Uganda’s capital Kampala has been placed under security ahead of Pope Francis’s arrival Friday.
The Pontiff had a first stop-over in Kenya mid this week as he began a six-day, three-nation maiden pastoral visit to Africa since his 2013 election.
The Central African Republic, to which Francis flies on Sunday, is the only other country on his itinerary.
Organisers expect between 1.5 to 2 million faithful at the Holy Father’s Saturday open-air Mass at Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo, 15kms outside Kampala.
It is unlikely the venue, revamped at billions of shillings, can accommodate such a population.
An aance team comprising the Pope’s Swiss Guards and Vatican officials, who have made four evaluation trips to Uganda since August, cleared the security arrangements at the site and in the country.
Uganda’s foreign partners, particularly the US and Britain, are understood to be providing intelligence to ensure the Holy Father’s visit goes without an incident.
Mr Chris Brown, the public affairs officer at the US embassy in Kampala, said: “As a matter of policy, we do not talk about intelligence and security matters.”
Joy and pride
When the Pope lands at Entebbe, Uganda’s only international airport at 4:50pm today, he will find the first evidence of a nation palpable with joy and pride about his visit.
About 1, 000 animated men and women, most dressed in colourful traditional or African attire, will sing and dance on the tarmac as he disembarks from the Alitalia aircraft.
At hand to receive the 78-year-old Pontiff will be President Yoweri Museveni, and the two, according to official programme, will have a brief conversation at the airport’s presidential lounge before proceeding to the nearby resplendent State House.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW