Curfew in Uganda will next week be temporarily lifted as learners across the country report at schools as government prepares for the scheduled re-opening of Secondary, Primary and pre-primary classes starting Monday 10th, January 2022.
The new development was announced by the Minister for Works and Transport Gen Edward Katumba Wamala as part of a detailed plan to facilitate safe re-opening of the transport and Education sectors of the economy as per the directive issued by president Yoweri Museveni. In his nation address on 31st December 2022, Museveni maintained that the dusk to dawn curfew the country has endured for close to two years, will be lifted on 24th January 2022.
Now, authorities say, the temporary lifting of the Curfew is meant to mitigate challenges of traffic congestion in Taxi and Bus Parks, and facilitate safe and easy movement of motorists taking learners to their respective schools beyond daytime. The move is also meant to avoid road accidents as motorists rush to beat curfew time.
At the beginning of this week, the Ministry of Education and Sports released a School’s reporting plan for learners in Metropolitan Kampala districts of Kampala, Mpigi, Wakiso and Mukono highlighting the period between Monday 10th January 2022 up to Thursday 13th January 2022 as reporting dates as the education sector full reopens in the country.
At a joint press briefing Gen Katumba issued guidelines to public transport operators in the country and cautioned them to comply with Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) in prevention of COVID-19 spread, as well desist from operating outside the designated taxi parks or bus terminals especially during this period.
The minister also cautioned public transport operators not to hike transport fares in order to avoid “unfortunate incidents” that happened the last time in June when schools re-opened and students got stranded in taxi and bus parks. This time, he said, he has engaged transport operators they agreed on fares to be charged during this period.
According to the guidelines issued, all crew members of a public transport service vehicle including the driver, taxi conductors, turn-man or any crew member, shall be fully vaccinated and must always carry a COVID vaccination card while in the public service vehicle. Likewise, the crew must only allow on board passengers with vaccination cards but also ensure passengers put on face masks, wash hands or use alcohol-based sanitizers before boarding.
Taxi’s or buses found parked or loading from streets or outside the designated taxi parks or bus terminals will be impounded according to the guidelines. More so, touts and brokers are banned from taxi or bus terminals.
Gen Katumba also cautioned the travelling public to only board taxis, coasters or buses from designated taxi parks or bus terminals and not to book a ticket or pay money to anyone operating outside these places. Katumba says, he has information the crooks issue tickets at an inflated cost and later hand over passengers to buses which charge lesser fares.
“I have been informed that there are crooks that have put up booking offices outside designated taxi parks and bus terminals and are defrauding unsuspecting passengers… I have also asked police to increase deployment around taxi parks and bus terminals to guide people that need any help” Gen Katumba said.
“I wish to remind the public service operators, terminal park management and the general public that the country still faces terrorist threats and public transport is a soft target for terrorist activities. You are required to take security precautions seriously including checking all persons and luggage to be carried in public service vehicles, conducting security checks at entrances of terminals and alerting the police of any suspicious activity” He said.