Enanga issued a statement, saying the joint security task force had come out with additional enforcement mechanisms, particularly in the public transport sector and market areas
KAMPALA - The government has apologized for heavy-handedness by the police and sister security agencies seen beating people on the streets of Kampala on Thursday as they enforced preventive measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
The Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo tweeted on Friday that Police's director of operations Asuman Mugenyi under inter-agency task force had already issued additional directives to the respective commanders down the line.
"Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day of enforcement of measures that affected a huge public. Mistakes were bound to happen. New guidelines have been issued, including which activities are banned. So, we expect better command and control," Opondo said.
He said he had been in contact with concerned authorities. "The directive was misunderstood by some lower commanders. Consultations are underway to ensure incidents like this don't reoccur. Apologies," he tweeted.
The Police in West Nile region also apologized to Ugandans for using excessive force while enforcing the measures.
Addressing the media on Friday at the Police regional headquarters in Arua, Christopher Barugahare, the Regional Police Commander West Nile region said that could be an error and lack of proper briefing on the operations.
He also said it was an error to close all shops in Arua town and other towns in the region contrary to the Presidential directive that directed closer of non-food item shops operating within the markets.
Mugyenyi confirmed that they had come up with new directives but declined to divulge them, referring New Vision to the Police spokesperson Fred Enanga.
Enanga issued a statement, saying the joint security task force had come out with additional enforcement mechanisms, particularly in the public transport sector and market areas, in line with the directives of Museveni and guidelines from the health ministry to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
A ban on movements of public passenger transport like buses, taxis, bodabodas and tuktuks. We are meanwhile permitting bodabodas carrying food items and essential goods. These can operate from their respective stages in close coordination with our security task teams.
All markets selling food items will remain open, while other non-essential areas remain closed. Other business premises like shops, pharmacies, restaurants, hotels and roadside vendors will continue operating provided they observe the guidelines of safe distance and hygiene.
All trucks, delivery vans and pickups shall continue operating while delivering food and essential commodities. In addition, vehicles for sanitary services like garbage collection, cesspool emptying shall also continue operating. They should strictly carry a maximum of three people.
All essential vessels traveling on water shall continue operating, apart from passenger canoes (Binala), that have been banned.
However, traders can use canoes for shopping, and the public for transporting expectant mothers and other patients in close guidance with standard operating procedures with the Ministry of Health.
All personal /private vehicles are permitted to operate but restricted to carrying not more than three persons.
All government vehicles are to be centralized at the respective district headquarters for better response to medical concerns. In addition, ambulances, vehicles for security operations, other institutional/government vehicles shall operate under the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
All vehicles used by private security organizations will continue operating under the standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Health and the territorial security task force. They should regularly disinfect their vehicles; observe safe distance and proper hygiene.
All construction company vehicles are permitted to operate and carry workers in full compliance with the standard operating procedures by the Ministry of Health.
As a reminder, all factories shall continue operating, not to disrupt the supply chain of their commodities. All proprietors shall, therefore, work with the Ministry of Health and our territorial commanders to ensure observance of the standard operating procedures.
The public should know that all these measures are focused on prevention to avoid a major outbreak or lockdown. It is, therefore, critical for every Ugandan and visitors to follow the guidelines and work with the joint security task teams, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
We want to thank all members of the community who are broadly following these guidelines and further applaud them for their extra vigilance.
They are encouraged to report acts of non-compliance on contact numbers 0800300100, 0713250391, 0714012734, and 0753997665.
And for evacuation purposes, they should contact the following persons; ACP Namuwoza on 0772831993, Lt. Col. Bright Ruyonga on 0772510522 and Capt. Dr. David Magoola on 0772354011.
As we conclude, our surveillance teams are closely monitoring and arresting, criminal elements that are treating the crisis as an opportunity to rob and also harm others.
We are also targeting individuals or groups, resisting prevention and control measures, intentionally spreading the virus and those using malicious propaganda, for further sanctions.
The joint security task teams will regularly adjust its enforcement mechanisms in line with the contingency plans in place.
For instance, some major changes in enforcement by our officers have been made and we expect the public to see them as we move forward.
The enforcement teams were directed to remain courteous and humane while executing the guidelines indicated above. All errant officers shall have action taken against them.