KAMPALA –The ‘tajja layira’ – an opposition leaning expression, seem to have grabbed unprecedented attention, inside and outside the boundaries of Uganda – a feat that has forced the country’s security organs to swing into action, days to President Yoweri Museveni’s swearing –in, which happened moments ago at the Kololo Independent Grounds.
Chief Justice – Alphonse Owiny Dollo, guided President Museveni is in swearing -in for a sixth term of office at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds – at an ongoing function that has attracted over ten heads of state, mainly from the Africa continent.
The Kololo function, where an expected 4000 guests are in attendance, follows the January 14 General Election exercise, which Mr Museveni won with 58.64% of the total valid votes cast.
President Museveni, who came into power in 1986 through a people’s protracted war, beat 10 other candidates to victory, which the opposition has since disputed – leading to the connotation ‘tajja layira’ – loosely translated to mean ‘he won’t be sworn-in as the next president.’ – a wish, that has since, failed to turn into a reality.
As security agencies prepared for the Kololo fnction, several measures – including arrests as well as public alerts were effected.
Army Deputy Spokesman, Col. Deo Akiiki confirmed during a joint security press conference at the Police Headquarters – Naguru, earlier in the week, that at number of suspects had been taken into custody after initial intelligence reports, linked them to plans to disrupt the Kololo ceremony, and general peace in other parts of the country.
Other sources revealed that at least 70 suspects were taken into custody at different security establishments – including the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence – CMI in Mbuya as well as the Special Investigations Division – SID, Kireka.
Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, had earlier on Monday confirmed the arrest of 41 people, suspected of planning cause havoc on Mr Museveni’s inauguration day.
“We have so far taken 70 suspects into custody for planning to cause chaos on swearing-in day. Several people were picked up last on Monday and more could be rounded up,” said a source.
Col Akiiki said the deployment of the military alongside the police, during the swearing-in ceremony was in line their responsibilities of assuring total peace in the country.
“As we prepare for inauguration and swearing of the president-elect, under our joint security architecture, we have heightened our support to civil authority to ensure the swearing of the new president is secure and safe for any guest. UPDF has put at disposal all its elements to the police,” said Col Akiiki.
As the day to the swearing-in ceremony closed in, an increase in the deployment of uniformed and plain-clothed security personnel in various parts of Kampala was noticeable. Similarly, the military was deployed in Kasangati – the home town to two most popular opposition figures – Rtd Col. Dr Kizza Besigye as well as Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
The deployment of security was extended to the two leaders’ residences, possibly to restraint any activities that would disrupt the Kololo function, though Col. Akiiki was quick to claim that arrangement was based on the fact that ‘these were very important figure’ in society.
In quite a related development, police warned that members of the general public, who violate the set-up curfew regulations would be face consequences including – arrests, fines and penalties, irrespective of whether one is a driver, rider, passenger or occupant.
“In addition, all proprietors of fuel stations who continue to park motor vehicles and motorcycles, will be subjected to further investigations, on parking authorisations, as we arrange to impound all motor vehicles and motorcycles parked at respective fuel stations,” warned Enanga in a press release.
“These are tough but necessary measures, aimed at protecting the health, safety and security of all Ugandans and visitors in the country,” he added.