If we were to be punished for our lockdown sins

Author: Angella Nampewo. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The pressure of a Covid-19 campaign for 2021 elections caused none other than our minister of Health to sin by interacting with large crowds while unmasked.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is facing calls from within his party to resign after he admitted attending a drinks party during lockdown. In spite of the prime minister’s apology for the way he handled the event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, the voices calling for his resignation are growing louder.

One week towards the promised almost full reopening back home (save for boda bodas), I could not help but reflect on the lockdowns we have had and the sins, great and small, that we have committed and gotten away with, during the covid-19 closure.

The pressure of a Covid-19 campaign for 2021 elections caused none other than our minister of Health to sin by interacting with large crowds while unmasked. While there was an uproar over the incident, in the end, the minister’s sins were forgiven and life went on.

However, things did not go so well for Nigerian singers Omah Lay and Tems, who were sneaked into the country for a private party. On December 12, 2020, Omah Lay and Tems performed at The Big Brunch, which was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

To date, we are still guessing about the real organisers of this event. However, Ugandan social circles are not known for keeping secrets and social media was soon awash with videos from what was supposed to be a secret concert.

Subsequently, the two Nigerian singers and their manager were put in the coolers. They were taken to court in Makindye on charges of negligently doing acts likely to spread an infectious disease.

The fallout from that incident stacked up many casualties beyond the jailed musicians. A Twitter war started between Uganda and Nigeria and singer Bebe Cool almost lost a dreadlock or two in the ensuing fight. 

While the Covid lockdown lasted, many bars and nightclubs have died, including one famous owner, may his soul rest in peace. That notwithstanding, there are those that insisted on opening their doors, spurred on of course by defiant musicians talking about hardened hearts and an opening of nightclubs, since as one cheeky musician said, “the police is not around.” Naturally, the song, Tumbiza Sound, a very popular anthem, was banned and a remix was quickly organised, but it didn’t catch on. The defiance continued to manifest itself as seen in the many bar raids, imprisonment of revellers and even one infamous house party arrest in which the police was tipped off by angry neighbours. 

Meanwhile, many towns and centres far from the capital Kampala generally continued to enjoy their nightlife as if there was no Covid-19.

In Arua City, it was tough to get the clubs to shut down and obey presidential directives on Covid-19.

Members of Parliament on the Covid-19 committee who were on a fact finding mission on management of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown were shocked in July last year to find a trans night disco during curfew at Desert Breeze hotel where they slept. 

Scandalised at finding themselves at the scene of a crime, the MPs confronted the district police commander who is reported to have boldly told the MPs that it is the politicians and public administrators who promote the discos and have soldiers deployed to ensure the violation of curfew prevails and abuse of presidential directives goes on.

As if that was not bad enough, my sources in Arua claim that the people who were dancing the night away in Desert Breeze were ferried there in ambulances. Maybe like the MPs, Boris Johnson accidentally found himself at the scene of a crime…just saying… 

Ms Nampewo is a writer, editor and communications consultant     

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