I would like on my own behalf and on the behalf of the entire police force, to wish all Muslims in Uganda and around the world, a happy and blessed holy month of Ramadan. As you are all aware, Ramadan is a month of worship, self-reflection, sharing, peace and renewal, which are tenets to the practice of fasting.
This year, Ramadan falls during a dangerous period of the corona virus whose transmission is facilitated by close contact between people, through respiratory droplets and contacts with contaminated surfaces. It is therefore, a very different and difficult experience for the Muslims community in Uganda, as they adapt to changes in the religious and cultural practices in line with the social distancing measures in place. The corona virus has affected 210 countries and territories around the world, with 2,639,025 cases, 184263 deaths 722,150 recoveries. In Uganda, as by today the total cases registered were 63, with zero deaths and 45 recoveries, leaving a balance of 18 active cases.
It is therefore, a tough time due to the continued rapid spread of the corona virus across the globe. The UPF in close coordination with its sister security agencies, is committed to enforcing government’s initiatives, by actively supporting the Ministry of Health in mitigating the public health impact, of the corona virus in Uganda. This led to the ban of public gatherings that culminated into the closure of all mosques and restriction on movement, which has direct implication on social and religious gatherings that are very pertinent during Ramadan.
As a result, I find it appropriate for us all to reflect on the progress that has been registered in the fight against the spread of the corona virus in Uganda. We therefore call upon the Muslim leadership to consider all the directives and guidelines issued by H.E The President and Ministry of Health that include; social distancing, proper hygiene and other measures related to the covid-19 in the context of the Ramadan.
We further urge them to use all alternative platforms like TV, Radio, digital and social media, to remind all Muslims to practice social distancing by strictly maintaining a distance of 4 meters between people at all times, use of cultural and religiously sanctioned greetings that avoid physical contact such as waving, nodding or placing hands over the heart , avoid people gathered in groups of more than 5, ensure older people and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases etc. avoid contact since they are vulnerable to severe disease and infection from the covid-19.
In addition, ensure healthy hygiene is maintained by thoroughly washing hands with soap and water within our homes, use of disposable tissues and safe disposal of waste, use of personal prayer rugs, enforce routine cleaning of prayer places where families gather, using detergents and disinfectants, frequently clean often touched objects such as door knobs, light switches, all surfaces with detergents and disinfectants. And those who carry out physical exercises, to practice indoors or make use of the online physical activity classes.
As always, those who may wish to give special attention to the most vulnerable can consider making donations through the Task Force or communal arrangements while adhering to social distancing.
At this time of devotion, the UPF continues to advocate for peace, safety and rule of law. We shall therefore, work with all Muslim leaders too address and respond to all concerns of crimes and safety. Although crime has drastically reduced, cases of mob justice, and domestic violence, particularly against women, children and marginalized people are still high. We urge all the Muslim leaders to actively speak out against such acts of violence.
It is therefore, my hope and prayer that all Muslims and Ugandans can translate the common values of peace, love and compassion which are tenets of Islam into action by observing the guidelines and directives for a better future for all Ugandans.
For any enquiries, you may contact any nearby Police Station, the Security Task Force on toll free line 0800300100, 0713250391, 0714012734 or Whatsapp our National Command Center on 0779999999.
I wish to further, reiterate that the UPF continues its commitment to its constitutional mandate of protecting all Ugandans by facilitating the efforts of the Ministry of Health to achieve a Uganda that is free of covid-19.
J.M Okoth- Ochola, (Esq.)
Inspector General of Police
23rd April, 2020