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Lack of fuel, vehicles frustrates police operations in COVID-19 fight

Mbale’s Police station

Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police in Mbale district are struggling to enforce the COVID-19 preventive measures due to lack of vehicles and fuel. Mbale City and the district are both dependent on the same Police under the Acting District Police Commander, Arafat Kato.

According to Kato, the only functional police vehicle can’t patrol around the city and district because of fuel shortage. He says that their second patrol vehicle broke down a month ago.

Addressing the District COVID-19 Taskforce on Friday, Kato revealed that they are currently depending on donations from well-wishers such as the Child Care Project-CCP, which gave them 100liters of diesel to enforce the guidelines.

He told the meeting that the absence of vehicles and fuel has impeded their efforts to man the district and city, which has made people lower their guard as far as complying with the guidelines is concerned.

Asumin Nasike, the Mbale Resident District Commissioner wondered why the office of the Chief Administrative Officer has failed to compel heads of department to deliver vehicles to the district health office as directed by the presidents to help in the COVID-19 fight.

During the first lockdown, president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni directed that all the district vehicles be handed over to the DHO to help in the fight against the pandemic.
She appealed to well-wishers especially nongovernmental organisations to support the police in terms of fuel to help them in enforcing the preventive measures.

Oola Donato Olam, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Mbale told the meeting that he has instructions from the CAO to secure two vehicles for the district task force and one for the Police and RDC respectively.

He, however, said that the district can’t promise any fuel since they are also challenged financially due to lack of allocations from the government for the COVID-19 activities.

Yusuf Makweta, the Civil Society Organisations representative on the Taskforce, said that the Police are no longer visible on roads and other places, which has resulted in complacency.

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