KAMPALA – Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has accused security agencies of misinterpreting the presidential directives on banning public transport in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, President Museveni announced a 14-day ban on public transport vehicles such taxis, buses and boda boda to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus after the country registered five more cases, bringing the number to 14.
On Thursday, police and army officers accompanied by LDU personnel were seen beating up people in markets and on the road for purportedly disobeying the directive.
But Ms Kyambadde expressed displeasure with reports that some people were being beaten up from their shops and markets contrary to the presidential directives.
“Why are you beating citizens? This goes to especially LDUs. If you find them standing doing nothing, please explain. Maybe if they turn rowdy; you know some Ugandans. Enforcement doesn’t mean you should beat citizens,” an angry Kyambadde told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
“Police are not supposed to close alcohol depots or shops. Bars are the ones that should close because that is where people converge. We have no problem with people buying alcohol and taking it with them to their homes,” she said.
“There has been a misinterpretation of this directive. I have been told that restaurants, arcades, salons, shops, supermarkets are being closed. That’s wrong. They should continue to operate as long as they are not in food markets,” the minister added.
Her remarks come as public anxiety grows over the likely effects of coronavirus on the economy. With many offices and businesses closed, there is concern that many people will lose their jobs should this crisis persists.