Let drastic measures come with relief

Sunday March 29 2020



The number of individuals infected with the Covid-19 had risen to 23 by yesterday, and it was expected to further rise with the release of more results yesterday evening.

President Museveni, in messages sent out via social media, expressed concern that since some of the persons who tested positive had mixed into the population, they could have infected others and the virus could, therefore, spread rapidly.

To stem possible spread, which could make the situation to spiral out of control, the President indicated that he could announce further ‘drastic’ measures in an attempt to nip the problem in the bud. This is logical, especially in view of how the virus has ravaged countries with much better health service infrastructure than ours.

We must not risk a human catastrophe.
But as our government moves to fight the pandemic, it is important that the measures that are instituted are closely thought through and attempts are made to ameliorate their dire consequences.

When the President banned public transport on Wednesday night, for instance, there were many people who were affected because the measure was to take immediate effect. A lawyer who had court business in Kabale District and had gone by bus, for instance, suddenly had no means of returning to Kampala the following morning.

He had to mobilise private transport at a much higher cost than he had anticipated. Boda boda riders complained the following morning that they were flogged by soldiers and other security personnel for ferrying people yet they were not aware of the directive banning their trade. It is clear that the directive needed some warning before it took effect.


The other drastic measures that the President has warned about, therefore, should draw from the earlier ones in order to avoid creating a crisis within a crisis. Many people have been seen walking to their workplaces since the transport and market lockdown was announced. Many of those people who walk to work are not even sure that they will earn a penny that day since there are very few buyers.

The government, therefore, needs to come up with a way to keep those who can’t feed themselves during the lockdown fed. Food rations, it doesn’t matter how they are to be mobilised, must be distributed to targeted individuals to avoid starvation and curb petty crime.

Nakaseke South MP Semakula Luttamaguzi, businessman Sudhir Ruparelia and First Lady have kick started the process. This needs to grow into a deliberate, comprehensive effort.

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