Ugandan Professor Mwambutsya Ndebesa has contested the patent rights which professor Patrick Engeu Ogwanga of Mbarara University of Science and Technology has applied for from the county’s registration bureau.
In a statement Mbwambutsya asserts:
According to the dictionary definition, to discover is to recognize something that already exists. On the other hand an invention is creating something totally new with ones original ideas. Both the discoverer and the inventor are entitled to intellectual property protection. But there is a difference in respect of the extent you can prevent others from using your discovery or invention.
Now has professor Ogwang of Mbarara University discovered or invented covidex. My take is that he has discovered not invented. The herbal medicine in covidex has been around and used for treatment for other ailments other than covid-19 by the indigenous communities in Uganda for ages.
Therefore professor Ogwang cannot patent the herbal tree and the contents therein. The herbal medicine is in the public domain. Anyone else can get the herb and make something similar and say call it covitex and start selling it. What professor Ogwang can do is apply for a trade mark to protect the word covidex, the symbol and logo on his bottle and the like but not the herbal tree and it’s contents because he did not invent this medicine. His ancestors who are not known and who may not even be his relatives did.
I will follow up this post with the case of Mwambutsya Ndebesa Vs Yoweri Museveni in the Mpekoni patent issue for further clarification in a subsequent post here. Otherwise the professors at Mbarara and Gulu are doing a commendable job that should be encouraged.
In a similar development, a Ugandan resident in Tanzania shares the pragmatic ways through which Tanzania has largely been able to fight COVID-19 without any lockdown, his view about Ugandan manufactured Covidex drug is also shared here.
“My view about Covidex is that it’s one of the best products manufactured in Africa for the benefit of the African population faced with a crisis. A similar cocktail of products were manufactured in Tanzania and used in the health system and homes in 2020 and up to now Tanzanians have not required mass hospitalisation, lockdowns and curfews!
The challenge is that some minds (African, European, American, Indian etc) are so colonised that they believe nothing works unless it has received approval on yardsticks that were set by their colonial masters.
It does not matter whether the same colonial masters or wazungu have actually pulled several of their own products from the shelf in their quest for better. To our mental enslaved minds it does not matter that Europe and America are going in and out of lockdowns and deaths for their own populations! No the muzungu has a better solution and we must swallow that prescription or we will perish! To such a mind, a Muzungu that buried his Uncle, mother and cousin to Covid has a better solution to Covid than a sister or neighbor that saved their own using a herbal remedy!
It does not matter to our people that German Chancellor said she will not be vaccinated by a particular type of vaccine. As long as it passes through some wazungu lab etc it must be better than what our own scientists produced.
Our own self-hate lies at the centre of the negative attitude towards homegrown solutions and embrace of anything made anywhere else but Africa. Our governments won’t finance African researchers but will spend time and money begging for handouts and /or purchasing “vaccines” they are not sure about because they have been manufactured abroad!”
Joseph Tumushabe is a Ugandan living and working in Dar es Salaam