City residents protest over failure to receive relief food

Tuesday April 21 2020
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Protest. Residents remove a fire barricade from the road during a demonstration in Namungoona, Kampala, yesterday. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI.

Police have arrested two people and dispersed many others who had blocked roads with debris and lit fire protesting government failure to provide relief food to them in Namungoona area in Rubaga Division, Kampala District.

A group of people first visited local leaders’ homes demanding for relief aid, but they were told that the government had stopped them from making any individual donations.

The mob who were holding placards then went to the main roads and blocked them.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said the group was dispersed and two people were arrested.

“We have intelligence that the group was mobilised by people who want to stand in the next general elections. Interrogations of the suspects is still ongoing and we shall arrest all those behind the incitement of violence,” Mr Onyango said.

Majority of urban dwellers have not been working since last month when President Museveni ordered for the closure of a number businesses as a measure curb the spread of Covid-19. Later on, he ordered for a 14-day lock down, and later on extended it to May 5, for businesses dealing non-essential items.

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Last month, the government promised to give relief food to the urban poor in Kampala City and Wakiso District.

Each of the 1.8 million people were to get six kilogrammes of maize flour and three kilogrammes of beans.

The distribution of the food has been slow and in some areas halted due to scandals related to the quality of the food supplied. Only a few areas in Kampala City has been covered by the relief distribution teams since April 4 when they started the process.

Mr Onyango said the residents should be patient that food relief will be delivered to them very soon.
Some of the impatient city dwellers had started opening their businesses in the central business district of Kampala City on Friday and Saturday, but the police forced them to close the shops and sent them back home.
At least 500 shops that were secretly operating were to be raided by police yesterday, but their attendants did not show up.
While addressing the country yesterday, President Museveni said business people dealing in food items were hoarding it with an aim to keep the prices high.
He said he would be forced to import cheap food from abroad other than spending more money on home grown food commodities.

Disobeying

Reopening. Some of the impatient city dwellers had started opening their businesses in the central business district of Kampala City on Friday and Saturday, but the police forced them to close the shops and sent them back home.

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