Uganda: Heavy security deployment trigger concern

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Opposition parties in Uganda have complained about heavy deployment of
security personnel in the East African country ahead of the February 18 presidential elections.

Ugandan opposition parties say a heavy military deployment as well as the training of training peoples militia groups around the country is disturbing.

In Kampala city, hundreds of heavily armed policemen in new uniforms have been deployed to patrol the streets of the capital on a 24 hour basis.

Some believe that the security personnel are to be used in rigging the forthcoming elections.

Speaking on behalf of the opposition, Ambrose Bwire, a campaign official
for Dr Kiiza Besigye, the main opponent of incumbet President Yoweri Museveni said: “There are soldiers and policemen everywhere in the
city. The government is training thousands of young men upcountry to
rig elections.”

But Uganda police chief, Kale Kayihura has refuted the allegatons. According to him “the deployments are normal. They are meant to guard civilians against terrorists.”

Kayihura explains that the youths being trained in different parts of the country are “peace keeping volunteers” meant to “work with police in keeping law and order”.

Fear mongering

On July 11th 2010 over 70 people who had gathered together to watch the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa on television died when suicide bombers hit two places in Kampala.

Since the al-shabaab claimed twin bombings, the Uganda government has used the incident as a reason to deploy heavily armed security forces around the country.

But Haji Munyagwa, an opposition aspirant for chairmanship of a local council has sued President Museveni’s government in court over the heavy security deployment.

As many in the opposition political sphere claim that the government is resorting to fear mongering as an electoral campaign tool, Munyagwa’s lawyers have called for a freeze on further security recruitment as well as the arming of militia groups in the name of crime prevention.

“My supporters are being intimidated by the heavy deployment of armed security personnel. I highly believe that the heavy deployment is meant to intimidate the electorate to vote in favor of a particular group” Munyagwa said.

With the Presidential and general elections only three away, court is yet to set a date for the hearing of Haji Munyagwa’s petition.

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