Pressure on government to ease restrictions escalated Wednesday with sections of Ugandans appealing to President Museveni to relax a 42-day lockdown he announced on June 18- after a city ‘boda-boda’ rider was allegedly killed by police officers enforcing Covid-19 measures.
‘‘A police vehicle was chasing after him for allegedly flouting Covid-19 restrictions and knocked him. He died on spot. We understand his body was taken to Mulago National referral hospital,’’ said a ‘boda’ rider, flanked by his enraged colleagues, chanting similar claims in footage released Wednesday by NTV Uganda.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigire has since urged ‘‘patience and calm’’ as the Police Force probes circumstances under which Geoffrey Tumuheirwe, 27, perished.
‘‘It is alleged that while Ismah Lubega, 26, a driver and resident of Maganjo in Wakiso District, was driving motor vehicle registration number UBK 565B allegedly collided with a motorcycle registration number UFA 380B ridden by Tumuheirwe who died on spot,’’ ASP Owoyisigire told Daily Monitor.
Civil pressure is relatively growing- less than three days to the presumed end of a lockdown that a recent Uganda National Household Surveysaid had relegated over 300, 000 citizens into poverty.
‘‘Our hearts are now stronger than ever before---enough is enough and if the President doesn’t open up the country, we shall march in protest to State House and Parliament,’’ visibly outraged ‘boda’ men said July 28 at the accident scene.
Hundreds of Ugandans including politicians spoke out on Wednesday backing the calls by bodas on lifting the lockdown.
‘‘I am not a boda rider but am ready to join any staged demonstration. You guys don't know what we are going through,’’ Kyles Mugisha wrote on twitter with Amos Guevara saying ‘‘they (boda-bodas) are right’’.
Concerns about extreme impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown on the nation’s economy have already been advanced through Economic Trading Global statistics that project Uganda’s unemployment rate to edge upwards by about 2.50% in 2021.
"I don’t think the president will open but I am scared of what will happen next,’’ another social media user, Neo Farady said.
Ministry of health data Tuesday indicated that Uganda’s new Covid-19 infections drastically fell below 150 for the first time in almost two months with 11 fatalities posted.
Uganda has fully inoculated just over 200, 000 people- that number by far less than the 4m cap suggested by President Museveni before full reopening.