Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Many private vehicles hit the road in several parts of Kampala today, hours after the president’s announcement of the new lockdown measures banning private vehicles from moving took effect on Friday 2200 hours.
On Friday, President Yoweri Museveni reinstated a full lockdown banning Public and Private transportation, and bringing down the curfew time to 7:00 pm from 9:00 pm. He announced that only essential workers like those in the health, Utility, security and mass media among others will be allowed on the road. Further guidance will come from the Office of the Prime Minister.
However of the vehicles seen so far, few of them were of the essential categories, at least looking at their registration numbers or even the lack of clear branding on the cars.
On several routes from Bukoto, Ntinda, towards Nakawa private vehicles are bypassing police roadblocks mainly placed in the different trading centres, with most vehicles being stopped at random. No single taxi could be spotted in most of the places that Uganda Radio Network (URN) visited.
In some cases police is picking and arresting boda boda riders carrying passengers, while several passengers on the boda bikes who are being allowed passage are either with crutches, medical forms and expectant mothers and those with injuries among others.
Several boda boda riders carrying passengers are passing through shortcuts, and dropping and picking passengers to places close to or immediately after a police check point.
At Kisasi trading centre, in Kawempe division a minute does not pass by without a private vehicle passing by. Police assisted by the local defense unit (LDU) personnel have closed half of the road, but most vehicles are passing with limited inspection.
A driver of a black Subaru Forester who was stopped at the Kisasi trading centre and identified himself only as Muhumuza told Police that he was called to go and help carry a patient to the hospital. He told the security manning the road block that he would surely return back carrying the patient to Ntinda when asked about documentations of the sick.
In Parts of Nabweru, Wakiso district, several people are seen walking on foot, while many boda boda riders are seen carrying passengers. The mode of movement for the boda boda riders is the same with many of them avoiding the main routes and choosing the areas with limited security presence especially in the junctions and in the trading centers. Shops in the area are fully operational.
On Gayaza road, police has mounted several roadblocks also targeting boda boda riders and private vehicles. Police in the area is looking out for pedestrians without masks and boda boda riders carrying passengers.
“The Boda Boda riders are helping people, to bring them to the main road, some to buy key items like medicines and foodstuff” a passenger says.
Luke Owoyesigire the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson says that Police is aware of the possibility of boda boda riders using small routes and bringing passengers to trading centers but warned that when one is arrested, fines will be imposed on them. He says it is unfortunate that they cannot deploy everywhere but warned that when you get arrested, the consequences will be dire.
On the many vehicles on the road, he says the ones on the roads have explained themselves.
“Of course we do not have CCTV’s everywhere to monitor the boda boda’s, but on private vehicles on the road, everyone who is using them is explaining themselves , we are not allowing everyone to just drive by” he says.