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Boat Operators Abandon Work Leaving Thousands Stuck on Islands

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Mukiibi Sserunjogi, a 30 passenger boat operator from Katosi landing site to Ddamba island in Koome sub county Mukono district, says many people are stranded on the islands and lack money to return to their homes.
Boats at Katosi landing site Mukono district.

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Thousands of people are still stuck on islands inside Lake Victoria in Mukono and Buvuma districts because of the suspension of passenger boat operations. 

Those mainly stranded are those on islands that are not served by ferries such as Lyabaana, Lubya, and Lwajje Sub counties in Buvuma district and Koome islands in Mukono district.  

Passenger boat operators decided to spend work, saying they are unable to raise the money for fuel because of the number of travelers recommended by government due to the corona pandemic. 

Because of the pandemic the Transport and Works Ministry directed water vessel operators to start maintaining a social distance of four meters as recommended by the Health Ministry.  

 

This implies that a boat which has been carrying 30 people is only allowed to carry three passengers while the large passenger boat locally known as ‘ekinaala’, which has been carrying 80 passengers, is only allowed to carry 10 people.  

Mukiibi Sserunjogi, a 30 passenger boat operator from Katosi landing site to Ddamba island in Koome sub county Mukono district, says many people are stranded on the islands and lack money to return to their homes. 

He says majority of the travelers had gone to the islands to work, but they can’t risk losing their boat engines for carrying more than three passengers. 

    

//Cue in: “Ensobi wayagidde nti…

Cue out: …banaku tebalina sente”// 

 

Mike Ssentongo operates on the Katosi-Lyabaana route in Buvuma district. According to Ssentongo, he uses 120 liters of fuel while going and returning back. 

Previously he used to charge Shillings 5, 000 when carrying about 90 passengers. 

However, because of the current regulations where is he restricted from carrying not more than 10 passengers to balance the cost of fuel, he can charge each passenger Shillings 45, 000.   

//Cue in: “Kati siyinza kuvuga…

Cue out: …olw’ embeera okunyiga”//

Asuman Wasswa, one of the affected travelers, notes that despite the emergence, government should have warned them.    

//Cue in: “Twasanyaladde ebizinga…

Cue out: …okwetetenkanya naddayo”// 

Fred Gonja, the Secretary Katosi Landing Site Committee wonders about the overwhelming number of passenger boats docked at the landing site. 

He says they have petitioned the Works Ministry about the people stuck on the islands and they have promised to respond.