Security officers flout Covid-19 guidelines – Masindi leaders

Thursday June 24 2021
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Col Kagina Amon (right), the commander Military police talks to a police officer. Photo/ Ismail Bategeka

By Ismail Bategeka

Leaders in Masindi District have raised concern over security operatives, who own bars and have refused to close them contrary to the presidential directives aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
This comes after the district’s taskforce came under fire from the community over their failure to enforce the presidential directives on the closure of bars which have continued operating even after the ban.

Ms Rose Kirabira, the Masindi Resident District Commissioner, said it is unfortunate to see security personnel, who are supposed to enforce the presidential directives, flouting them. 

She added that on many occasions they have tried to engage them but in vain.
“These security officers are disturbing us in our implementation of the SOPs. Whenever we are try to enforce the guidelines, the owners and the customers lock themselves inside. When we leave they reopen,” Ms Kirabira said.
She added: “The most unfortunate of all these are the people without masks and they are not social distancing at all.” 
She said she has engaged commanders of both the police and army to take disciplinary action against their subordinates. 
“If they continue disturbing us we shall forcefully close their business and have their licence revoked,” she said.
Ms Kirabira said some of the bars owned by security personnel that are flouting Covid-19 guidelines are located in Kijura Trading Centre, Kirasa Kampala Trading Centre, Kabango Town Council, Kabarwana, Kihaguzi, Kiryana Trading Centre.

Ms Ednah Nyiraneza, the acting Masindi District police commander, said soldiers, who own businesses in Masindi Town, are the biggest violaters of the presidential directive against Covid-19.
“For instance in Kirasa Cell, where they have bars, when we go there, they threaten us and even attempt to grab guns from my officers. We need to cooperate. The biggest problem is soldiers who have guns and are drinking in bars,” Nyiraneza said.
Mr Ronald Businge Kyomuhendo, the mayor of Masindi Municipality, said many soldiers in Masindi Artillery Barracks have families in Kirasa Cell Central Division Masindi municipality.

“Most of their bars are owned by their wives and the problem is some of them come when they’re armed and very early in the morning. Pople are worried over these people’s conducts,” Mr Kyomuhendo said.
However, Col Amon Kagina, the commandant of Military Police in Masindi, said police should involve them in enforcement of the guidelines, adding that they are ready to support them.

On the issue of the errant soldiers, Mr Kagina said in case they are caught not complying with the Presidential directives, they should be reported to the relevant authorities so that they are disciplined.
“I urge you the police to involve us in the enforcement. Everything will be in order in case we are put on board. Always call us whenever you need enforcement. We shall come in,” he said.