Uganda: Hundreds Storm RDC's Office Over Movement Permits

The office of Masaka Resident District Commissioner is being overwhelmed by a big number of people seeking movement permits in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, President Museveni declared a 14-day national lockdown, banning use of both public and private transportation means except for essential workers.

He advised that those in dire need to use a private vehicles to transport sick people to hospitals will have to get clearance from the RDC.

Since Tuesday morning, the RDC's office located along Edward Street in Masaka Town has been a beehive of activities as people from all walks of life started queuing up to get written permission to drive their private vehicles.

Some of the people found in the queue were journalists, pregnant mothers and others who wanted permission to transport patients to and from Masaka Regional.

Masaka RDC, Mr Herman Ssentongo said that on Thursday alone, he issued more than 600 permits to individuals who wanted to transport patients, expectant mothers and to essential service providers.

"To avoid long queues at my office, I have now advised some people with patients to take to hospital to go straight to their village chairpersons who will give them permission to use the vehicle to a nearby police post, the police officer on duty will call my office that will give final clearance to use the vehicle for a stipulated period of time according to the distance they have to travel," he said in an interview on Thursday evening.

Mr Ronald Ssekyondwa, a resident of Nyendo, Masaka Town suburb said that he wanted to transport a patient to his home village in Rakai District after being discharged from Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.

He said it took him an hour to walk from Masaka Regional Referral to access the RDC's office for a clearance letter.

"I need clearance to use my motorcycle to ride him to Rakai, our ancestral home because I will not manage to cater for him in the town since we are no longer working," he said.

Dr Margret Ntambazi, a resident of Kizungu in Masaka Town said she also sought persimmon to drive her private vehicle to her workplace in Mukungwe Sub County.

"I am a medical doctor and I know the challenge we are facing as a country, let all people obey the set guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus," she said

However, the RDC warned people who have been given movement permits not to abuse them, saying his office together with police will monitor the use of the permits

Mr Ssentongo, who is also the chairperson of the Masaka District COVID-19 taskforce, said the number of people in the isolation centre at Masaka Regional Hospital had reduced from 40 to five after some were discharged having completed the 14-day mandatory isolation days.

Four of the 48 confirmed coronavirus cases in Uganda are from Masaka District.

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