Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inspector-General of Police Martin Ochola has ordered the arrest of all police officers who will be found driving their private cars during the 42 days lockdown.
President Yoweri Museveni last Friday announced a total lockdown due to the increasing cases of Covid-19. Among the many orders, Museveni banned the use of public and private transport except for essential workers and utility providers.
Uganda Radio Network understands that a communication has been sent to police commanders and unit heads to ensure that their juniors including themselves do not drive their cars for purposes of uniformity in the implementation of the latest directives intended to control the spread of Covid-19.
Ochola has informed police personnel that even though they are essential, they must use the force’s vehicles to move from one place to another but not personal cars unless such officers have an emergency.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga says security personnel under the intelligence units are allowed to move in private cars but they must have their IDs at all times. Police says in the previous lockdown, there was impunity of security personnel who used their vehicles to ferry their relatives.
Last year, Ochola issued orders banning police officers from using personal vehicles after he was notified that the very many vehicles that were on roads belonged to police officers, their relatives or other security personnel. This was after many Ugandans took to social media wondering why some roads were having jam yet public and private cars had been banned from being used.
However, some of the police officers have expressed concern with the ban on using their cars. Police officers especially those in the senior category wondered how a single patrol vehicle attached to a police station would be used to transport them to and from their homes.
“Many of our police officers sleep in Nsambya or Naguru barracks. They are picked by the patrol vehicle to and from the station. The patrol vehicle is supposed to be at the station full-time to respond to an emergency. But if the patrol vehicle is used to drive me back or to pick me from my home, it leaves a gap at the station,” a senior police officer said.
Kampala Metropolitan has 18 divisions with each having over 200 personnel. The police officers who stay in Naguru and Nsambya barracks include Field Force Unit and Counter-terrorism officers.
However, all officers in the category of senior that are from the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police –ASP up to Assistant Inspector General of Police –AIGP are prohibited from living in the barracks and occupying police housing units. This has left many ASPs and Superintendent of Police –SPs who are division, station, traffic and CID commanders living in the outskirts of Kampala such as Nsangi, Bulenga, Buloba, Nansana, Kakiri, Matugga, Gayaza, Sonde, Mukono or Ndejje.