GOVERNANCE activist Rueben Lifuka has bemoaned the reckless manner in which politicians and citizens are handling the COVID-19 pandemic by continuously organising super spreader events.

And Lifuka has recounted the COVID-19-induced depression which he experienced whilst in isolation.

In a Facebook posting, Tuesday, Lifuka warned against taking the pandemic casually saying the consequences would be too ghastly to contemplate.

“…the impact of this pandemic has not even begun to take effect and we have to stop taking it too casual. The consequences of our politicized and reckless response will be too ghastly to contemplate,” he stated.

“I reflected on the recklessness of politicians who see nothing wrong in gathering their supporters in super spreader events. These politicians seemingly do not regard the well-being of their supporters as long as they can achieve their political ends. The same can be said about those who throw caution to the wind and organise massive matebetos or chilanga mulilos- of course when people have imbibed some fermented water- they forgot about masks and social distancing.”

He also bemoaned the haphazard manner in which government is handling the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Another issue that preoccupied my mind was the rather haphazard response to COVID-19 in our country. Yes I acknowledge that under very difficult circumstances, our frontline staff are doing their best but there is a lot more that Government can do to ensure that we are well coordinated and effective in our response. There is no justification for the many disjointed activities and for the loss of vital COVID-19 donations. We have not sufficiently dealt with this pandemic as a present and constant danger to our existence,” Lifuka stated.

And describing his experience, Lifuka highlighted that anxiety had crept in but his wife and family was on hand to help him through the tough moments.

“On 5 January 2021, I routinely did a COVID-19 test and it came out positive. This was third test done since the pandemic broke out and my previous two were negative. I went into self-isolation from 8 January until 23 January. I had mild symptoms and managed this from home. My reflection during that period is that fear and anxiety leads to further lowering of one’s immunity. A lot of thoughts ran through my mind – sleep was difficult particularly that nearly every day, I received news of someone I know or was related to, passing away from COVID-19. Yes, you are told to be positive but it takes a lot of mental strength and a strong support system to achieve this. My wife and children were my pillars of strength in this difficult period. My wife took on the extra burden of counselling me and praying for me in my darkest moments when I certainly felt depressed with everything happening around me. My cousins Dr. Mwaba Kasese Bota, Morgan Mulenga, my sisters and brother were constantly on the phone encouraging me, and many friends came through for me,” he stated.

“My parish community led by Fr Sydney Musonda- kept me in prayers and constantly checked on me. My TI Zambia family equally did their best in boosting up my energy levels- of course by not sharing with me the new corruption scandals which seems to be our staple food in this country. We take human contact for granted but being in isolation for 14 days amplifies the simple fact that we are social beings and need people around us.”

He added that during reflection, he realised that the anxiety was caused by fear of the many tasks he was yet to achieve and not due to fear of death.

“I did reflect a lot on the question -“why am I afraid and anxious?” I came to the conclusion that I was not necessarily afraid of dying because this is something inevitable when its time has come, but I was afraid because of the many tasks and goals that I have not yet attained. Yes my faith was tested but I realized how helpless we are without God’s hand on our lives. I thought of those who were even in worse condition than myself in the hospital- and prayed for them instead,” stated Lifuka.

“I also realized in that moment the folly of procrastinating on some key dreams. I further concluded that quite often we live in the future and are never in the present moment. We fail to practice “mindfulness” – being in the present and fully engaged. We are always thinking of what to do in the future but do not enjoy today which God has generously given us. But most importantly, it dawned on me that at times we even postpone forgiveness and reconciliation- we imagine that we will have time in the future to forgive those who have offended us. We will show love in our own time. We convince ourselves – there is time to forgive our relatives, time to build bridges etc. Brethren, you cannot postpone doing good…At a personal level- my motto is to celebrate each day and do the best I can today. Thankfully around 20 January I did the second test which confirmed my negative status. Oh by the way, my face looks a lot lighter because of all the steaming- I do not need Jaribu after all to be an “American”.”