Inside 100 days of lockdown

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By Isaac Mufumba

It’s 109 days since President Museveni communicated a March 16 Cupboard choice to position the nation beneath a partial lockdown for 32 days as one of many measures to curb the unfold of Covid-19.

In the course of the lockdown, greater than 40 restrictions, together with the closure of training establishments; suspension of mass gathering equivalent to political rallies, communal prayers, large weddings and funerals, have been put in place.

Different measures included freeze on public transport; closure of airports and borders to passenger and pedestrian site visitors; and suspension of operations of bars, saloons, discotheques, gyms and open markets; closure of purchasing malls and arcades; and a nationwide nightfall to daybreak curfew.

Many of the restrictions have since been lifted, albeit with some situations, however others such because the curfew stay in pressure and arcades, open markets, salons, bars and colleges amongst others, stay closed.

Throughout his most up-to-date tackle on Covid-19 late final month, Mr Museveni acknowledged that he has been beneath immense stress to elevate all of the restriction.

“Particularly, a number of the stakeholders have been petitioning the management to, roughly, fully re-open all of the actions of the nation,” he stated.

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Fallouts
For as soon as, Ugandans appeared to have ralled across the President when the lockdown was first introduced, however the consensus has since disappeared.

The primary individuals to name on him to reopen the nation have been spiritual leaders, who had earlier joined him at State Home to wish for the nation when the lockdown was first introduced.

First was Mufti Sheikh Ramadhan Mubajje who, on Might 24, referred to as for reopening of homes of worship and permit them function with strict adherence to plain working procedures.

“If public transport is to be allowed to function, then even locations of worship needs to be re-opened so that folks can congregate to wish for his or her nation to beat this pandemic,” he stated.

Extra calls have been made on Might 31 by Anglican and Catholic Church leaders, Archbishop Samuel Kaziimba and Kampala Catholic Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.

Others got here earlier throughout this week when pastors in church buildings in Tororo, Busoga and Bugisu areas made related appeals.

The church leaders would possibly as nicely be forgiven for questioning why locations of worship, which might truly observe social distancing, ought to stay beneath lock and key whereas minibuses the place passengers sit lower than one metre aside are allowed to ply the roads.

The above usually are not the one contradictions across the restrictions which have remained in pressure and a number of the guarantees that authorities has made since.

Meals distribution
Following the choice to cease public transport, taxi drivers, touts and different Ugandans who stay from hand to mouth have been left bereft of incomes, which prompted Mr Museveni to announce that authorities could be offering them with maize flour, beans, sugar, powder milk, salt, amongst others.

Shs59.4b was put aside for the acquisition and distribution of meals to a minimum of two million susceptible individuals in Kampala, Wakiso and elements of Mukono. Nevertheless, there have been questions across the high quality of meals that was equipped.

Nakawa MP (FDC), Mr Michael Kabaziguruka, was a kind of who complained concerning the high quality of the meals.

“Problems with high quality apart, the individuals of Nakawa acquired meals. At first, the standard of, particularly the beans, was horrible, however it improved because the train progressed,” Mr Kabaziguruka stated.

On the identical time, meals was not distributed to all the 2 million those that had been deliberate for.

The State minister for Catastrophe Preparedness, Mr Musa Ecweru, stated the focused quantity was not met because of lack of funds.

“We ended up distributing meals to 1.eight million individuals. The funds acquired completed earlier than we may cowl most elements of Wakiso,” Mr Ecweru stated.

Buying arcades
Mr Museveni has at all times insisted that purchasing arcades can’t be reopened as a result of it’s unattainable to look at social distancing in there. Throughout his final tackle, the President directed the Minister of Kampala, Ms Betty Amongi, and that of Well being Jane Ruth Aceng to work round discovering methods of getting the arcades reopen for enterprise.

Subsequently, Ms Amongi and her Commerce counterpart, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, final week toured a number of the purchasing arcades in Kampala and interfaced with a number of the proprietors, however their suggestions are but to be made public.

Nevertheless, the arcade house owners and merchants at the moment are inclined to assume Mr Museveni has been misled by scientists into imagining that commonplace working procedures can’t be practiced within the arcades.

The stand on arcades has, nevertheless, hit the merchants who function in there and the proprietors very laborious. Mr Everest Kayondo, the chairperson of Kampala Metropolis Merchants Affiliation (KACITA), sums up their plight.

