Several Moroto cooperatives involved in the food business have been forced to close their doors following a cholera outbreak in the district.
When a national ban on gatherings was announced as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus, cooperators and members of savings and loans associations in Moroto Municipality were among the most affected.
Noting that the presidential directive permitted restaurants to continue in operation on condition that they only provided takeaway services, many cooperative groups rushed to open up restaurants, with the hope of soon resuming savings.
It seemed like an inspired move as business thrived, and indeed, by last week most saving groups in Moroto had resumed.
However, an outbreak of cholera in the district has blocked this income source for cooperators as Moroto Municipality authorities shut down all the takeaway restaurants and closed several lodges without pit latrines.
Isaiah Tumwesigye, the Town Clerk of Moroto Municipality, led the team that closed about 100 takeaway restaurants and locked up several rental properties without pit latrines.
Tumwesigye said that the outbreak, which has claimed five lives so far and led to the hospitalisation of dozens, is caused by the practice of open defecation that is widespread in Moroto Municipality.
The Town Clerk defended the decision as the only way to stop the spread of cholera and prevent it from wreaking more damage on the municipality.
“When you look at the statistics on latrine coverage in Moroto municipality, it’s very poor. About 20 landlords have no pit latrine, making it hard for the municipality to fight against water-borne disease,” he said.
Jessica Nakut a member of Amorican Village Savings and Loans Association, one of those that had resorted to the food business for the period of the lockdown, told theCooperator that the closure of their restaurants has taken them back to zero.
“God should really help us because we don’t know where to start from. Whichever ways we attempt in order to maintain our savings eventually get blocked,” she said.
Johnson Omoding, the Chairperson of Acholi Community Savings and Loans Group in Moroto said they had very recently opened up a restaurant in a bid to save some money for school fees since the president had stated that students in candidate classes would soon return to school.
“Now we are stuck. The outbreak of this cholera disease has worsened our daily earnings. We were able to get something small out of preparing takeaway food, but now that too is closed,” he said.