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Kitgum Residents Not Observing Covid-19 Directives

Members of the task force say several residents within the municipality and sub county are clandestinely operating bars, gathering in drinking places, organizing discos, carrying passengers on motorcycles and overcrowding in public places.
Locals queue to gain access to kitgum general hospital in kitgum municipality withouth observing social distance. photo by julius ocungi
Kitgum District Corona Virus Taskforce members have faulted a section of residents in the district for failing to adhere to government directives that seek to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.

Members of the task force say several residents within the municipality and Sub County are clandestinely operating bars, gathering in drinking places, organizing discos, carrying passengers on motorcycles and overcrowding in public places.

Pastor Charles Latigo from the Seventh Day Adventist Church says most of the residents became reluctant to adhere to the directives after security personnel “relaxed” their methods of operation.

He says to that effect; many are now locking themselves in bars where they drink at will in groups adding that such practices cripple their efforts towards reducing the spread of the deadly disease.

Pastor Latigo says security personnel shouldn’t relax citing that it will create confidence among the locals to continue gathering and drinking.

Robert Babu, the vice-chairperson surveillance subcommittee notes that their visits to several areas especially markets within the district indicates people have failed to observe social distancing.

He highlights the affected areas as corner Alango, Labuje, Mula-Mula, Ocetoki and cuk Pa Ben were traders and locals are still not paying attention to directives on public gathering.

Babu called for the tough intervention of the district leaders and security personnel to avert the anomaly which is putting the lives of people at risk.

Walter Livings Tooroma, Kitgum municipality mayor has called on security personnel to “administratively” punish those not adhering to the directives to act as lessons to others.

He says ever since the army sent a strong warning to its personnel against harassing residents coupled with the president’s clarification on curfew, locals have become reluctant to respect local authorities.

“I believe our security personnel should employ some administrative punishment for those found on crossroads with the directives on operating bars, gathering in groups and staying out late. This will create fear and help us in managing the spread of the disease,” he says.

Kitgum District Chairperson, Jackson Omona also revealed that several people in Orom sub-county that borders South Sudan have reportedly been organizing discos despite a ban on night clubs. Moses Bwire, the Kitgum District Police Commander says initially they had tried to enforce the directives to ensure locals adhere to covid-19 guidelines but notes that they now in dilemma.

 “We have tried, but now we are in dilemma, even right now the Kole RDC is now in hot soup because police were caning under his supervision, in Nwoya, they have so far arrested 14 police officers for canning, the same in Kampala,” he says.

He advised that the committee to locally customize operation to suit their current challenges but outside calling security to beat locals.

Kitgum district health officer Dr Alex Olwedo yesterday during a task force meeting revealed that samples of nine people that had been taken for a test at Uganda Virus Research Institute all returned negative.

Uganda has so far registered 52 positive cases of covid-19.