Breaking

No Emphasis on COVID-19 Control Measures as Ugandans Vote

According to the Electoral Commission guidelines, voters can only access polling stations if they are wearing a face mask and have washed their hands with soap and water. But there were no handwashing facilities at the stations today, neither did they provide hand sanitisers, to help voters to keep coronavirus disease at bay. In fact, even those with no face masks were not stopped from voting, both in Kampala and Wakiso.

Audio 1

Hundreds of Ugandans paid little or no attention to measures that were put in place to control the spread of coronavirus disease, as they cast votes in local council elections today.

According to the Electoral Commission guidelines, voters can only access polling stations if they are wearing a face mask and have washed their hands with soap and water. But there were no handwashing facilities at the stations today, neither did they provide hand sanitisers, to help voters to keep coronavirus disease at bay. In fact, even those with no face masks were not stopped from voting, both in Kampala and Wakiso.

At Nsiike II polling station in Rubaga Divison, the Presiding Officer Maria Nakiwala told URN that none of the facilities was provided. She says that since the problem had come from the EC, they could not stop voters from casting their votes.

//Cue in; " People are complaining...

Cue out...twamufunye."//

At Jude and St Joseph Catholic Church polling station in Nansana, no handwashing facilities or enforcement of face masks was done. Voters who came with mo masks were allowed to vote, and some polling agents did not wear masks too. At St. Mbaaga Primary School and Kisaasi Muslim Secondary School, in Nakawa, the use of masks by voters was optional and many put them below the chin.

At Mukalazi Polling Station A-M located in Bukoto, Martha Tumwebaze complained that the Electoral Commission had not given them enough sanitisers compared to the number of voters at her station. This station, according to Tumwebaze has 726 registered voters and the Commission gave them only one small bottle, less than a litre of sanitiser.

At Kinawataka Road Market polling station, there was no hand sanitiser of handwashing station for voters to wash their hands, yet both voters and EC officials did not observe the use of face masks. Paul Olweny, the presiding officer at the polling station said they have allowed voting to take place despite the complacency because the EC did not provide them with handwashing or sanitizing facilities.

Last week, medics were worried about the blatant abuse of SOPs. In an interview with URN Dr Monica Musenero, an epidemiologist and presidential advisor on epidemics said elections could be super spreader events for COVID-19.

Keywords