Assessing security measures under lockdown

Thursday July 29 2021
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A policeman arrests a man found flouting the Covid-19 standard operating procedures in Kampala on June 19. PHOTO/ ABAUBAKER LUBOWA

By Monitor Reporter

As the country completes the 42 days of the second lockdown, security personnel have been key in the enforcement of the presidential guidelines in this period.

The security personnel were expected to ensure that a range of businesses in the country, especially in the urban areas, including Kampala central business district remain closed, no travels between districts and ensuring that only essential workers move on the road.

Unlike in the first lockdown last year, this one hasn’t been so intense given the high levels of compliance and security personnel haven’t been brutal like before.

However, crime in the rural areas continued to shoot up since businesses kept operating normally.
The main target has been motorists and violators of curfew regulations.

At least 7,420 people are suspected of flouting curfew regulations since the lockdown started, according to police statistics.
The state has so far charged 1,209 people and a big fraction of them were remanded but the police released and cautioned 4,524 people in 42 days.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said the level of compliance has been high.
“We are seeing less people opening bars and entertainment centres as it was in the first lockdown,” he said.
However, non-essential motorists were the major violators of the guidelines with at least 10,000 people, including boda boda riders.

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Most of the errant motorists were released after issuing them with express penalty tickets.
Mr Enanga said they preferred tickets because they didn’t want to congest their cells and prisons for fear of spreading the virus among suspects and police officers.

Mr Muhammad Nsubuga, the southern region police spokesperson, said most of the offenders were arrested.
In Luweero District, about 85 people violated  the guidelines, including the curfew. Twenty-five vehicles and 150 motorcycles were impounded after owners violated curfew.

In Bushenyi, the acting district police commander, Mr Titus Kutosi, said they faced a number of challenges in forcing the presidential directives.

He said motorists used short cuts to doge police roadblocks and access other districts .
“Our small village roads are used by motorists to access other districts such as Sheema and Mitooma,” Mr Kutosi said. 

He said they have impounded and receipted 270 vehicles since the President issued the directives. 
Other vehicles and motorcycles were released after owners were cautioned.

Mr Kutosi said 152 people have been arrested in the district since the presidential directives were issued, adding that their files were taken to the Directorate of Public Prosecution for legal advice.

Rwizi Region police spokesperson Samson Kasasira said they have impounded 47 vehicles, 165 motorcycles, and 212 Express Penalty tickets ranging from Shs40,000 and Shs100, 000 have been issued to the motorists who were cautioned after paying fines.

“The vehicles that were given express penalties were released and [owners] cautioned after confirming payment of the EPs because they had traffic offences but those [vehicles] with other offences not related to traffic were kept at police,” Mr Kasasira said.

Two police officers in Kazo District were arrested and taken to court for torturing a man while implementing curfew. 
“Two of our officers are in custody for allegedly torturing a man during curfew. The man died at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital and the postmortem revealed that he had injuries on the head, which caused internal bleeding,” Mr Kasasira said.

Compiled by Benson Tumusiime, Milton Bandiho, Dan Wandera and Felix Ainebyoona
 

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