By Fred Kiva, Kampala
Police will deploy over 2000personnel around Kampala during East African Community Arts and Culture Festival.
The festival activities kicked off today (Thursday) with a press conference at the Uganda Media Center, during which Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesperson Luke Owesigyire revealed that both plain clothed and uniformed officers will be deployed to ensure a peaceful event.
“Police will work hand in hand with sister security agencies to ensure that no wrong elements take advantage of the festival to destabilize the country. We urge the people to be vigilant,” Owesigyire cautioned.
The Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Pius Bigirimana, said the festival will attract arts and culture participants from the Six East African Community member states of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and the host Uganda.
“The long awaited JAMAFEST is starting today. This festival was agreed upon by a council of Ministers of East Africa, It is held on a two year rotational basis starting with Rwanda in 2013 and now Uganda’s turn in 2017,” Bigirimana revealed.
Bigirimana added that “the event also provides a platform to foster social cultural cohesion among East Africans, as part of the regional Federation.”
Dressed in a traditional Kanzu, Bigirimana said the festival will give Uganda an opportunity to promote its rich diverse cultural heritage to the outside world. The event is being held under the theme: “Culture and the creative industries; the engine for unity and employment creation.”
Bigirimana said the theme speaks for government’s effort to tackle the unemployment problem. “All these are avenues meant to address the unemployment question in Uganda. We need to explore our communities existing talents for economic development,” he emphasized.
Each of the participating states is sending at least 250 participants. Bigirimana revealed that some have already arrived. The event will officially be opened by President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday at Kololo Ceremonial grounds. It runs from September 7 to 14.
The festival activities will include a carnival and comedy, visual arts and exhibition stalls, film shows, children’s theater and games, visiting of tourism sites and awards to participants among others.
The Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Traffic Commander, Israel Wambesyo revealed that there will be diversion on some roads in Kampala to ease the traffic flow which will be effected from the midnight of Saturday to Sunday midnight.
“There will be traffic diversion along Jinja Road Traffic Lights, Station Road, Dowinton Road, UBC Round about, Apollo Kaggwa road, Colville Street, Pilkington, Standard Chartered Round about, High Court Round about, Lumumba Avenue square, Watoto Church Round about, Burton Street Round about, Market Street and Nasser/Nkrumah Road,” said Wambesyo.