An astonishing event deserves special attention with the recent COVID19 pandemic. It is a case of academic fraud and dishonesty, whereby a University publishes a sensational title for political propaganda use. Makekere University published a strange paper claiming it has found the novel coronaviruses in Rwandan bats. Scientist worldwide will be laughing at the Uganda University in shock that during a pandemic, they opted to play propaganda tunes.
Claiming that one has found coronavirus in bats is not breaking news that will reward the university with any recognition. Bats are natural reservoirs of a number of coronaviruses; one would not win an award for making such a discovery. The study, conducted between 2010 and 2014, and published in 2019 was talking about SARS (SARS-CoV) and other coronaviruses that are usually found in bats. It was not talking about COVID19 (SARS-CoV-2) that is currently the focus of global efforts. Skillfully and deliberately, the University plays on words and misinforms with a sensational tweet.
Truth be told, the University is stating common knowledge for propaganda purposes. Coronaviruses can be found in bats in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, in Asia, and elsewhere. The University deliberately links its discovery with COVID19 to seed confusion and panic. As Rwandans do not eat or interact with bats, the spicy barrier is intact as in most places in the world. Diseases and viruses in bats stay in bats and do not cross to contaminate humans.
With their deliberate misinformation, it is obvious that the once-respected university is weaponizing the COVID19 pandemic against Rwanda. When they tweeted, “Earlier research by Makerere University detected Coronaviruses in Bats in Close Contact with Humans in Rwanda”, they want to insinuate that bats are giving Rwandans COVID-19. The insinuation is a pure lie, a rumormongering ploy to create panic. The source of COVID-19 has been established, its spread observed from Asia, to Europe to America and finally to Africa.
By lending the name “Makerere” to this pseudo research, republished for propaganda purposes, the University endorses the anti-Rwanda hate speech enclosed. Their timing in announcing that Rwandan bats have the Coronavirus as the world fight the COVID-19 pandemic indicates a calculated move to tarnish Rwanda. The hostile move is mainly due to the rampant corruption that now defines Makerere University. Some individuals in Makerere – where corruption, bribery and all kinds of malpractice have long become the norm in the Museveni era – are now obviously participants in the anti-Rwanda propaganda games. The motive is clear, why else would anyone release such a misleading “research” now?
Not so long ago, we saw a COVID-19 miracle cure announced by the Ugandan President and the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament. They promised that in two weeks they will have the cure ready to kill COVID19 and any other viruses, something that no one has managed to claim so far. If Makerere University is seeking to be recognized as a Coronavirus center of knowledge, they should research and publish the miracle cure on COVID-19. Republishing old papers and deliberately confusing readers turns the whole university into a center of misinformation; academically, they cannot possibly fall lower.