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IGP orders Commanders to find money from their budgets for protective gear

FILE PHOTO: IGP, Martin Ochola

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inspector General of Police–IGP, Martin Ochola has directed Regional, District and Divisional Police Commanders to find money from their budgets to provide Personal Protective Equipment –PPEs for their personnel. According to sources, Ochola has tasked RPCs, DPCs and heads of various units to agree on how many PPEs to buy for their officers particularly those who are always in the field.

However, some of the officers who spoke to Uganda Radio Network- URN said it is almost impossible for them to buy PPEs for their personnel. One of the commanders said they are already struggling to meet numerous costs of Covid-19 operations. The officers said the situation was worsened by Ochola’s directive banning police officers from using private vehicles to work.

“Our patrol vehicle has to pick policemen and policewomen staying in barracks such as Naguru and Nsambya. We have to pick commanders from their homes and take them back. We pick our commanders such as OC [Officer in Charge] CID, OC traffic, OC Operations and OC stations for either day or night duties,” a senior police commander said.

In his directive communicated by the Director of Operations Uganda Police Force, Asuman Mugenyi, the IGP noted that driving personal cars was being deemed as defying the President’s ban on private vehicles in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19. “IGP has further directed that officers who are using their personal civilian registered vehicles for movement either to work or otherwise should stop forthwith,” Mugenyi said.

Another commander said they are unable to raise more than Shillings 300,000 for PPEs while another said they only managed to raise Shillings 500,000. Because of insufficient funds for protective gears, commanders have decided to give only a few officers especially those going in crowded places masks or gloves.

“When we give one officer gloves, we give another a mask. We cannot give you both gloves and mask because there is no money to buy them. In fact, we haven’t given more than 10 officers protective gears,” the officer said. The Acting Traffic Director Bazir Mugisha has confirmed the directive to all commanders to use money from their budgets to provide protective gears to officers.

Mugisha emphasised the need for districts to always include police personnel in their planning since they also serves citizens in local governments. He noted that units such as the Traffic, Child and Family Protection Unit –CFPU belong to a place where they are found.

The situation is not different with Private Security Organisation –PSOs who have also failed to provide protective gear to their guards. Abbas Matende, the Managing Director Blue Light security company, says they have resorted to asking their guards to walk to work especially those working closer to their offices.

Matende says the guards are asked to move in groups and keep separating as they reach their work stations.

Uganda has so far registered 54 Covid19 cases some of whom have been discharged after recovering fully from the virus. Globally 1.9 million have tested positive for the virus, 119,000 have died while 458,000 have recovered.

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