At least lockdowns of most of these countries have enabled the leaders to have a better and more powerful grip and control of the societies over which they exercise their authority.
In the first instance, it has given them ‘legitimate’ reason to crack down on the work and organisational capacity of the Opposition, given the obvious restrictions on gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This has made it extremely difficult for the Opposition to operate within these circumstances, often facing the wrath of the State machinery.
To their advantage, these leaders have had a one-man show by being exclusively covered by mass media, especially regarding announcement of measures and guidelines, and to take all the political credit for the fight against the deadly pandemic.
I must confess that I have never seen almost every citizen of Uganda, for instance, pay utmost attention to President Museveni’s addresses the way they have under this crisis. I believe he feels more President than he has ever been.
With the lockdown that has resulted in loss of employment and the closure of businesses for many people, survival has become very real. Therefore, the question of access to food is indispensable and the distribution of food rations has become an exclusive preserve of these powerful leaders, making them look like guardian angels.