The presence of the army and other security agencies in the city is aimed at safeguarding Parliament from enemy forces, Ruth Nankabirwa, the Government Chief Chip, has said.
Since Monday this week, there has been heavy deployment of soldiers and policemen at Parliament. This was after some legislators opposed to the amendment of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution to lift the Presidential age limit threatened to rally the public to camp at Parliament when the matter is brought up for discussion.
The move to amend legislation mirrors similar tactics used in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic Congo to extend limits, a trend that has alarmed democracy watchdogs.
Nankabirwa said government could not look on as people were planning mischief.
The bill seeking to amend Article 102 (b) was expected to be tabled today but the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, adjourned Parliament alleging that Members of Parliament were not willing to sit and the Speaker was not willing to chair the session.
The United States government through its embassy in Kampala city has condemned the ongoing arrest of political leaders and some locals over denouncing the lifting of the Presidential age limit.
The US embassy in a tweet message said the raids on NGOs and infringement on people’s rights is unwarranted.
Meanwhile, some Opposition leaders including Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Democratic Party president Nobert Mao were still under police custody by press time.
Police have also raided the premises of at least two pro-democracy organisations in Kampala, including that of the local unit of Johannesburg-based ActionAid International.
Security personnel blockaded staff inside their offices late on Wednesday and conducted searches, staff members of the organisations told Reuters.
“There was intelligence that we got that they received funding for people who are planning to cause chaos and violence,” Kasingye said.
The Lord Mayor was arrested from his home in Wakaliga, a Kampala surburb, while Mao was arrested near Parliamentary premises after he refused to remove the T-shirt he was wearing that had inscriptions reading; Togikwatako, literally meaning do not amend the Constitution.
Groups of students at Makerere, a public university in the capital Kampala, had rallied to start marching towards parliament before police dispersed them with teargas.
“We are not going to allow anybody to hold protest marches. The teargas was to deter that,” police spokesman Asan Kasingye said.