Joseph Kato working at private construction company in Ishaka municipality Bushenyi District says he decided to return to his home in Hima, Kasese District because he was not sure of getting food that would sustaining him throughout the lock-down.
A number of people are abandoning
urban life and slowly settling into villages, as a result of inactivity that
came with the COVID-19 lockdown. In Kasese district, the number of settlers is swelling,
as day by day, more people are arriving after trekking hundreds of kilometres
to get home.
Several Ugandans have lost jobs,
while those in self-employment have also remained redundant since the
declaration of a lockdown enforced as part of the measures to control the
spread of the novel coronavirus disease. Uganda has so far registered 52 cases of the virus,
which has also affected more than 1 million people across the world.
As shops remain closed, companies
working at a small scale, and public transport suspended, a number of urban
residents are struggling to make ends meet, with nothing to eat and no money to
clear their bills. They are desperately abandoning the life they were so
accustomed to, to return to the village.
Joseph Kato, an employee of a private
a construction company in Ishaka Municipality, Bushenyi District says he decided
to return to his home in Hima, Kasese District because he was not sure of
getting food that would sustain him throughout the lockdown.
Kato who spent three days on the
road, walking to meet his family, says the company had not paid their salaries
for the month of March, by the time, the lockdown was announced.
//Cue in; “Mbera ya kutambula…
Cue out...nga obezayo obulamu.”//
John Tumwesige, who was working
with a milling company in Rwimi, Bunyangabu District walked all the way to Rubirizi
District after the factory laid off some workers to comply with a directive to
maintain only its essential staff on the site.
For four days, Tumwesige was on
the road walking, with the hope than at his father’s home, he would access
food and shelter.
//Cue in; “Nyowe nindug Hima…
Cue out...nachera ndiyo
Umar Rwasanga, a fuel attendant
in Rugendabara, notes that his boss reduced their staff after registering low
business following the suspension of public transport. Although they received
some package, he was worried that the little money couldn’t help him survive
throughout the 14 days at his place.
Vincent Namanya who trekked over
25 kilometres from Bunyangabu District to Kasese says he choose to travel back
home so that he can share the little money he has left with his family.
Enid Mbabazi, a breastfeeding
mother walked from Hima to Kasese town after her boss closed his retail shop. Mbabazi
who was entitled to meals at her job was left with no option but to return home.
//Cue in; “That’s why am
Cue out…disease to disappear.”//
This movement also comes in a
time when the president’s efforts are geared towards eliminating person to
person movement as a measure in control of the spread of coronavirus.