Only vaccinated officers, civilians to access Uganda police headquarters

IGP Ochola bans police officers from driving personal cars during lockdown
Inspector-General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Persons who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer allowed access to Naguru police headquarters, according to the new directives by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola.

Counter-terrorism teams guarding the entrance are restricting people from going beyond the gate without proof of vaccination. Staff at the police headquarters said a directive has been issued by the IGP that a COVID-19 vaccination card must be the gate pass for both civilians and police personnel.

At the start of its implementation, the officers stopped a vehicle in which an Assistant Superintendent of Police-ASP, was being chauffeured and demanded the ASP who falls in the senior category and driver to first present their vaccination cards. Even though the policeman was allowed to drive in, the officers boldly told their senior that the next time he goes to police headquarters, he must present proof of vaccination.

The police health services directorate headed by Dr Moses Byaruhanga on March 24, launched a vaccination drive of its personnel purposely targeting all those aged 50 years and above as well personnel with pre-existing conditions.

Although IGP Ochola and his deputy Maj Gen Paul Lokech got vaccinated, several police officers particularly those in Kampala metropolitan dodged the exercise.

Ministry of health gave 20,000 AstraZeneca doses to the police force but others were vaccinated under local government arrangements.

Police figures of vaccinated officers in KMP indicate more than 5,000 dodged being vaccinated which was being conducted at CID headquarters at Kibuli. Close to 20,000 policemen and women were not vaccinated since the doses were not enough by May.

But a Corporal working in one of the directorates at police headquarters expressed concern that they are being forced to get vaccinated against their will. “I will not get the COVID-19 jab. They launched the vaccination from here but I did not get it because I don’t want it. I can’t be forced to get vaccinated,” a policeman said.

One of the counter-terrorism officers guarding Naguru police headquarters said starting next week, no one will be allowed to enter the premises unless they have physical vaccination cards. The directive will also affect journalists covering events at the police headquarters.

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“First, we have a list of journalists who will be covering police activities during this lockdown. But we will need to see your COVID-19 vaccination card. If you don’t have it next week, you will not go past this gate even if I have your name on this paper,” a policeman said.

Even though police have remained cagey on the latest figures on COVID-19 cases among its personnel, sources at Naguru police headquarters say Ochola took a decision that only 20 per cent of personnel attached to various directorates should continue working physically.

Others have been ordered to stay home and those who were not vaccinated should return after being vaccinated. Ochola’s decision follows CID director Grace Akullo, who sent staff home after reportedly noticing that almost every department and unit had Covid-19 cases. At CID, most offices are under lock and key even after massive fumigation.