Security is tightened at Parliament, with intensified checkups for members of Parliament, parliamentary staff and visitors. The development follows a security lapse that led to the entry of two youth demonstrators with piglets into the precincts of Parliament a week ago.
Today, as enforcement of new security guidelines took effect, long queues were visible at the Main gate of parliament where a registration book has been put up for all persons. Visitors are also required to list their phone contacts, vehicle number plates and any properties in their possession.
Helen Kaweesa, the Public Relations Manager at Parliament explains that as part of the new restrictions imposed on individuals and vehicles accessing parliament, entry through the North Wing gate of Parliament and the Gate to the new President’s Office will now be restricted to the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.
She added that all other vehicles now access Parliament and the New President’s Office through the Main gate at the South Wing. At the moment, only vehicles belonging to staff of parliament, MPs and Parliament Vehicles are allowed entry.
Meanwhile, a cross section of members of Parliament have expressed discomfort with the new security guidelines saying that they are time consuming, unfriendly and could delay Parliament sittings.
Benson Obua Ogwal, the Moroto County legislator says that the piglets’ demonstration was an isolated case which should not be used to impose restrictions on members of the public wishing to visit parliament. He says instead, the incident should be investigated thoroughly without curtailing access to Parliament.
Similarly, Shadow Minister for Defence and Security Hassan Kaps Fungaroo observed that the new security measures are excessive, inappropriate and do not serve the purpose. He says its meaningless for the security officers to conduct a checkup without the required equipment to detect explosives and other dangerous equipment. He adds that instead government should consider addressing the issues raised by the demonstrators as opposed to suppressing public opinion.
However Ndorwa West MP David Bahati defends the move saying that the security officers were doing a good job with the checking. He calls for increased deployment of security officers to fasten the checking.
Meanwhile, Helen kaweesa explained that Parliament hopes to procure a more sophisticated security system to ease the checkups.