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PAMELA ANKUNDA: Death by social media

Pamela Ankunda is the team leader at APT Communications (PHOTO /Courtesy)

Pamela Ankunda is the team leader at APT Communications (PHOTO /Courtesy)

Mid this week, we heard of the 58 deaths in one day which is sad statistic and is shadowed a lot of god things. I repeat, every death is sad, and for me personally, it is made worse, because two of those were close. But let’s shine a candle in the dark world. There were over 1600 recoveries in a week! 1600+!!

As usual, I start with celebrating the medical workers in every corner of our country, the unsung heroes in the COVID-19 fight. Dr. Mary Lilian, President of medical interns posted a celebratory note of Dr. Mulungi Jonathan of Masaka regional hospital, where one of the COVID patients got a cardiac arrest 3 times and he-Dr. Jonathan did CPR for each of those 3 times, keeping the patent alive. Bless you doctor! Cheekily, someone asked if the good doctor was still single. I hope he reads this.

The Teso Parliamentary Caucus met with the staff of Soroti hospital to appreciate their services and boost their morale. Well on, TPG! It was in that very hospital that the Siamese twins-one dead, and one alive were separated, and just as recent, Dr Annet helped deliver a baby girl from a COVID-19 mother. So many little stories of miraculous goodness from different doctors come alive, but on social media, there are so many –as mzee kajabago Karusoke once said, “brain dead” netizens who simply occupy space.

To know them, hear them: They announced the President’s death, a day before he presided over the world health summit in Munyonyo, then quickly pronounced the death of Lt. Gen Muhoozi, of business man BMK, Dr.Kigundu, and a host of other people, prompting some, like the owner of Baguma Restaurant and Hon Fred Ruhindi to come out and say “no, we are not dead”.

Commenting on this, Robert Kabushenga counseled “do not announce a death unless it is yours or your loved one. Let people process their grief. There is no gain in rushing to break news, especially of death…”
Our new Attorney General (also chairman of table topping Football giants-Express FC) Kiryowa Kiwanuka posted a quote from Mike Tyson-“social media made y’all too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it…”, to which Grace Aine responded with Albert Einstein’s quote “I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity, the world will only have a generation of idiots….”

You probably had heard that there was a ship docking at Malaba awaiting to deal with our internal elections. “Emeeri” talk, useless as it was occupied our airwaves, our screens and we laughed it off like we normally do, but this only shows you how hoax hoarders are closer and closer to the spaces our children are enjoying, how fake news puts mortar onto the communities we share, tearing our social fabric through defamatory jokes, unchallenged lies. Note, someone said the “emeeri” joke was finding light heartedness and laughter in the silly things of life.

Okay, maybe it was a good joke-a ship docking where there was no water. But what do we make of similar spaces they’ve occupied before with the endless falsities about the (non) existence of COVID-19, quickly turning the talk into COVID-19 being used as a tool to rig elections, then- a tool to curb democracy in Uganda and, the President’s addresses to the population-misconstrued as a campaign gimmick? The Jacks of this world, who, like the antagonist that Jack is in the Lord of the flies, survive on disruption of order and clarity, made happier by chaos, as if COVID-19 itself, ain’t bad enough!

We need to start believing in verified information. That’s the only choice. Let’s ignore people who seek fame without shame, those who seek to gain fortune with no fort. Those-who, on a daily basis-hoard fake news, those who have made lies and garbage their tirade.

If you share a passion for optimism, keep the assurance that we will heal if we do the right things. If your mask is a disposable one, please don’t use and re-use. If it is washable, please wash it. If in shared public spaces, be mindful of everyone else around you.

Lastly, let’s not kill the fighting spirit as we advance more in the fight against spreading the virus. Equally, I beseech you to give fake news and alerts a wide berth. Avoid death by social media. In your own individual way, be a myth buster, be the driver of hope in this passenging world, be a truth seeker, a truth teller, and above all, be the African COVID-19 champion.

Pamela Ankunda is a team leader at APT Communications.
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About APT: APT Communications is a private communications firm that deals in integrated communications solutions of PR, Marketing, Media management, Digital and new media management among others.

Follow APT on @APTcoms

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