Based in Uganda, the mission of Crossing Lines, Africa, is to facilitate conflict transformation in violence-ravaged communities in Africa, and to work for human rights for ALL individuals thereby addressing liberation from self-limiting mindsets. Team leader Philip Kakungulu writes on March 18: Let me tell you there are millions of people here who have no idea what is happening and just don’t care because no one has told them to care. Also our health system has no capacity whatsoever…..Africa stands at risk as some people have begun to spiritualize COVID-19. We are all stressed. We are praying for you and continue to pray with us.
March 19: I am a member in several Africa social media groups and pastoral leadership fellowships here. The underlying message toward COVID-19 has been one of denial, which is going to cost lives as it did in South Africa during the HIV AIDS pandemic.
Our Ugandan president has publicly affirmed echoes of a message that God has spared Uganda from COVID-19.
#1. This feeds into the quickly spreading propaganda that this disease is for Whites and not for Africans because God is punishing White people for their sins against Black people. I have seen references to the ancient slave trade tagged on the coronavirus. I have seen and heard several messages connecting COVID-19 and HIV AIDS as diseases developed by Whites to kill Black populations. These messages are very dangerous for our already indoctrinated masses of people. I have seen some respected people happy because this disease is slaughtering many in the West!
#2. Yesterday the president publicly mentioned that God has spared Uganda because the government and church leaders stood against homosexuality. This is justifying the use of violence by the church, and many have mentioned that the coronavirus is a disease for homosexuals.
Churches have not taken initiative at top levels to educate people about COVID-19 and how to stop its spread. Pastors have not endeavored to offer masks and sanitizer to their own church members which could have easily been done. As a result, Africa is about to be hit by a wave of COVID-19 with serious consequences.
The economy right now in Uganda is a nightmare; people will die of COVID-19, hunger, utter neglect and civil violence. What our government has done and hasn’t done is so frustrating. I am crying for the innocent children and peasants in the villages who have very little or no actual scientific education about COVID-19. While our borders have been open on all fronts till now, in the capital city, Kampala, and nearby towns the panic is growing. The government is not offering state sponsored quarantine or testing whatsoever! Why would we allow this to happen?
COVID-19 has put a new prophetic lens on the task ahead of us as the Body of Christ. May God help us!
I am telling people that during the years when the early church was often under persecution by the Roman Empire, a non-believing Roman historian, Tacitus, noticed the Christian self-less behavior during the plague. He observed, “How they love one another!” This is a time to bear witness, even if we put ourselves at risk. We can’t let fear turn us to hate, but rather let love move us to compassionate kindness.
March 28 update: We have registered 5 new cases each day, now we are at 30 cases. However this is bse we have one testing center with very little capacity. So the virus is silently spreading in the urban and village communities.
Our markets are closed, public transport banned and people have been asked to stay home. There is panic everywhere. Our people live from.hand to mouth, so we are already seeing starvation. Schools were closed and many girl children are down in villages at big risk of violence. We have also seen a rise in domestic crime.
But we need to sensitize people as many still think that the virus is a joke.