…in the footsteps of Death to 2020 Op-ed.
Ambassador Anthony Mukwita wrote:
31st January 2021. BERLIN.
I have just returned to my Berlin duty station from the Zambian motherland, a country I fondly refer to as  the Shangri-la of sub-Saharan Africa.
I call Zambia the best, not just because it´s got 365 days of sunshine, low valleys, high hills and deep rivers, but also because of the seamless warm smiles Zambians wear on their faces, regardless of what challenges they face.
That Zambian smile says, “this too we shall overcome.”
My family and I have just completed a mandatory two-week quarantine, we could now go grocery shopping for home supplies under the new normal as returning residents.
Nevertheless, I cannot get Zambia out of my mind due to the bug (covid-19) that brought the world to its knees because as we left the country beginning of January, more people, including those with name recognition were openly succumbing to the bug, bringing to an end, the myth that it was a disease for the West or Bazunguz.
The days ahead according scientists I spoke too could be worse but I am certain the measures and directives my President H.E Edgar Lungu and his administration have imposed shall help nip it in the bud.
Some Scientists say we barely escaped by the skin of our teeth during the first wave in 2020, as Zambia because the bug struck at the time, we were just exiting winter (cold season) and going into summer. The bug hates the summer and thrives in the cold.
The new wave I understand is surviving in the humidity and could get worse as we get into winter in Zambia starts May, June, July, calling for a greater need to limit public gatherings. But the jury is still out and I am not Dr Anthony Fauci.
Scientists, however, maintain that public gatherings are “are super spreaders” that could rump up deaths and infections albeit government has called for stricter restrictions.
The question is, will fellow Zambians follow President Lungu’s safety directive? will political players go around as if its ´business as usual´ holding rallies, or they will ´not pass go and not collect the proverbial US$200´? Is it going to be another Garden Variety over the bug as winter dawns?
We all agree the bug is real especially after it knocked off the dinner table four, or five members of our families and friends. We knew it was real when our parish priests and local administrators and judges and legislators started to die.
The temptation to congregate and ´wawawa´ will be immense this being a poll year but the protection lies in self-discipline, to stay home safe or go out and risk death.
We are going to have to weigh whether its necessary to go to a public event and bring the bug home to the kids and the spouse or indeed get yourself infected as a bread winner.
When you have breathed your last and buried, no one will take care of your children and your wife the way you did. Shots fired!
Lets get inspired by folks like popular St Ignatius parish priest Padre Charlie Chilinda who left footage to show that the bug really kills.
As a Christian nation we know that God will always cover us in the blood of the lamb of the Lord but not if we deliberately attend super spreading events such as funerals and wawawa.
Kudos to President Lungu and team for recently cancelling political provincial conferences which shows that he does care for the people.
I am not a scientist so every time I am making a scientific argument I quote those that are scientists and, a publicly available studies such as one by an influential science group called GAVI or the Vaccine Alliance citing a Zambian scientist Dr Lawrence Mwananyanda ( Mwananyanda, 25 January 2021) raised concern on Zambia´s case recently.
“If our data are generalizable, COVID-19’s impact across Africa has been substantially underestimated,” writes Dr Lawrence Mwananyanda of Boston University School of Public Health and Right to Care, Zambia, who led the research with Christopher Gill, also at Boston University.
Dr Mwananyanda just got recently admitted as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians-UK so his arguments unlike mine are scientific and not conjecture.
At the time I penned this op ed, Germany recorded 57, 100 bug deaths while Zambia only 745 and the UK a dazzling 106,000 deaths.
There´s hope though—vaccines are on the way but whether they will reach Zambia, Africa early enough, is another story I will tell in the next chapter after I study the development.
You can read more about Zambia in the paper link below:
Dr Mwananyanda and colleagues turned to the morgue at UTH in Lusaka, which registers at least 80% of deaths in the city, including deaths in the community.
The paper says “between June and September, they collected nose and throat swabs from 364 corpses, and detected SARS-CoV-2 in 70 (19%) of them.”
If this science is correct, then we have cause for concern in line with President Edgar Lungu´s reaffirmed calls for social distancing, limited public events and limited opening times of pubs and restaurants.
Given the science, there´s no need for a Hail Mary pass especially as we approach winter in Zambia with the rise of the political temperature.
It is Susanne Massie, an American scholar who first told POTUS Ronald Reagan to, “Believe but verify” so I urge all you that read my op-eds to do the same thing because  like I said earlier, I am not a scientist. I am just a diplomat and author who loves this beautiful country Zambia and my President H.E EL.
• Lessen public gatherings personal or not
• Mask up
• Test often
• Travel only when essential
• Stay safe because your family needs you
In Germany, the largest economy in Europe, the administration even considered grounding air travel all together but the jury is still out though everything but supermarkets remain closed now.
Death to 2020 is real so stay safe at home in Zambia instead of playing Russian Roulette with your wellbeing because your family needs you.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.”
The author is a published author and Ambassador of Zambia to the Federal Republic of Germany. This personal essay was inspired by the spiking cases of COVID globally and the Netflix special Death to 2020.
Copyright: Amb. Anthony Mukwita, 28.01.21.
Further reading: