By Staff Reporter
Taurai Shumba (not real name) recalls many years ago when he saw his relatives and friends die from HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe.
He says, in the late 1980s and 1990s, people had no knowledge about what was then a new disease that was killing people in numbers, leaving a trail of destruction on families.
“It was not just violent in its effects of death,” recalls the man from Harare’s Kambuzuma suburb.
“The disease wasted and punished its victims. We had no knowledge about the disease, how to cure or prevent it then.
“All we knew was it was a disease that was originated by white people overseas in their laboratories or that came from animals,” he explains.
He says with the current COVID-19 situation he felt a sense of deja vu.
He told this publication that he has heard so many theories about the origins of the disease, and again that it has originated in a lab or animals and decried that this has already led to confusion in people.
Shumba’s portrayal of the situation highlights the danger that the world is facing today in light of the Covid-19 pandemic as the United States of America is seeking to push the so-called “origin tracing”, essentially meant to blame China for the pandemic.
The rationale is that because the disease was first officially detected in China, the country must bear blame and possibly civil damages for the disease that has lead to millions of deaths worldwide.
This sounds absurd from the start – because it is!
However, the US is so hellbent on fighting China that it is obsessing in absurdities.
The intention of the US is to win a propaganda war rather than fight the disease that has wreaked havoc across the globe.
The disease will eventually have a huge toll on developing nations, including Zimbabwe.
If the world kowtows to the whims of the US, focus will be on winning propaganda wars rather than stopping the disease.
The US has however demonstrated it will go to any length to fight those fighting the disease: it withdrew funding, pulled out of and sought to destroy the World Health Organisation for failing to blame China for the disease.
Deplorably this affects the whole world, and most vulnerable nations that rely on international support system suffer the most.
That should please the US, surely?
It is thus instructive that the wild should just ignore Uncle Sam and move on with the business of fighting the disease.
After all, US botched and mishandled its response, leading to 37 million infections and 667 000 deaths, at the time of writing.
It was former President Donald J Trump who set the country for failure as he responded to the pandemic badly before seeking to divert his failures by insisting on calling it the “China virus”.
Nobody really bought into this demagoguery.
Unfortunately, his successor has not done better, either by way of containing the disease or by desisting from unhelpful pursuit over the “origins” conspiracy.
Joe Biden has not done enough to reverse the harmful demagoguery and bad attitude of his predecessor towards a truly international solidarity and cooperation on fighting Covid-19.
The US has abdicated its duty to humanity, all because it cannot own up to it’s failures.
This is a crucial time – a perilous time – for humanity.
With the US surrendering global leadership in a rather petulant manner, China fills the gap.
China is leading both scientifically, as it develops vaccines that have accessible to many parts of the world, including Zimbabwe.
It is also assuming moral leadership, with President Xi making bold declarations (and actions) that vaccines should be available equitably to all countries of the world.
This contrasts sharply not just with the prevarication and lack of clarity by Western leaders, but also on the complete lack of morals that have seen the latter hoarding vaccines while countries in the developing world have none.
The world requires pragmatism now.
The behaviour by the US to advance conspiracies not only results in the crippling of international efforts, seen in the attempts to discredit WHO, but also stymie localised efforts to fight the disease.
The “lab leak” theory feeds into vaccine hesitancy and reluctance by poorly informed people.
It is part of the campaign of misinformation by the Devil himself, wishing to see people perish!
However, this should not detract efforts to take the disease head on.
Current efforts at the global scale, led by China, and local efforts in Zimbabwe signify determination to fight the disease.
Wirg the experience of the HIV and Aids horror, Zimbabwe should continue on the path of science and leadership by China.
That way, families will not be ravaged once again by disease when there is actually better tools and information to help them.