Army, police search vehicles to and from Kampala

Military police officers patrol the streets of Kampala. The capital city remained deserted after the announcement of the presidential results with a heavy security presence. Photo by DAI KUROKAWA


The army and police have maintained a security ring around Kampala, searching vehicles driving into and from the city.
Security checks have been set up at Namanve, seven miles from Kampala and at Kanyanya about five miles from the capital on Gayaza Road.

Namanve is located at the boundary of Wakiso and Mukono districts. It’s on the Kampala-Jinja highway, a gateway to the East and the coast where most of Uganda’s goods from Mombasa port pass.
Kanyanya township is on Gayaza Road that leads to Kasangati, the home of the key Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye, who police has since Saturday confined to his house. The road also leads to Luweero District via Gayaza-Zirobwe road.

On spot checks by Daily Monitor established that the police and army deployed were searching the occupants of mainly privately-owned vehicles leaving and heading to Kampala City. The luggage and occupants were scrutinised.

In other areas visited such as Kyengera on the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara road leading to the west and Lubigi Swamp on Hoima road leading to the northwest, there was heavy presence of military and police at roundabouts that connect to Kampala.
For instance, at the Busega roundabout, the entry point for vehicles from Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal and Masaka-Mbarara, the deployment was noticeable.

Yesterday, police spokesperson Fred Enanga could not be reached for a comment. However, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango justified the deployment.

“We got information that there are people who have been organised to converge on major trading centres in Kampala to begin violence and destablise the country. We had to deploy to avert that,” Mr Onyango said.

He added: “We wanted people who had won in the elections to celebrate without being attacked by those that lost. We are also providing security for those who have lost to mourn in peace. Those who won could attack them.”

On searching vehicles entering the city, Mr Onyango said there were intelligence reports that some people had been mobilised to come from upcountry and join those in Kampala to cause violence.
“They planned to move in groups with sticks and other crude equipment. The public should not get worried, security is there for their safety,” Mr Onyango explained
There have been fears that last Thursday’s election would end in violence regardless of who wins.

The deployment began on the eve of the elections and intensified on election day. Prior to the deployment, Opposition politicians had been urging their supporters to prepare to defend their vote at all costs. Both the Opposition and the ruling party presidential candidates accused each other of a ploy to rig the February 18 elections.

President Museveni repeatedly said there will be no chaos and those who indulge in such activities will be ‘put in the cooler.’
FDC presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye ran a campaign of defiance saying change would not be achieved by bowing to illegalities and deprivation of rights by the government.

The situation
Kampala has largely been abandoned with little traffic and security forces patrolling the city center. Despite the Electoral Commission’s declaration of President Museveni as winner of the Thursday election, there were no spontaneous celebrations. Most shops and key businesses remained closed. Police and the military patrolled the deserted streets.