- District task-force leaders were embarrassed before ICT & NG State Minister Ogwang Peter
- The Minister is touring high risk districts in the East and Northern parts of the country.
- Talky RDC Milton Odongo said a few words
- Currently, Lira has 21 confirmed cases admitted at Lira Regional Referral Hospital according to Dr Stephen Obbo, the hospital director.
- Last week, RDC Milton Odongo told media that there were 11 other confirmed cases being treated from different isolation centres.
- A medical worker from Lira was the first to test positive for Covid-19.
Lira—9, June 2020: Lira district task-force on Covid-19 headed by Resident District Commissioner [RDC] Milton Odongo are sweating liberally as State Minister for Information and Communications Technology [ICT] and National Guidance, Peter Ogwang proposes a complete lockdown in Lira district.
This was during a meeting held on Monday at Margarita Palace Hotel where a visibly enraged Minister Ogwang disclosed to the district task-force that government was comprehensively briefed on the failure by the residents to adhere to the measures instituted by government to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister asked the district leaders to show cause why government should not impose a total lockdown in Lira district, noting that Lira has become riskier than even border districts.
Lira RDC, Milton Odongo was apprehensive as Minister Peter Ogwang bitterly expressed his disappointment with the complacency in mitigating Covid-19 in Lira district which he repeatedly said would leave government with no option than to impose stringent measures on the district.
Minister Ogwang’s vicious reaction was instigated by a report from Lt. Col. Godfrey Lutaro who is representing the army in the district task-force
Lt. Col. Lutaro unequivocally accused a section of politicians of frustrating efforts of security organs in enforcing Covid-19 measures.
Lt. Col. Lutaro cited Lira produce lane which has about 2000 produce dealers and always congested and warned that it poses a huge risk of Covid-19 infections because it does not allow for social distancing.
But he says security is facing resistance from some landlords and politicians who are opposed to the relocation of the produce dealers by Lira Municipal Council to a new site next to defunct Lira government airfield.
“We have a challenge here with the produce lane, it is congested but politicians are mixing politics with fighting Covid-19 and they claim that they want Mzee (President Museveni) to go back in the next elections,” Lt. Col. Lutaro told Minister Ogwang.
The army representative to the task-force asked the Minister to forward the matter to the President.
He also appealed to the Minister to hold a separate meeting with Lira Mayor, Mike Ogwang Olwa Veve for clarity on the issue.
This prompted the Usuk County MP to act tough on the district task force: “Like Afande has said, he has clarified that there is connection and no social distancing, so if you can’t comply then we shall tell government to lockdown Lira district so that the people here do not travel anywhere,” Minister Ogwang threatened.
He also revealed that because of laxity of the task force Sudanese nationals and businessmen are sneaking into Lira district to buy animals from the local community and challenge the task-force to explain why Lira and other places are experiencing community infections. Here, all the leaders were dumbfounded and none could respond to the Minister.
Ogwang further cautioned Lira businessmen to stop crossing over to South Sudan but to appreciate the use of ICT to run their businesses in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Francis Ogema Awany, from Lira district Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked the Minister to ask government for a waiver on broadcasts license for radio stations in the country because most of them have laid-off workers and are not ready to pay the skeleton staff in time since their income have been affected by Covid-19.