The Cabinet Minister in Charge of Kampala City, Betty Amongi has today disclosed that she is not sure of the exact date when Churches and other places of worship shall be re-opened.
The minister made these remarks during a guest appearance on Radio One’s ‘Spectrum’ Talk Show on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Speaking today, Amongi revealed that whereas they have been engaging commercial motorcyclists commonly known as boda bodas and arcade traders, they are yet to meet religious leaders.
“For the churches, we have not engaged stakeholders because in this exercise you need the people who will always be there with the population, to understand the SOPs,” she disclosed.
“We have to make an input of what and how they think they are going to enforce the standard operating procedures. So we are not talking about churches because we have not engaged them,” Amongi further stated.
Amongi said that for such a thing to happen, both parties, scientists not forsaken, must first figure out ways on how to deter the spread of Covid-19 citing the case of arcades.
“We have been engaging the arcade owners; they have made an input on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), how it will be enforced and how they will ensure compliance,” she emphasized.
It is understood that a section of Pentecostal Pastors early this month, threatened to and some executed wearing of ‘gunny bags’ as a sign of grieving if churches are not re-opened henceforth.
City Arcades opening
Explaining the delay to reopen city arcades, Amongi retorted that partly this has been blamed on tenants and owners.
Initially, she explained that President Yoweri Museveni had wanted to study the feasibility of re-opening these structures using a maximum of five arcades.
However, this proposal was shot down by tenants and landlords who unilaterally insisted for the inspection of all arcades before any further step could be taken.
“When we made a proposal to try with the five arcades, the landlords and tenants advised that it is not good to try with a few because it will cause disharmony,” Amongi said.
“It is better that we don’t do a pilot but we quickly inspect and later sit and agree whoever is ready and has complied with inspection would then be allowed to open,” she added.
However, Amongi expressed optimism at the state of many city arcades saying inspection reports by the Trade Ministry’s Public Department and Dr. Monica Musenero had shown great progress.
So far, Amongi said 48 arcades had qualified for reopening having complied with all Corona Virus safety measures whereas 36 others are awaiting approval.
“Actually we are even excited that some of them have put more modern things. Like Mukwano arcade has even put a walk-in sanitizer which has mist like one of the airports which is even more encouraging,” she intimated.
Al said and done, Amongi stated that sooner than later, they are going to report back to President Museveni on the progress of arcades.
“His instruction was only on piloting but since his directive changed with stakeholder’s involvement, we need to let him know,” she concluded.