Uganda: Thousands Flock Sironko District for Independence Day Celebrations Amid Tight Security

Residents and leaders from all walks of life have this morning started arriving at Sironko District headquarters which is the venue for today's Independence celebrations.

This year's Independence anniversary is under the theme: "Consolidation of National Unity, Security, Freedom and Prosperity", and is expected to be presided over by President Museveni. The Zimbabwe president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who arrived in the country on Tuesday evening, will be the chief guest.

By 7am on Wednesday, residents and local leaders from different villages across Bugisu sub region had started flocking to the venue in large numbers to witness the celebrations.

The UPDF spokesperson, Brigadier Richard Karemire said all is set and security is tight.

"We are ready to celebrate the day when we got our independence. I only urge people to turn up in big numbers, we guarantee them safety and security," he said.

Brig Karemire explained that Mr Museveni invited Mr Mnangagwa because of the historical relationship between Uganda and Zimbabwe.

"We have a strong historical relationship with Zimbabwe and the country's leadership played a great role in the liberation of African countries," he said.

The Sironko Resident District Commissioner, Mr Isaac Lulaba, told Daily Monitor that they have put in place all measures to guarantee security to people and to ensure that the function goes on without any interruptions.

He explained that the venue will be manned by both uniformed and plain-clothed security personnel and urged people to cooperate with them.

"There is heavy deployment. We have plain-clothed security personnel who are surveying the area together with local council leaders, and we are networking with all intelligence agencies to ensure peace prevails," Mr Lulaba said.

He added that they have put in place traffic diversions at certain points to prevent accidents.

"Due to the fact that the hosting ground is along the highway, we have come up with diversion centres at Konta from Mbale and another one at Total from Moroto through Bukhulo Sub County," Mr Lulaba said.

By Tuesday evening, the venue was a beehive of activities and business was booming in both Sironko town council and Mbale town.

Most of the guest houses visited by Daily Monitor in Sironko town council including Little Venance, Marine Terrace, Jose Maria Motel and Farm Key, had all their rooms already booked.

Ms Rose Namataka, who operates a restaurant business in Sironko town council, said their sales had increased because of the big numbers of people flocking to the area.

"I used to make Shs70,000 as profits but today, I got over Shs300,000. I am happy and I wish it was like this every day," she said.

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