Lira—May 23, 2020: On Saturday 16 May 2020, Lira district COVID-19 task force gave a donation comprising 6kg of posho, 3kg of beans and a packet of table salt to 108 sex workers in Lira Municipality.
The donation was given from Uganda Technical College [UTC] Lira and was presided over by the head of the district task-force—also the Lira RDC, Milton Odongo. Mr Sam Engola, the Lira district NRM party chairman who also doubles as the NRM national vice-chairman for northern Uganda also attended.
Decision to donate COVID-19 relief food to Lira sex workers, according to RDC Odongo followed their concern, raised to his office by the ‘sellers’’ chairwoman.
Also, Mr Odongo reminded the beneficiaries that the district opted to support them with relief food because his office was duly informed that many of them were on ARV drugs.
With closure of all nightclubs, bars and lodges because of coronavirus pandemic, human beings who trade themselves for a living have been hit harder. Majority are now in lockdown, staying home.
“I had to consider giving you food on condition that: after getting this food today, go cook and resume taking ARV for those on drug because we don’t want anybody to die. Secondly, from today, rain is abundant, I want all of you to go back home and start agriculture and I have free transport for you,” RDC demanded, last week.
Some Lira people who spoke to TND News, two days before the donation, said some top district leaders and popular tycoons [clients to the sex workers] were sweating substantially. Why? This, we were told that the said sex workers had threatened to march and expose names of leaders, tycoons in town who were intentionally making them sleep hungry and angry every day.
Whereas this publication has been unsuccessful in knowing “the men”, Lira RDC, Milton Odongo has recently confirmed the ladies had a bad motive of exposing their top clients to the press.
“These young daughters of ours, some of them were undergoing ARV drugs. They complained that they can no longer take drugs. We said no, we cannot allow a person to die. So, it’s not true that in Lira we are promoting the sex workers. No. The intervention of Lira district task-force to give those young street ladies food was to stop domestic insecurity in peoples’ homes because they had threatened; they had 35 names of government officials, businessmen whom they said they would read to the press, that is why you didn’t hear the list being read anywhere,” RDC Odongo said.
According to the RDC who was addressing a joint press conference in Lira town with Commissioners of Police [CP] Fred Enaga, who’s the national Police spokesperson, some Lira journalists were also among those to be exposed by the struggling sex workers.
CP Enaga told journalists in Lira that the sex traders in Gulu and Lira attempted to issue threats because their known yet illegal source of livelihood has been closed.
Mr Enaga says even when the sex workers are in problem, Police always coordinate with organisations like Red Cross that are helping those unable to survive.
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