First son apologises for attacking New Vision in anti-Rwanda rant

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First son Muhoozi Kainerugaba

First son Muhoozi Kainerugaba has stirred social media over a tweet that seems to be against the neighbouring Rwanda.

The New Vision carried a story written by AFP news agency saying: “Rwanda went into a shutdown on Sunday, imposing some of the strictest coronavirus measures in Africa where infections are rising fast and hospitals ill-equipped to cope.”

Replying to the tweet, the Presidential advisor on Special Operations went into a rage: “But who is in charge of this @newvisionwire? Is this a government asset or what??”

He went on: “How dare they praise another state before our great Ugandan state? Uganda is the greatest country in Africa period!! In all things. Nobody else can compare!!!”

Victoria University

Not knowing how to interpret his reaction, Ugandans decided to give him a piece of their mind.

Inganji Karinga @Godshemas: Let the media do its work. Do not influence or dictate what should or should not be reported. Plz mind your business!

Muhoozi Kainerugaba: I’m minding my business by protecting my country.

He has since apologised for the rant.

“Today, a lot of my close friends in the media have been angry with me for yesterday’s tweet. First of all, I didn’t mean it as an attack on @newvisionwire,” he said on Monday morning.

He added: “If they misunderstood me, I’m sorry. But please do not provoke Patriotic Ugandans. Uganda is always No.1!!”

The story

After lagging behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, Africa has seen a sudden rise in cases over recent days.

Rwanda went into a shutdown on Sunday, imposing some of the strictest coronavirus measures in Africa where infections are rising fast and hospitals ill-equipped to cope.

The central African nation banned all “unnecessary movements”, mirroring steps by governments from the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius to Burkina Faso on the fringes of the Sahara who have banned public gatherings, shuttered schools, churches, mosques and bars and closed their airports.

After lagging behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, Africa has seen a sudden rise in cases over recent days.

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday reported its first death from COVID-19, taking the sub-Saharan African toll to six after Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mauritius previously reported fatalities.

Eritrea, Uganda and Angola have joined the growing list of African nations to confirm their first cases, while Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mauritius announced more cases Sunday.

The continent has now reported more than 1,100 infections — more than 1,000 of them in sub-Saharan Africa — as the World Health Organization expresses concern that poor sanitation, urban crowding and the lack of intensive-care units, equipment and trained staff could hamper any response.

Ethiopia on Sunday received delivery of 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million facemasks and 60,000 protective suits donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, critical equipment to be distributed across Africa.

 Continental problem

African countries have so far lost an estimated $29 billion to the coronavirus economic disruption, an amount equal to Uganda’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to UN estimates.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has in its latest report predicted that coronavirus will shave 1.4 per cent off Africa’s $2.1 trillion GDP, owing to widespread disruption of business on the continent and across the world.

The report projects that the continent’s annual economic growth is likely to drop from 3.2 per cent in February to 1.8 per cent in March, warning that it could worsen in the coming months as more countries report coronavirus infections within their borders.

“Africa may lose half of its gross domestic product with growth falling due to a number of reasons which include the disruption of global supply chains,” said the ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, in a statement.

Uganda’s GDP was estimated at about $28.5 billion as at the end of last year, indicating that the estimated losses so far are equivalent to the country’s annual production.

Thirty-six of Africa’s 54 countries have confirmed more than 700 coronavirus positive cases, while globally over 200,000 people have been infected with Covid-19, resulting in over 9,000 deaths as at Friday, March 20.

In West Africa, the outbreak has resurrected memories of the 2014 Ebola outbreak that left more than 11,000 dead.

Despite fears over the virus, Guineans went to the polls Sunday to vote in a divisive referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution that has sparked months of protests. 

In neighbouring Senegal, which has almost 60 confirmed infections, the government said Saturday it would show “no tolerance” for those found breaking restrictions — including a ban on public prayers in mosques put in place to combat the pandemic.

On Friday, Zimbabwe announced its first COVID-19 case at Victoria Falls, a resort town. That was followed on Saturday by news of the first case in the capital Harare.

In South Africa — the continent’s largest economy — Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said last week that infections “ultimately can affect up to 60 percent of the population.”

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