By Simon Masaba
The Police have appealed to the Christian leadership of the Uganda Martyrs shrine Namugongo in Wakiso district to consider installing projector screens during celebrations so as to decongest the place.
Kampala metropolitan police boss Felix Kaweesi without quoting figures said due to the huge population, there were numerous incidents of people fainting as they tried to access place. None was fatal.
Police struggle to contain crowds on June 3. Photos/Steven Musoke
“The pilgrims can celebrate mass outside the shrine and follow the proceedings on the projector screens from wherever they are,” Kaweesi said.
The celebrations, he said, drew over two million people and that by the end of the service, there were still queues of people stretching up to the nearby Kyaliwajala trading centre, trying to access the venue.
He said it is in view of averting such scenarios and potential accidents in future that the management of the place should consider installing projector screens.
He also appealed to the management to improve the toilet and sanitation facilities at the place; create an emergency road in addition to creating one major exit point.
Police boss Felix Kaweesi amidst a crowd of people struggling to access the shrine
However, Father Joseph Mukasa Muwonge, the promoter of the devotion of the Uganda Martyrs Kampala Archdiocese said the appeal by the Police has already been taken care of in the new redevelopment plan that seeks to upgrade and turn around the place, giving it a tourist appeal.
A pilgrim is carried away after fainting at Namugongo
“The President pledged to help us in this project," Muwonge said, adding that to enable the redevelopments, Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga had made an appeal to all Christians countrywide to make a monthly contribution of sh 1000 towards the cause.
Speaking about the policing of the June 3 celebrations, Kaweesi described them as one of the most successful in recent times with only 105 cases registered as compared to 150 the previous year.
Another pilgrim is carried to safety after fainting
He attributed to the sharp fall in crime to a number of factors among them the collaboration between security agencies, security deployment ten days before the celebrations and expanded surveillance stretching as far as Mukono district.
Following a rigorous screening exercise, the Police he said, had remained with 43 cases and 43 suspects in custody, pending appearing in court.
Like wise, he said, there was a reduction in traffic accidents with four major accidents registered this time as compared to ten last year.
There were eight cases of children getting lost but later reunited with their families. “At the moment there is no one stranded here,” he said.
Police, he said, would do a postmortem of the policing of the celebrations with the view of improving number of things among them, networking with other security agencies in order to better police the event in future.