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Minister Magyezi Directs Local Gov'ts to Close Markets Ignoring COVID-19 Directives

The Minister for Local Government Raphael Magyezi has directed Local Governments to close down all Markets not observing guidance on COVID-19.
Gulu Main Market in Larro Division visibly with very few people entering and coming out - Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 2

Local Government Minister for Raphael Magyezi has directed Local Governments to close down all Markets that are not observing the measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Magyezi issued the order during a press conference in which he announced guidelines for local Government's on the pandemic following President Yoweri Museveni’s address on Friday evening.

According to Magyezi, even in the markets, both the seller and the buyer need to observe social distancing and that all markets should have handwashing facilities. Magyezi tasked the local Government leaders to first advise the market vendors and dealers on the practices, and that if they continue violating it, the markets should be closed.

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He warned people in the markets from charging for handwashing. The Minister also called on people buying food in the markets not to use bodaboda's, but only send the bodaboda riders to purchase the products, warning that any motorcycle that will be found carrying people will be impounded.

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So far part of Kalerwe and Nakawa markets in Kampala have been closed for violating guidelines.

He says COVID -19 will be defeated at local Government level since the structures are strong right from the local council 1. He says, for instance, the local Governments have a role to play in the surveillance of border to ensure that no one comes in.

Magyezi called on local Government to only operate with essential staff and have others work from home, and also stated that the for civil works, they can continue working but stay home.

He says only district chairpersons and the Mayors are exempted from movement and work as they are the core of the districts but are also in the task force.

On the budget for local Government, Magyezi says that only the business committee will pass the local council budget, and the council will convene after COVID-19 to make approvals. He says all meetings of people beyond 5 should be stopped.

Uganda so far has 48 cases of COVID - 19. Coronavirus figures worldwide now stand at 1.1 million people affected and nearly 60,000 dead.