Security personnel take over tall buildings in Kampala

Thursday January 14 2021
Security agents in Kampala

Military police patrolling the streets of Kampala in November 2020.

By Benson Tumusiime

The government will deploy security personnel on all rooftops of Kampala’s arcades and tall buildings to ensure security in the capital as Ugandans go to the polls today.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the security decision was informed by the violent protests witnessed in November in and around Kampala.

He said police intelligence and CCTV footage analysis indicated that people who were leading the rioters were giving instructions from rooftops. He said they used rooftops as observation posts to monitor the movement of security personnel on the ground.

“A fortnight ago, security personnel who were on routine patrol were pelted with stones that were coming from the rooftop of Nabukeera Arcade. On January 11 last year, at around 6.30pm, at Kisekka-Kyaggwe Road, security personnel who were on foot patrol were pelted with stones. On checking, they saw a man on the rooftop of the arcade aiming at them with a bow and an arrow. In self-defence, they shot him and he was injured before he later died at Mulago National Referral Hospital,” Mr Onyango said at a press conference in Kampala Wednesday.

Protect buildings

He said following such incidents, security agencies held a meeting with the business community and arcade owners to find solutions to protect the buildings, businesses, traders, customers and security personnel.

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He said the meeting was chaired by Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero and attended by military police commander, Col Keith Katungi, and other senior security personnel.

Mr Onyango said they decided that security operatives immediately take over all the rooftops of arcades and other high buildings within the capital Kampala. He said hawkers will not be allowed access to the arcades.

Vote and go

He also noted that the security agencies emphasised on the vote-and-go policy after voting today (Thursday) to avoid causing chaos at the polling stations and to observe the standard operating procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“We urge the public to come, vote and go such that we are all safe. But those who will try to bring chaos by remaining at polling stations after casting their vote shall be arrested,” Mr Onyango warned.

He added that only accredited people will be allowed inside the tallying centre such as candidates’ agents and journalists.

Mr Everest Kayondo, the chairperson of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), who also attended the said security meeting, told the press that security agencies requested the business community to enable them access the rooftops of their buildings. He said the security personnel said the rooftops had become a security threat, especially during election time.

“We have agreed to work together with security and we have allowed them to access the buildings since they have intelligence information but we have agreed that only security personnel in uniform shall be allowed to access the buildings,” Mr Kayondo said.

The military and police stepped up security in and around Kampala ahead of today’s elections.

Street patrols

Mr Onyango said police and the military are moving on foot patrolling the streets, while others are stationed along some streets known to be violence hotspots.

“We have intensified our security by putting both police, Local Defence Unit personnel, army, intelligence officers, CCTV camera operators on foot and motorised patrols to do surveillance of the city,” Mr Onyango said.

Heads of security agencies last Friday, while addressing the media at Naguru police headquarters, warned all people intending to cause chaos during and after the election that they would suffer the consequences.

Mr Adolf Mwesige, the minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, said political candidates must accept the choice of the people as declared by the EC.

“The only channel you can use to oppose the results is the courts of law and not violence. This is not the first time we are having elections,” Mr Mwesige said.


editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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