Science: Covid-19 and its flipside

Monday July 27 2020

Samuel Baligidde

Samuel Baligidde  

By Samuel Baligidde

The managing editor in charge of editorial standards at Vision Group David Mukholi’s predictions at the beginning of twennie-twennie have partially come to pass.

Yes, President Museveni has picked nomination forms and is expected to be endorsed as the National Resistance Movement (NRM) flagbearer for the forthcoming presidential elections.

Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi has seized the opportunity to declare he will challenge him; drama and controversy not only in the NRM run to its primaries but also in the Opposition continues unabated as the elections get closer. There is already an increase in the frequency of the stand-offs between his supporters and the security forces.

But politics is not the big story. The big one is coronavirus and its flipside: scientism. The run up to the 2021 elections has not as David predicted, gone underway without interruption. Micro and macro businesses have suffered interruption by a debilitating lockdown.

Without delving into the nitty-gritty of the scientific study of language, it’s abundantly clear Covid-19 has generated negatives and positives.
It has levelled humanity without equalising it and led to the metaphysical proposition of a “new normal” that is incompatible with common sense.

The unfortunate spike in virtual politico-socio invective that is trending is infact ‘abnormal’! Yet humanity had learnt to live with invective since Homo erectus [man’s primate ancestors who lived in East Africa where palaeontologists suggest could’ve been close to the Biblical Garden of Eden] learned to speak and walk vertically.


It brings what Daily Monitor Public Editor Odoobo Bichachi has alluded to recently into relevance. With the per capita happiness index in free fall that of anger rising, the ‘spike’ in vituperative expression or speech to attack others the floor seems to have merged with the ceiling.

People have been called derogatory names; based on the imagined, malicious or unprofessional assessments of personality characteristics of some individuals simply because they probably imprudently talked about occurrences or things outside their audiences’ own competences, occupational, intellectual or social spaces, or talked too much! Religious, cultural leaders and other eminent people in society have come out strongly against invective.
It was therefore extra-specially-good for Mr Bichachi to add his professional voice to theirs.

Trending terms like “new normal” related to the current and anticipated aftermath of Covid-19 and in the past “new world order” touted by United Nations Political Economists in the 1970s seem to be intentional fallacies.
They may be or are intended to carry hidden meanings by stealth agenda socio-politico engineers during times of crisis and uncertainty.

These terms are not positive; they are the converse of affective fallacy. If you were mature as the world braced itself to plunge into the void of the year 2000 AD, you may recall that the exponential smoothing [operational computer method] that forecast the chaos Y2K would unleash never came to pass!
But one might appreciate the unjustified fear generated by today’s and yesteryears’ prophets of doom, which I dare say Mr Mukholi isn’t.

In the philosophical study of empirical [scientific] and a priori knowledge; how we come to know what we know, any theory of which holds that there are propositions of absolute certainty that are self-evident and are incorrigible knowledge that must be. In the absence of such logical conclusions, should the scepticism touted by the advocates of a “new normal” be repelled?

The Ebonies proprietor and playwright Owekitiibwa J K Ssembajjwe was right; Bibaawo [These things happen!]. While we might have to learn to live with social media vituperation as we also come to terms with the reality of coexistence with coronaviruses as the scientists worldwide have intimated, belittling national Ieaders is unacceptable.

Mr Samuel Baligidde is a lecturer in Democracy, Governance and Politics of Public Policy at Uganda Martyrs University.