Many traders in Kampala City centre and surrounding areas have reopened their shops in defiance of the ongoing lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.
A mini-survey conducted by Kikubolane.com shows that with nine days to end of the lockdown, most traders have returned to the city centre and are clandestinely operating their businesses.
For example, most shops in Katwe, Nateete, Wandegeya and Kabalagala have opened with no adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). There is no visible security deployment in the area.
For those operating shops in the now closed city arcades, which are manned by police and soldiers, 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.
However other places are operating normally and do not fear the security operatives.
Some of the traders whom we managed to speak to feigned ignorance of the specific shops which the President cleared to continue operating during the pandemic.
They claimed that they deal basically in home appliances which they said is essential for every home.
“Most people are currently at home and need things to use at home like fridges, Saucepans and carpets among others and indeed they have been making orders. People have also been coming here to buy bicycles to ease their movement. I think our sector is also essential and we should be left to operate,” said Ms Ruth Nafula, a trader who deals in home appliances and bicycles.
Ms Nafula also revealed that the prices of bicycles have doubled due to increased demand.
Asked why they are not observing SOPs, she noted that they are at times overwhelmed by the number of customers who end up breaching the social distancing guideline.
Bodabodas are also carrying passengers in full glare of security officers manning roadblocks and now operate past 5pm.
The President in his address on June 18 imposed a second lockdown on the country for 42 days to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus among the people.
He suspended schools and public transport and closed arcades. But he left markets, private health facilities, drug shops, and vehicles carrying essential workers to keep operating.
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.
Mr Charles Mwebe said that he has been walking daily from Masanafu in Rubaga division to look for jobs in Kisenyi since the lockdown was announced.
“I used to work in Jumbo Arcade on Nakivubo Road as a cleaner but now that arcades are closed, I have to look for other work so as to get food for my family. I decided to come to Kisenyi because grain millers were not closed and there are many menial jobs here,” he said.
But Kampala Resident City Commander (RCC) Hood Hussein said that 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.