Police have announced getting tough on both commanders and members of the public in enforcement of guidelines aimed at controlling the spread of Coronavirus.
Addressing journalists on Friday, AIGP Edward Ochom, the Police Operations Director said in the past, there has been laxity in adhering to the set Standard Operating Procedures leading to a surge in Covid cases but said they have heightened their operations to ensure enforcement.
“Whether you are a Permanent Secretary, director, businessman or journalist we are going to handle you in the same way. We don’t expect you to ring anywhere because nobody is going to listen to you,”Ochom warned.
The Ministry of Health this week reported a surge in Covid cases especially in Kampala and the surrounding areas of Wakiso and Mukono.
Surging cases have been mostly blamed on boda bodas riders and taxis that don’t follow the set SOPs of carrying a specified number of passengers but also wearing face masks and sanitizing.
Because of the surge, experts have since advised reinstatement of a three week lockdown to contain the situation.
On many occasions, Police officers have been blamed for the laxity of Ugandans in adhering to the set guidelines.
Many officers have been accused of extorting money from members of the public instead of enforcing the guidelines.
Speaking on Friday, AIGP Ochom warned that it will not be business as usual this time round for both members of the public and their own commanders who fail to implement the guidelines.
“There could be officers taking bribes but we are going to follow up for accountability and we have taken action against some of our officers. It is not the first time. Some of them we have stripped of responsibility. If you are a DPC and see you are not enforcing, we shall remove you because you can’t manage the responsibility,” he said.
He insisted that the 6pm time for boda bodas and 9pm curfew should be enforced to the latter or else the commanders will face the wrath of the law.
According to Ochom, they will send alert squad in different parts to ensure smooth enforcement but also warned members of the public, especially motorists of violating the 9pm curfew.
“We have resolved that our Alert Squad commander and his team make spontaneous visits and arrest all commanders who have become reluctant to enforce Covid-19 guidelines. All errant commanders must be arrested.”
He warned that vehicles will be impounded and parked in a central place whereas the drivers will be sent to the coolers.
Speaking as a follow up, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed the operations started on Friday evening.
“Due to increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths, we have intensified curfew operations so as to enforce the Ministry of Health SOPs. A number of motorcycles and Vehicles have been impounded and suspects arrested in the Kampala Metropolitan area,”Owoyesigyire said.
The developments come on the backdrop of reports that government will reinstate the lockdown.
President Museveni is expected to address the country about the virus and the next steps to be followed.