KAMPALA – The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, has apologized to a group of women who were beaten by security agencies, including LDUs, during the enforcement of the presidential directives against coronavirus.
Last Friday, several videos showed LDUs beating up women selling fruits in downtown Kampala, a move that was condemned by Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde. Ms Kyambadde said that the security agencies were misinterpreting the presidential directives since such women had not been banned from operating.
And now, Gen Muhoozi on Monday met the women and admitted that security agencies’ actions were high handed.
Below is his statement to the media
To clear the air about some aspects of the work of security forces, the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi called for a press brief where he highlighted a number of things. Issues addressed also related to the support the forces are giving to civil authority – in this particular case, MOH , Which is the lead MDA, in the fight against COVID-19/ Corona Virus.
Below are details of his address:” I wanted to share information with the public. Regarding an incident that happened last Thursday, before that I want to say. This is a global threat
It’s a major and serious national threat. We already have some cases in our amdist.
It real, its magnitude is unprecedented – on humanity , and on all countries of the world – in terms of fast spread, in terms of risk to life, in terms of effect to all aspects of national and international life.We have been educated by experts that prevention is at the core of fighting this virus, which has no ascertained cure at the moment. Prevention is mainly through deconcetration and compliance with the advice given by the experts: of washing hands, of abandoning shaking hands, hugging, of touching the T-section of the head especially the eyes , the nose and the mouth. The measures pronounced by the Chief Executive of the country to enhance what the experts say and to prevent the spread are now within the region of 15 so far – including closure of schools, closure of places of worship, closure of all manner of public congregation including weddings and monthly markets, as well as closure of the international Airport and borders and last, public transport among others. The closure of public transport was in the spirit of deconcetration.
Exceptions left are food vending places – Markets, supermarkets etc. This brings me to the issue of these ladies, who were beaten by the security forces. They were reportedly selling fruits. Their handling was high handed, unjustified and regrettable. I do appologise to them and to fellow countrymen.
The culprits were apprehended and will be dealt with. We have also since instituted additional improvements – including changing command, to ensure better supervision and drawing up elaborate Rules of Engagement, to guide the security services in their enforcement work, related to the COVID-19 fight. Our roles in the big scheme of things were elaborated in our Joint Task Force Plan. We have a task force of all the security agencies.
For the UPDF, our roles are to support the enforcement aspects that relate to complaince with the measures pronounced by HEX and MOH, especially of protection of designated quarantine centers- (this is time-bound i.e 14 days) , the closure of our national borders , and last, support to the medical effort under MOH – where our medical practitioners are working with MOH at various levels ie the National level- CMS Maj Gen Dr Musingunzi, while Brig Dr Kusasira is teamed up with DG NHS at the Operation level. We have a team under Dr Col Lusiba in Mulago and then Lt Col Dr Kyobe at the Incident center. The other important role is to ensure compliance within the UPDFThis threat requires everyone. Everyone is vulnerable.
So everyone must cooperate and accept the temporally inconveniences imposed by the instituted measures to promote deconcentration, and therefore taming the wild spread of the disease, We need to understand and support, unreservedly and collectively, the measures pronounced by the government, in order to decisively arrest the spread of the virus. The implications of these measures are not certainly lost on us, but they are incomparable to continuing in a normal way of life, without restrictions, which allows for the dire consequences of spread.So whatever measures our leaders decide on, let us follow them to the letter. It is for the public good, and they are temporally, but we will help address this situation in time, it’s a matter of “better in time than never”. Let’s sacrifice a little and in time, in order to triumph over the pandemic.