ONE STEP FROWARD, TWO STEPS BACK

By the Editor

One Step Forward Two Steps BackIt is almost two years ago that the world was hit by a mysterious virus, which caused COVID-19 pandemic. There was no treatment and no vaccines at the time. Yet it was spreading like wildfire and killing people by the thousands. Thanks to the human resolve, the power of science and technology, within a year, several vaccines were produced. Talks of mass vaccination and the prospect of developing herd immunity filled the airwaves. Unfortunately, this monumental step was met by counter steps: shortage and uneven availability/distribution of vaccines, and resistance by anti-vaxxers and hesitant individuals. Additionally, the effect of vaccination was blunted by virus mutants, notably the delta variant which spreads faster than the original virus. Luckily, variants are also susceptible to the available vaccines. Moreover, treatment drugs are also becoming available. Therefore, it is hopeful that the pandemic might soon come to an end. However, it is probable that the virus will become endemic. Then bang, the omicron variant popped out throwing the march towards containing the coronavirus into a reverse gear.

Meanwhile, in the last 250 years, many countries all over the world fought against colonialism and won their political independence. In Africa, shortly after independence in the late 1960s and 1970s, it was fashionable to overthrow governments by coup d’état. However, for a while, coup d’état seemed to have fallen out of favor. But in the last 15 months, there have been 5 coups (Mali, Chad, Guinea, and Sudan) with Mali having it twice, indicating that it is coming back. Besides coups, many African countries including Libya, Nigeria, Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, DRC, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Cameroon, have some form political turmoil. Adding to these problems is the Islamic State which  is trying to get at western countries by attacking them in the periphery where they are allied with weak African states.

No wonder some people wonder if Africa has a future and doom Sayers are now predicting an imminent descent of African countries into the realm of failed states. However, optimists view the current setbacks as part of the inevitable ups and downs of the struggle for social transformation. O. Nyormoi discusses the problem of using false comparison to explain the situation in Africa. In his article, Dr. Mesfin Genanaw reviews the challenges of African development and the way forward.

At the individual level, it is common for people and organizations to have disputes over various issues needing resolution. To help readers make better choices, two Ugandan lawyers discuss two options for resolving disputes. Though they used Uganda as an example, the idea can be applied in other places as well.

In the rest of the world, strange things have been happening in the last 20 years. In Europe and north America, notably the USA,  unequal distribution of wealth and violence are fueling human migration. South Americans are marching northward. Middle easterners and Africans are migrating to Europe. These migrations in turn are fueling nationalism and anti-immigration. Jonathan Power draws the readers’ attention to yet another immigration crisis at the border between Belarus and Poland. Human migration has unfortunately become weaponized for scoring political points.

In forming United Nations and colonized nations becoming politically independent, the world took one step forward. However, by retreating to extreme nationalism and engaging in violence to solve national and international problems, the world is taking two steps back.

On this note, the editorial staff wishes everybody happy holidays.