we must come together irrespective of difference in opinion, race, religion or political affiliation to fight the disease.
Don’t send alarming messages to our foes, real or perceived. We can see some countries leading by example. China has deployed doctors in Italy, while Russia sent virologists to help the overwhelmed European country.
Boastfulness of military might should not be directed towards one another, but towards Covid-19 so we live to see another day.
Ms Victoria Nyeko is a media commentator.