Heavy deployment in major towns ahead of Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony
Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The army and police have maintained deployment in major towns of the country ahead of President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.
URN reporters in Masaka, Jinja, Mbale, Hoima, Luwero and West Nile have observed unusual deployment of anti-riot police and Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF soldiers patrolling the towns in anticipation of possible protests by opposition supporters.
In Masaka City and Kyotera district, anti-riot policemen and soldiers have been deployed on major roads entering the town as well as tightening patrols on streets.
According to residents, the security personnel began operations on Monday night with heightened enforcement of curfew. By 8:00 pm, residents were being chased off the streets and told to go home.
Hajj Moses Ddumba, the Kyotera Resident District Commissioner says they obtained intelligence that some opposition groups are planning to stage protests during the swearing-in ceremony, prompting security to be on standby. He says they have identified security hot spots where they have put much focus, to ensure public safety.
He says that they have also been instructed to strictly enforce Covid-19 guidelines following the reported increase in the new cases.
But Joseph Kasirye, the National Unity Platform- NUP Registrar for Greater Masaka sub-region has described the deployed as opportunistic, only intended to draw money for selfish gains and causing unnecessary anxiety.
According to Kasirye, they have not planned any protests on the day.
In Luwero town council there has been heavy deployment of security personnel after the area which formerly belonged to NRM fell to opposition in the January elections.
Several people have since been arrested since campaigns for allegedly protesting against Museveni as well as defying security guidelines.
In Luweero District, Museveni garnered 41,166 votes (27.94 per cent) against his closest rival, Robert Kyagulanyi, aka, Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform, who garnered 103,782 votes (70.45 per cent).
Isah Ssemwogerere the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson indicates that the deployment is intended to keep law and order in the town ahead of the President’s swearing-in ceremony.
“You have heard people saying the President won’t swear in, so we couldn’t take it lightly too. We have deployed to stop such people creating chaos in town “Ssemwogerere said.
In Hoima City, the Albertine Regional Police Spokesperson Julius Hakiza says their deployment is aimed at averting any possible demonstrations by National Unity Platform supporters who have since disputed the results of the Presidential elections.
James Mubi, the Spokesperson of Busoga East Policing Region explains that their deployment was done based on threat assessments obtained through intelligence sources.
In West Nile region in the districts of Koboko, Maracha, Pakwach and Zombo, roadblocks have been introduced to check all vehicles and people entering the districts.
Jimmy Anguyo, the acting police spokesperson for the greater West Nile region, says that the deployments are meant to ensure that eventualities do not happen before, during and after the swearing-in of President Museveni.
Festus Ayikobua the RDC Arua says that they have received intelligence reports of a group led by one person identified as Katende who is allegedly recruiting and mobilizing people to cause chaos on Wednesday.
According to Ayikobua, they are now tracking the mobilizers believed to have come from Central, Western and Eastern parts of the country.
But Safi Alema Tiyo the chairman of Arua Boda Boda Association and coordinator of Boda Boda Industry in Uganda has dismissed allegations that Boda Bodas in Arua and West Nile are being used by wrong elements to cause chaos.
Safi wonders how the same people who voted President Museveni can again turn around and be a threat.
According to security reports, the West Nile border with Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan are currently being monitored in addition to foot patrols in all the towns in West Nile.