Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security agencies have banned the use of fireworks, burning tyres and overnight prayers as Ugandans usher in the New Year, 2022.
These have been common rituals on New Year’s eve, bringing together thousands of revelers from across the country to celebrate the end of the year and welcome the new year in style. But in the wake of government restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19, bars which often were licensed to display fireworks have officially remained closed, and the country is still under a nighttime curfew that starts at 7pm and runs until 5:30am.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that with such restrictions in place, every person is expected to be indoors on New Year’s eve. He adds that the security agencies will deploy personnel in various places to ensure that no one is walking, driving or operating restricted businesses like bars during curfew time.
“We want to inform the public, proprietors of hotels, gardens and dealers that fireworks are cancelled due to uncertainties caused by COVID-19,” Enanga said and advised hotel owners, homes and other business operators to adopt new measures of ushering in a New Year.
Before COVID-19 hit Uganda and the world at large, police often cleared 500 to 1000 venues across the country to use fireworks as a way of welcoming the New Year. Bars that have been under lock and key for close to two years have been warned not to risk the lives of people by organizing events for celebrating the New Year.
Clerics who normally organize crossover prayer events at Kololo, Namboole or inside their churches have also not been spared. Security has warned that no person is expected to be found at church during curfew hours. “All church leaders, pastors are reminded that all crossover prayers marked by millions to usher in New year have also been cancelled,” Enanga said.
Police and sister security agencies have been arresting at least 1400 pedestrians every week for walking past curfew hours. Enanga said such operations will be intensified on New Year’s eve. In order to avoid spending the night in police cells, the public has been advised to plan for their movement early enough because the operations will start at 7 pm promptly.