Last Sunday's prayers at various churches in Kampala passed off peacefully, despite heightened fears, following the July 01 terrorist attacks on worshipers in Kenya. But although police had promised tougher security measures, the prayers exposed a wide gap in levels of security alertness between the various churches.
At Lubaga's Miracle Centre cathedral, the born-again Christians were not taking any chances, stopping vehicles about 200 metres from the church. Our reporter, who arrived shortly before 9am, had his car thoroughly checked, from the seat-covers to the boot. The occupants of all vehicles had to move out for body checks.
And at the entrance to the church compound, worshipers were required to walk through a metal detector, with further body scanning for anyone attracting a warning beep.
"Sometimes we check, sometimes not so much," a plainclothes youth told our reporter, when asked if the checks were routine.
It was the same story at St Paul's cathedral, Namirembe - uniformed policemen with a vehicle-scanning mirror at the main gate, and body checks just outside the church.
"We have to check more, as you know, because of what happened in Kenya," said one uniformed police officer, as two men hurried past. The officer quickly ordered them back to be checked, earning their disapproving frowns.
But there was no such 'inconvenience' at Lubaga Catholic cathedral, which sits next to a police post. Worshipers drove and walked in and out at leisure.
"They had started checking sometime back but now they stopped the checks," said a boy selling prayer-brochures at Lubaga.
It would seem, however, that the police simply lowered the level of alertness. The acting parish priest, Fr Francis Lubanga, said the Church had bought the metal detectors and the police were supposed to check at the beginning of every mass.
There was also no visible security checks at Christ the King church in the city centre. Our reporter, though, noticed tough-faced plainclothes men who seemed busier looking at those praying than saying their own prayers.