EDITORIAL: Covid-19 overshadows Independence Day, even in the south

Independence Day in Rwanda was, as usual, an uneventful day despite it being a public holiday but it will be marked jointly with Liberation Day a few days later on July 4.

For Rwanda’s twin sister to the south, Burundi, which also received independence from Belgium on the same day, it was quite a memorable day.


A few days after the burial of its former President Pierre Nkurunziza allegedly from Covid-19, the new president could not waste that opportunity to make his presence felt. And it was quite a grande entrance.


For a country that has been living in denial for months, the new president Evariste Ndayishimiye declared Covid-19 the country’s greatest enemy.


He decreed mass testing and severely warned those who failed to get tested despite showing symptoms equating them with sorcerers who wanted to poison everyone.

The winners of the day were Burundian people who saw the price of soap subsidized by 50 per cent and the late Nkurunziza’s son promoted to Lieutenant in the army and receiving state honours.

Back home the people were still reeling from the 101 new Covid-19 cases reported in a day. The only consolation was that 70 of them were in a detention centre with no means of spreading it outside their environment and ten of the 22 cases in Kigali were in areas already under lockdown.

But whatever the case, the virus is present in our midst but we can always bet on the fact that the government will do all in its powers to bring it under control. The random testing on the streets of Kigali that begins today is a declaration that no stone would be left unturned in dealing with the Coronavirus.


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