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Katakwi Residents Drinking from Bushes to Beat COVID-19 Restrictions

Several bars in Soroti, the major town in the region and trading centres in other rural communities have been decongested after the authorities discontinued drinking in groups. Ajon, also known as Malwa, is used to celebrate social, cultural and traditional functions in Teso.
Residents Drnking Ajon in the Bush [Courtesy Photo].

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Katakwi District is fighting another battle with residents who have resorted to drinking local brew, popularly known as Ajon in the bushes. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease – COVID-19, drinking of Ajon, a common brew that draws families, friends and other people together has been banned in Teso.  

Several bars in Soroti, the major town in the region and trading centres in other rural communities have been decongested after the authorities discontinued drinking in groups. Ajon, also known as Malwa, is used to celebrate social, cultural and traditional functions in Teso.  

Katakwi District Chairperson Walter Elakas says that people have now taken bars to the bushes where they drink without observing physical distancing guidelines, and continue to share drinking tubes.  

According to Elakas, while Ajon is an economic activity for brewers, the addiction is risking lives of people in case of any COVID-19 positives among the participants.   

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East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman David Ongom Mudong says that they identified some of the areas where people go hiding to drink not only Ajon but beer and waragi.  

“We have arrested some of these people but since it’s a culture here, others continue to brave through to drink in groups. As police we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of the people in this health threat”, Mudong said.  

Gladys Amuge, a brewer in Pamba Ward, Soroti Municipality says she encourages her customers to buy Ajon and take it home. URN has learnt that whereas drinking in groups has ceased in the open, some people now lock themselves in houses where they drink in groups of three to eight people.  

Richard Omer, a resident of Mutukula Village in Pamba wants brewers arrested to stop people from drinking in bushes.