Ugandans can now afford a smile after President Yoweri Museveni allowed public transport to open for business with effect from Thursday 4th June 2020.
In his speech this evening, the President announced that only 40 border districts will not have public transport. Even districts bordering Lakes Albert, Kyoga and Victoria, fall in this category.
Taxis, trains, buses will open for business, on condition that they carry only half their capacity and a driver plus the conductor, whose job will be to open doors and help passengers sanitize.
“All passengers, the driver and conductor must wear face masks at all time” the President warned.
Meanwhile, boda bodas and tuk tuks will not be allowed to carry passengers, but will stick to cargo as has been the case during the loc down.
With the opening of public transport, the traffic jam in Kampala is expected to be abnormal, but the President insists the curfew will remain in place from 7pm to 6:30am every day.
However, parents with students and pupils in candidate classes have to wait for an extra one month as it is a complicated matter. The president says the country does not have enough test kits to test 1.4 million students, and that even if this were possible, they would have to deal with day scholars, teachers who have to go back home and return, plus those in boarding schools who may be unable to keep distance.
Earlier, president Museveni had promised to open schools for candidate classes on 4th June, the same day public transport returns to work. He now says children should keep studying on TV and radio, promising that government will provide 2 TV sets per village, to help children in villages who may not have the luxury of owning them.
It remains unclear whether government will also buy solar panels for these villages, as many do not have electricity.
Also, government is yet to secure free masks promised to all Ugandans above the age of 6 years. The president says that factories are beginning to manufacture these masks this week and that they also may not be enough for everyone.
According to Mr. Museveni, they will start distributing the masks to border districts as these may need them more than the rest. The exercise will start on 10th June.
He also said they will continue distribution of free food as phase two kicks off. He warned those who already received the food not to lie, so as to benefit twice.
Meanwhile, salons, bars, gyms will remain closed. The president also appealed to Religious leaders to keep using TV for prayers. Public meetings are also still banned.