Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Abubaker Jeje Odongo has clarified that a Police circular exempting Muslims from curfew guidelines during the Holy month of Ramadhan was issued in error and has been expunged.
During plenary on April 13, 2021, the August House was briefly plunged into confusion when Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament (MP) Asuman Basalirwa pointed out this contradicting communication minutes after Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda disclosed that cabinet had rejected proposals to lift curfew.
“Yesterday, Afande Ochom issued a circular to all RPCs, DPCs and Commanders calling on them not to inconvenience the Muslim Community beyond the curfew hours. I have that communication on my phone and when we received it, there was a sigh of relief in the Muslim community,” Basalirwa submitted.
“Ochom was saying that Muslims will find themselves praying beyond 9 O’clock and that if they are found moving beyond that time, they should not be inconvenienced,” he further alluded.
Responding to the matter, however, Odongo, who was visibly surprised, trashed this communique henceforth and maintained that all Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) remain in effect.
“The second point I would like to explain is the matter of a message sent by AIGP Edward Ochom, Director of Operations of Police to extend curfew beyond 10 pm,” he intimated.
“I want to let you know that that message was sent in error, it has already been withdrawn because he (Ochom) is not authorized first of all to make such pronouncements. So it was made in error and has been withdrawn,” Odongo reiterated.
He told MPs that he promised to seriously reprimand Police Officers who have been extorting and assaulting citizens during curfew hours.
“I would like to inform you colleagues that we have taken note of these heinous acts. On Thursday this week, I will be chairing the Police Authority and we will be taking action on officers we have already identified as culpable in this matter,” Odongo assured.
Meanwhile, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga wondered whether Covid-19 only spreads at night deducting from complacency in enforcing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
“We had campaigns in this country, three months of campaign. Did it lead to a spike in infections? What is so special about 9 pm 6 am (curfew)?” Kadaga posed.