The armed forces may any time from now take over the distribution of face masks in Greater Kampala if the local authorities continue delaying the exercise using unacceptable excuses.
The strong ultimatum to the local government authorities in Wakiso, Kampala and Mukono has been issued by the ICT Minister Judith Nabakooba following their failure to start the distribution of the masks.
Nabakooba told NBS TV that the ministry of Health has already delivered the mask consignments to sub counties in the three districts but the the local authorities have been citing some unspecified challenges before they can distribute the masks.
Sources have told Nile Post that the so-called challenges which the sub county authorities have been citing are allowances to be paid to them before they can carry out the distribution.
President Museveni had earlier set a June 2nd deadline for the distribution of 33 million masks procured by the government, making it compulsory for everybody leaving home to wear one thereafter.
The masks are supposed to be worn by every person aged six years and above while in public. However the deadline was extended to June 19th due to procurement and production delays.
Distribution started in the border districts which are exposed to neighbouring countries all of which had less strict controls for containment of coronavirus spread than Uganda.
But when it came to distribution of masks in the congested Greater Kampala, the local authorities are being accused of delaying the exercise, even as three out of the four covid-19 deaths so far recorded in Uganda are in the capital city.
Although there are hundreds of vendors selling masks of all types on Kampala’s streets, government may find it hard to conduct arrests for those not wearing any before it distributes the free masks.
Kampala has a daytime population of five million people. Wearing of masks is to an extent enforced in public buildings and passenger transport vehicles.