City traders defy lockdown rules, open shops

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By Amos Ngwomoya

More city dwellers have for the last couple of days been making their way to the city centre, causing congestion in some places.

There has been an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads, which at times cause traffic jam, especially during rush hours.

Photos and videos of motorists stuck in traffic jam around the city have been making rounds on social media despite the ongoing lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19.

As a result, many people have querried the criteria used by security operatives to clear some vehicles.

Bodas bodas  

Several boda bodas have also been seen carrying passengers in full glare of security officers manning roadblocks. Some even operate past 5pm contrary to the presidential directives.

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This newspaper has also established that people who own shops around the city which do not sell either medicine or food have been secretly operating.

The traders sit at the entrances of their shops disguising as passers-by with doors closed and when a client comes, they quickly open and make transactions before they close again.

In other places, traders are operating normally and do not fear security operatives. The President in his address on June 18 imposed a second lockdown  for 42 days to curb the spread of Covid-19.

But with about two weeks left to the expiry of the 42 days, people have started defying the lockdown rules.

For instance, all shops in Katwe yesterday were open with no adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs). There was no security deployment in the area. Some of the traders feigned ignorance of the specific shops, which the President cleared to continue operating during the pandemic.

“Most people are currently at home and need things to use at home such as fridges, saucepans and carpets, and indeed they have been making orders. I think our sector is also essential and we should be left to operate,” Ms Ruth Nafula, a trader, said.

We also established that the majority of people who come to the city go to Kisenyi to do casual work at milling stalls. Some of them travel from as far as Kawempe, Busega, Nansana, and Nateete.

Kampala Resident City Commander (RCC) Hood Hussein said security deployment has been heightened across the city to enforce the lockdown rules.

He warned that all those who will be caught while defying the rules will be fined.