“Let me beat them today - they will thank me tomorrow when the virus is gone,” says the retired officer.
CORONAVIRUS IN UGANDA
Retired Maj. Gen. Kasirye Ggwanga has said he will continue dispersing groups of people until they learn to practise social distancing in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).
His comments come after the number of Uganda's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 33 following the health ministry's announcement of three new cases.
It was revealed that two of the latest cases are related to one of the earlier cases, while the third had flown in from the UK.
On Monday, Ggwanga told New Vision that some Ugandans are so "big-headed" that you have to use "kiboko" [cane] to make them understand the dangers of crowding in the face of the novel coronavirus, which has brought global activity to a near-standstill, with several affected nations under lockdown.
"The President, who is my Commander-in-Chief, directed that social distancing is a must if we are to fight this virus. I am sorry, but I had to use the cane," said Ggwanga.
"Let me beat them today - they will thank me tomorrow when the virus is gone," added the retired officer.
'We shall discipline them'
A tough-talking Ggwanga said it was time for Ugandans to learn lessons from Spain, Italy, UK and the US, where thousands have succumbed to the virus, and hundreds of thousands others sick.
"For God's sake, why can't people stay at home? Why should they gang up in trading centres and start playing ludo [a board game], or as if they are holding meetings?
"The President ordered Ugandans to keep at least two to four meters away from each other," said Gwanga.
"We do not want to witness mass graves? The ones we witnessed in 1974 and 1977 when [then-President Idi] Amin killed soldiers were enough."
Ggwanga said he had returned the military police personnel he was moving with to the barracks, "but this won't stop me from enforcing the presidential directives".
"Let me warn students who were sent home to avoid crowding in towns. Yesterday I chased some of them from Bunamwaya and Mutundwe in Kampala. If parents cannot discipline their children in this era of COVID-19, we shall use our military ways to discipline them.
"Let us joke about other diseases but not this deadly virus," Ggwanga said.
President Museveni last week directed that all public transport be suspended while markets remain open to sell only foodstuffs. Among the additional measures, he also emphasized social distancing.
Also related to this story
CORONAVIRUS | Gov't suspends public transport