We are officially in panic mode. Not after the attack on Garissa University across the border in Kenya are we content with that suspicious looking fellow in close proximity. We will no longer leave our safety in the hands of the Almighty as has always been the case.
Such a fellow will deserve no better place other than the police coolers (cells) around the countries. And, in the very extreme, a “safe house” where people of his stature deserve to tell the authorities about their dealings and which state they are representing.
Remember, this is 2015, where states are no longer custodians of the peace, law and order but a bunch of terror wielding rogues. If that sentence was too long for you my reader just say Islamic State.
The wave of security consciousness that swept across the country is back yet again to taunt me and you. Whenever cowards (read terrorists) gather strength and strike somewhere around the East African region, our security agencies somewhat “wake up” and tend to all corners of our bodies in the name of weeding out the bombs that we might be carrying.
Scenes of this sudden wave of alertness can be traced back to as recently as the Westgate Mall attack of 2013 in Kenya. For days and sometimes weeks after the terrorist attack, no one is spared from a thorough security check as long as they are accessing a public facility.
That includes the handful of public toilets in our capital city Kampala. Do not curse when your dash to answer nature’s call is put on hold, it is for your own safety that you’re held back a minute. You wouldn’t want a bomb going off in the midst of your nature’s call –whether long or short.
The newly found security alertness is all good and calls for plaudits only until one is put through the process a couple of times a day. It is then that you pay attention to detail of the thorough check. It is how; I for one came to conclude that security is officially tight but frankly impolite never mind that all these efforts are for our own good as a country.
Stopping me in my tracks as I hastily make my way to a public toilet is no problem but the way that is done is what infuriates me. For one to raise their lean arm and stare down my face as beads of sweat hurriedly climb down the contours of your face without you mentioning what your intentions are is just as impolite as begging without formally handing in a request for whatever it is you want.
Say something. And when you do, do not make it seem as though it is I who gave birth to the terrorists and on that note, you must torment me as if my bowls that are fit to burst are not already causing me enough problems. Neither did I strike a deal with a bunch of extremists to cause havoc in Kampala or ask you to leave your home to come mind the safety of Ugandans.
In one incident, I thought maybe it is better security guards remain tight-lipped and only make gestures because when one did speak to me, I wondered whether Christ must die again just for courtesy’s sake and not our sins.
A stone faced hungry (not angry) looking guard, in a one word sentence barked, “I.D” as I made my way past him at the gates of Makerere University without noticing his presence at the gate. I just thought to myself, did he mean internally displaced or what…of course I pretended not to know what it is he was talking about just to get a little bit of courtesy out of his mouth.
A moment later he said, “any identification please” which did the magic as I forked out my I.D and handed it over for him to muse over. To my surprise, he was not even interested in verifying whether what was on the I.D was actually valid or not. The call for identification forms as one makes entry into a public facility will however be a story for another day.
My case today is a merely a shout out to the impolite security personnel manning different facilities as we come to terms with terror threats. Please do not leave your courtesy at home as you report for duty. It is understandable, you would want to be mean to the terrorists because your work is now much more cumbersome as you have to dig through humans and their property to identify bombs yet you previously had time to nap from your guard stations but please, we are not to blame for the prevailing situation –just be polite to us and we too won’t be stubborn.