Uganda: Security Bans Food Distribution to Vulnerable Groups

Security agencies have banned the distribution of food to vulnerable people during the lockdown on grounds of contravening standard operating procedures (SoPs) and quality of handouts.

In a joint security press conference yesterday, police spokesman Fred Enanga said the acts are likely to lead to the spread of coronavirus.

"In some incidents, we have seen a lack of social distancing. This will lead to the spread of coronavirus. All people distributing food to vulnerable people should stop. They should take the food to the district coordinators for proper distribution of food," Mr Enanga said.

The ban comes days after Opposition politicians distributed food to vulnerable groups in different parts of the country.

Last year, President Museveni banned private distribution of food to vulnerable people describing it as cheap popularity.

Police raided homes of Opposition politicians, where they seized food and also arrested suspects, including Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake.

Mr Enanga said they are worried that the food distributed could be contaminated with poisonous substances such as aflatoxins and others.

He said if the food is taken to the coordination centres, government experts would be able to test it for quality before it is distributed.

Kawempe South MP Muhammed Ssegirinya, who has been distributing food to his constituents, said he will not stop, adding that he can't look on as people in his community die of hunger.

"I do door-to-door distribution. I just write my name and go away. I follow all standard operating procedures against the spread of coronavirus. How will I spread the virus in that manner?" Mr Ssegirinya said.

He said he will not give the food to the government because he tested them in last year's lock down by offering them his salary for two months, but the money was stolen.

"It is the government officials who should first give us accountability of the food we gave them last year. We don't know how the food was distributed. They also told us that some of the food that they procured was rotten. How can you trust us people?" he said.

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