“The merchants within the arcades and their landlords are badly off. The merchants do not make any gross sales and the landlords are additionally not realizing something as a lot as hire,” Mr Kayondo stated.

The stand on arcades set the stage for a battle between arcade house owners and a number of the tenants over cost of hire in the course of the lockdown. Mr Museveni, in hid Might four tackle, stated it’s “not cheap” for banks and landlords to demand for funds and suggested them to both reschedule the funds or write them off.

That however, final month, property mogul Drake Lubega sparked off a storm when he despatched out a reminder to all his tenants reminding them of their hire obligations. Mr Lubega had earlier advised sections of the native press that he wouldn’t forego any of the hire cash as he too had obligations equivalent to financial institution loans to service.

Former Jinja East MP David Babi Kamusaala, blames the hire standoff on lack of readability on the a part of the President and the federal government.

“If you say doing so could be unreasonable, you allow room for machinations. Mr Museveni or the Ministry of Commerce ought to have come out with extra readability. Each the merchants and the landlords haven’t been incomes. The best choice could be for presidency to compensate the landlords for incomes misplaced in the course of the lockdown. That might ease the burden on the merchants,” Dr Kamusaala, who’s now a lecturer at Mbarara College of Science and Know-how, says.

Face masks
In one among his speeches, Mr Museveni introduced that masks needed to be worn by all, including that authorities was to avail free masks to all Ugandans above the age of six by the Native Councils. Later, whereas asserting the lifting of restrictions on public transport, he made it seem like it might be topic to the distribution of face masks.

“…it’s, subsequently, essential that these leisure measures are timed to coincide with the common provision of these masks,” he stated. After consulting with officers, he stated they wanted two weeks to avail the masks.

The masks distribution train was flagged off on June 11, by First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali, with a reported 750,000 masks going to communities within the border districts of Rakai, Kyotera, Amuru and Adjumani.

The Ministry of Well being spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, advised Sunday Monitor that many extra masks have since been distributed.

“By Wednesday we had distributed 3.eight million masks in different districts, together with Busia, Hoima, Gulu, Arua and Buikwe,” Mr Ainebyona stated.
The Ministry had promised to provide out 30 million masks.

Well being
Mr Museveni stated in his Might 18 tackle that the lockdown had helped authorities to organize higher for any spikes. Along with the specialised therapy centres in Entebbe, Mulago and the Ladies’s specialised hospital, he stated, 14 therapy centres had been arrange within the 14 regional referral hospitals throughout the nation.

Data from the Ministry of Well being signifies that out of the $172.6m (roughly Shs640b) that had been spent as on the finish of Might, $32.6m (about Shs121b) was spent on procurement of beds and equipment, tools for Intensive Care Models, civil infrastructure, vitality tools, set up of oxygen crops, meals for well being staff and people in isolation, lodging and meals for quarantined individuals and transfers to regional referral hospitals.

The determine would recommend ample preparedness, however Dr George Ekwaro, the well being minister within the ‘Individuals’s Authorities’, a free coalition of people that consider Dr Kizza Besigye gained the 2016 Basic Election, argues that the federal government’s Covid-19 response is “a depressing failure”.

“The world over, severe governments strengthened their well being programs by recruiting extra well being staff, elevated well being sector funds to above seven per cent of GDP, constructed new well being services to handle doable surge in instances, strengthened surveillance and testing capability, strengthened immunity of their individuals by offering them with meals fortified with nutritional vitamins,” Dr Ekwaro stated.

“Whether or not Mr Museveni’s authorities did any of the above, I go away it to the general public to guage,” he added.

Mr Museveni directed the ministries of Gender and that of Schooling to register classes of individuals equivalent to faculty house owners and salon operators who’ve been affected by the lockdown to ensure that them to learn from low-cost loans to both assist them resuscitate their companies or begin new ones.

The issue is that the federal government has an extended historical past of failure to fulfil its guarantees.
It has beforehand made guarantees to arrange a youth internship programme, youth Saccos, youth work locations and a graduate fund, all of which got here to naught

The resistance that has to date been put up by the arcade house owners has put Mr Museveni to the check. The boda boda, spiritual leaders and educationists, over whom he has till now been consist in his resolve to not have them again quickly, should be watching with greater than eager curiosity.

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