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Task Force in Tooro Struggling to Implement Covid-19 Directives

The task forces in Tooro say there are business operators especially bar and shop owners who are still operating in hiding which is undermining their efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
A man found drinking alcohol from a cup in Busoro Sub County on Monday. A team of joint security forces later took him to Fort Portal Police Station to explain where he had bought the alcohol from.

Audio 1

The COVID-19 Task Force in the different districts of Tooro is struggling to enforce the presidential directives on covid-19.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, President Yoweri Museveni issued several directives aimed at preventing the spread. These include the closure of bars, shops, night clubs, and markets except for those dealing in foodstuffs.   

The public was also encouraged to ensure social distancing, avoid gatherings of more than five people and practice regular hand washing.   

However, the task forces in Tooro say that some business operators especially bar and shop owners are secretly operating, which is undermining their efforts to prevent the spread of the disease. 

The Kabarole Deputy Resident District Commissioner Festus Bandeeba says some bar owners open the behind doors and start serving their customers especially in villages where foot patrols by security personnel are insufficient. 

Bandeeba says that instead of devoting their time to responding to alert cases and sensitizing the public on how to avoid contracting the virus, they are now being forced to engage in the tedious and fuel-consuming movements to apprehend the culprits.

According to Bandeeba, they have decided to deploy joint security forces in each of the 20 Sub Counties and Town Councils in the district to ensure compliance with the directives.   

In Kyenjojo, the LCV Chairperson, William Kaija, says that most residents are not observing social distancing. Kaija also notes that Boda Boda riders, especially in villages, are still carrying passengers. 

“We have done sensitization on radios but some people are not listening. They are not observing the president’s directives and guidelines by the Ministry of Health. The problem is that we cannot be everywhere all the time to enforce compliance,” Kaija says. 

Geoffrey Mucunguzi, the Kamwenge Resident District Commissioner, says that some bar and shop owners connive with public members to get information on patrolling by security forces.   

“When the police come, they are quickly told and they close. When police go, they again open.” Mucunguzi says.   He adds that even though they have tried to engage leaders right from the village level, noncompliance with the directives is still existent because some leaders fear to be harsh to their electorate which can cost them their seats during elections.   

In Ntoroko, the RDC Elijah Biryabarema says they have stopped fishing on all water bodies in the district and heavily deployed at the district’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo as preventive measures.   

He, however, says that bar owners are still finding ways of remaining operational and these include closing themselves and their customers inside the bars.

The Rwenzori West Region Police Spokesperson, Vincent Twesige, says that they have received information on shopkeepers and bartenders that are defying the directives and have already arrested some.  

//Cue in: “Tukozere operations na…

Cue out… bali mumaju gaabo.”//  

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uganda last month, 52 people have tested positive and are receiving treatment. However, no death has been recorded in the country, though the same disease has killed over 76,000 people from different parts of the world.