Police clears 1970 venues for New Year’s fireworks display

Kampala, (UG): Police have cleared 1970 venues to display end-of-year fireworks on Sunday night as the country welcomes the new year 2024 but the number of cleared venues could increase since there are more applicants seeking clearance.

The venues including churches, bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, guest houses, and tourism sites were cleared by the Inspector General of Police, Martin Ochola through the Directorate of Operations Services (OPS), headed by Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) John Nuwagira.

IGP Ochola has instructed Regional Police Commanders, District Police Commanders, Division Police Commanders, and Officers in Charge Stations to visit the approved venues to ensure they comply with the guidelines.

According to the guidelines, the venue must have enough space to display fireworks, and away from inflammable substances and liquids such as petrol and gas cylinders.

While addressing journalists on Wednesday at the police headquarters in Naguru, the force spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga, said those who display fireworks without clearance will be charged as provided for in the Explosives Act of 1936 (revised in 2000).

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He said the approved venues should also be away from congested residential areas, have at least 10 fire extinguishers, and have adequate entrance and exit routes.

Enanga said police commanders have been directed to cancel any fireworks display at all venues that do not meet the set guidelines.

The Police spokesperson explained that the guidelines are intended to avoid a recap of what transpired at Freedom City at Namasuba along Entebbe road where 11 people died during the end of last year’s fireworks display stampede.

This Sunday’s fireworks will be distributed by eight companies which include Fesco Ltd owned by Festu Bandeeba, Extremes Events Services Ltd owned by Michael Mugera, Sky Flames (U) Ltd owned by Cephas Egesa, Light Africa Uganda Ltd owned by Mathias Lukoda.

Other authorized fireworks distributors include Tomil Fireworks Ltd owned by Nixon Waudo, Goshen Africa Ltd owned by Robert Mbuusi and Fireworks 7000 owned by Emmanuel Kwikiriza.

Kampala South, which starts from Katwe police station up to Entebbe policing division has 72 venues cleared to display New Year’s fireworks. This region covers major police stations that include Katwe, Nateete, Kajjansi, Kabalagala, Ggaba, Entebbe, Nsangi, and CPS Kampala.

Kampala North, which covers Nansana Municipality up to Kakiri town council has 78 approved venues. This region includes Kawempe, Wandegeya, Old Kampala, Nansana, Matugga, Kasangati, Wakiso and Kakiri.

Kampala East which covers Jinja Road, Kira Road, Kira Division, Naggalama, and Mukono has 56 venues cleared to display fireworks.

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The IGP has directed police commanders to collaborate with all other security agencies and units to ensure peaceful New Year’s Day celebrations.

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