The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) says workers of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) must be included in the essential service providers to ensure full enforcement of the lockdown.
In a press release signed by four officials of the Chamber, they called on the President “to officially make a public pronouncement to include some selected staff of the MMDAs to enable them formulate specific by-laws to deal internally with some of the aforementioned infractions to enforce the appropriate social distancing protocols for the COVID 19 prevention”.
The ChaLoG said it was not impressed with the obvious non-involvement of the local government authorities prior to the announcement of the lockdown and the conspicuous exclusion of the local government authorities in the Presidential directives on people who were mandated to continue rendering services during the lockdown.
They added that as a result of the exclusion of the MMDAs from the exempted service, the partial lockdown was largely successful in terms of reducing the vehicular movements on the principal streets, but failed to get the residents in the affected areas to stay home in the strictest sense of the word.
They indicated that the MMDAs were unable to properly plan as they were also left out of the pre-planning towards the lockdown making it impossible for them to initiate and pass specific by-laws to enforce social distancing especially in the markets and commercial bus terminals which were fairly within the authority of the MMDAs.
“As a result, many of the Task Forces of the affected MMDAs which could have easily been carried out the strict enforcement of social distancing had to be home for nearly 3-4 days because the MMDAs were not exempted by the presidential directives”.
The alleged that the non-involvement of the MMDAs also resulted in breaches within some inner communities in blatant disregard for the COVID 19 Protocols some of which included operation of drinking spots and gaming centres where people gathered in their numbers
Other breaches were playing of non-competitive football, volley ball and basketball on certain community parks and open spaces where people go out to go and watch, people gathering at open spaces and under trees to play draft and other indoor games which attracted people staying close to each other.
“The begging questions, ChaLoG wishes to ask government if local authorities are not considered as essential service providers are, which institution will supervise the activities of food vendors on sanitation and good hygienic conditions, which institution will monitor the operation of public toilets on public hygiene and which institution will monitor the sanitary conditions in our markets, lorry parks and communities”?