BY PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| As the COVID 19 pandemic continues to surge creating untold mayhem, the Uganda police has announced new strict measures to enforce the COVID 19 guidelines.
This comes at a time when many Ugandans, especially those living in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and Entebbe are so relaxed about the dangers of COVID 19. A mini-survey in Kampala suburbs of Najjera, Naalya, Namugongo, Ggaba, Luzira, Mutungo, Bbunga, Nansana, Najjanakumbi, Entebbe, Busega, Natete, Rubaga, Kireka, Ntinda and Bukoto unearthed that the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health as well as the Presidential directives on wearing of face masks, social distancing hand washing and sanitizing have since been abandoned.
The churches that has strict guidelines to host only 70 Christians have since violated these guidelines allowing scores of multitude of the congregation, many with no set requirements in place. Majority in our findings have instead “bribed” OC s in nearby police stations who deploy policemen in uniform to guard the entrance of churches.
Most of the churches that we visited this Sunday, that we shall not name here flouted the SOPs issued by the President, Ministry of Health and the Inter-religious Council prior to their opening.
Much as the President in his last address made it clear that no bars would open at the moment, many suburbs named above have bars operating in the full view of the police around. Some of the bar owners we talked too openly said no police can arrest or block them from opening. “You mean those police officers don’t want money to survive? We are open, we also need to make money ahead of Christmas. We are open because we reached a deal to pay the OCs some agreed money monthly, “boasted one Bar owner in Kitintale.
A visit at Portbell, KK Beach Ggaba, Coco Beach and Floating Islands revealed that it’s business as normal with no handwashing, no face masks, and no social distancing at all.
Police come in
But starting tomorrow, after the arrest of 21 ladies enjoying a sex party in Kireka at the weekend, police now seems determined to enforce the COVID SOPs.
Starting tomorrow Tuesday, October 13 2020, police will mount roadblocks in leading roads leading into Kampala to enforce the rules and regulations.
Speaking at the Joint Security briefing at the Uganda Media Centre on Monday afternoon, Fred Enanga, the Police spokesperson said they have realized members of the pubic are no longer adhering to the Standard Operating Procedures put in place by government, noting that it is high time security got tough.
“We have realized most of the people are not adhering to the guidelines. Motorists and businesses are not respecting the 9pm curfew time. Boda boda riders are not respecting the 6pm time. Motorists are carrying passengers in a reckless manner. Curfew starts at 9pm but you find shops and other businesses still open past this time,”Enanga said.
With effect from tomorrow Tuesday, the checkpoints and barriers we had in the outskirts of Kampala and major highways will be manned afresh. We are going to ensure they are active during day and night so as to intensify the enforcement of Covid guidelines.”
Following the lifting of the lockdown, security removed all roadblocks from various roads leading to the city centre but according to Enanga, the grace period by security has been abused by the public.
The police spokesperson explained that for the past months, they had decided to use “a holistic” approach by sensitizing and letting people use common sense to guard themselves against the spread of the virus but he noted this has not happened, considering the increasing cases of Coronavirus in the country.
“Some sectors like bars have been stealthily operating despite being closed but now we will look at the level of compliance of all the sectors to the COVID SOPs. All territorial commanders have been instructed by the Inspector General of Police to reinvigorate and intensify the enforcement mechanism on COVID-19,” Enanga said.
The police publicist warned that commanders who fail to implement the directive by the Inspector General of Police on enforcement of Coronavirus guidelines risk facing the Police disciplinary court.
Uganda has 9081 confirmed Coronavirus cases and 6109 of these have successfully recovered and discharged from various hospitals around the country and 93 have died since the first case was registered in March 2020.