Hours after the travel ban came to effect, there has been the heavy deployment of armed police officers and Uganda People’s Defence Forces soldiers (UPDF) and the erection of roadblocks at various district boundaries across the country.
Security has been heightened at district boundaries across the
country following the ban on inter-district travel.
On Sunday, President Museveni ordered the suspension of inter-district public
transport for 42 days effective Friday, except for Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso
districts as one of the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Uganda is
currently experiencing the second wave of a deadly strain of covid-19 that has
already left dozens dead with hundreds of daily infections being registered
across several districts.
Hours after the travel ban came to effect, there has been the heavy deployment
of armed police officers and Uganda People’s Defence Forces soldiers (UPDF) and
the erection of roadblocks at various district boundaries across the country.
In Kitgum District, all entry and exit points in Lagoro sub-county that
connects to Agago District, Labongo Akwang and Mucwini sub-counties that connect
to Lamwo district and Corner Alango leading to Pader District were under heavy
deployment. Another entry point under security watch is Orom sub-county that connects
Kitgum District to Karenga District in the Karamoja region.
William Komakech, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner says that they are
maintaining a keen watch at the entry and exit points to ensure compliance with
“We have done deployment in all our district boundaries to ensure maximum
compliance, we haven’t yet had an incident of people disregarding the
directives since implementation started this morning,” he said.
In Masaka District and the neighbouring districts of Kalungu, Lwengo,
Bukomansimbi, and Kyotera, metallic spike barricades were erected hours after a
regional security meeting held to kick off enforcement of the ban.
Fred Bamwine, the Masaka City Resident Commissioner and Chairperson of the regional
covid-19 taskforce say they resolved to get tough on enforcing the guidelines
issued by President Museveni.
He says that besides stopping inter-district movements, the security teams have
also been instructed to get harsh on persons who won’t adhere to the standard
Bamwine says security personnel will at some point cane those not
adhering to SOPs.
//Cue in: “ky’anaku nti….
Cue out; …..bitandika olwaleero”//
In Luwero District, the Police have increased vigilance and
deployment on feeder roads owing to reports that some passengers were being
sneaked through feeder routes to evade the main checkpoints.
Joseph Abainemugisha, the Officer in Charge of Bombo Police Station says they
have deployed in some feeder roads to arrest and impound cars that may attempt
to bypass the main check-up points along the highway.
Abainemugisha added that several cars which are not within essential categories
have been blocked and drivers ordered to return.
// Cue in: “And others…
In Jinja district, the new bridge, old bridge, and Queens bridge were all
closed by Friday morning.
Access was only being granted to patients, expectant
mothers, and essential employees with valid work identity cards residing in neighbouring
Buikwe and Kayunga districts.
Within Jinja City, there was also a heavy presence of the military
police deployed around the main roundabout.
The situation isn’t any different in Lira and Mbale Districts. For instance, in
Lira, Traffic officers accompanied by armed anti-riot police officers were deployed
at the border of Lira and Kole district that connects to other districts of
Oyam and Gulu in the Acholi sub-region. All vehicles at these points were
subjected to a thorough search.
In Mbale district, public commuter taxis were not being allowed to travel
beyond Kacumbala Bridge on Mbale-Soroti road and across Namatala Bridge between
Mbale and Budaka district.
On the Mbale -Tororo road, public commuter taxis were stopped from
going beyond Bwaboba sub-county which borders Mbale and Tororo district.
Elgon Region Police Spokesperson, Rogers Taitika, says they have bolstered the
manpower to ensure compliance with the directives issued by the President.
The inter-district travel ban has, however, left businesses at
Taxi and bus terminals across the country deserted as drivers, taxi touts, and
passengers feel a heavy burden of the directive.
Most bus and taxi terminals visited by URN reporters this morning
were deserted as transport operators adhere to the directives except for a few
taxis with transport routes within the district were left to operation.
Dennis Byantuyo, a resident of Budaka Town Council says he has failed to reach
his workplace in Mbale because he couldn’t access a public taxi.
Charles Okot Oluku, a taxi tout at Kitgum Main Bus Park says his earning has
fallen drastically since the travel ban came into effect. He says few
passengers are showing up at the taxi park fearing high transport fares and
inability to connect to other districts beyond Kitgum.
//Cue in: “peko ma dong…
Cue out:…woto ki tyen.”//
In Kabale, the police
erected roadblocks at Rwakaraba along Kabale-Kisoro and Kabale Bunyonyi roads
and Nyakijumba along the Kabale Mbarara-highway.
Another roadblock was
also at Habufureeka in Kaharo Sub County at the border of Kabale and Rukiga
district along, Kabale –Mbarara Highway.
Kennedy Ssebagala, the
Acting Kabale District Police Commander says that the roadblocks will remain in place to prevent inter-district movement as a preventive
measure against the covid-19 spread.
In Soroti city, the police have been accused of using the directives to extort
money from unsuspecting drivers and motorists in the guise of implementing the
inter-district travel ban.
Richard Apunyo, one of the drivers from Kagawara in Serere District alleges
that he paid 100,000 Shillings to Police officers to secure his release after he
was intercepted while transporting a patient and another passenger to Soroti
// cue in “Atubuna eong konye…
Cue out…lu itijiete eong”//
In Bududa, Manafwa and Namisimdwa Boda Boda cyclists are using porous
routes to transport passengers.
Some Motorists who spoke to our reporter and preferred anonymity
note that they will take care of their families because their daily income will
Peter Mutambo a passenger said police should leave the Boda-boda cyclists to
work for as long as they adhere to the standard operating procedures.
Gerald Mugisha the OC Station Bududa said they are going to mount
an operation and if found the cyclists shall be arrested instead.
Kirinya Ayubu is the URN Bureau Chief of Elgon/Bukedi Sub Regions . He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda and a Diploma in Computer Science and Information Technology from the same University.