The truth is that COVID-19 apart from being a world-wide nightmare has given us insight into the governments we have elected and their performance in handling national emergencies. In Kenya, we have seen ignorant religious leaders and even politicians aiding in the spread of the virus by ignoring social distancing and self-quarantine after traveling, county governments using public funds to label sanitizers rather than buy more. However, we are not the only ones witnessing this wave of leadership debacle. Some country’s responses range from strange to ridiculous. Here are some of the outstanding ones.
Ignore! Ignore! ; Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega went MIA for a month. He finally reappears in a press conference where no social distancing was imposed, hugs and cheek kissing was the norm and went on to say he would not be imposing a lockdown on the country, he then encourages the people to have social gatherings and mass. He implies that coronavirus is a “sign from God” and that transnational forces were trying to take control of the world. Through the Human Rights Group of Amnesty International; Americans report that the government in Nicaragua is plainly ignoring the recommendations by international human rights organizations and putting at risk the lives of its citizens. Interestingly enough, beforehand the government has suppressed and prevented mass protests or marches, and gatherings are now encouraging them. Many wonder if this is a sinister strategy of encouraging herd immunity tactics or if he is just ignorant and unequipped as a leader to protect and guide the people of Nicaragua during this trying time.
Find someone to blame! ; USA
First, the US President Donald Trump blamed China for the spreading of the epidemic conveniently after his government faces criticism over its poor and untimely response to the spread of the virus. The Trump campaign sent out a fundraising email accusing china of lying about the outbreak. Clearly he has his eye on the election and is hoping to deflect blame. A US Republican senator even went as far as to introduce a bill that would hold china accountable for civil rights claims in the courts.
The blame game did not stop there, Donald Trump announced that the United States was pulling out funding to the WHO seeing that it had failed in carrying out its basic duty in response to the pandemic. According to Trump, the WHO underplayed China’s role in the spread of the virus. Perhaps China could have done better in letting the world know in time about the pandemic and maybe the World Health Organization has had its misgivings but Trump’s blame games have a very curious timing.
Take the hit! ; Sweden
Sweden is taking the approach of herd immunity which translates to allowing people in the population to get sick. The country will then have a good number of people recovering from illness and have immunity. This sounds logical at first but soon becomes impractical when the deaths begin to occur in huge numbers. So Sweden did not impose lockdowns on primary schools, businesses, or restrict any social gatherings a decision that they are now starting to regret with a fatality rate of 10.6 percent. A group of 22 doctors has written an article to demand stricter lockdown measures. Only time will tell if herd immunity was a hard but necessary measure.
Be yourself! ; North Korea
Perhaps North Korea already was on the blacklist of bad leadership and for the first time in history, a country that has been on self-lockdown for years may be on the right track! Although little to no reports are coming out of the country except the SPA (Supreme People Assembly) that states that not a single COVID-19 case has been reported in North Korea. The truth of these reports, however, is up to us to speculate.
Perhaps this time has offered us an opportunity to look at the mindset of our leaders and perhaps helps us to make better choices in choosing them.