Let Us Recognize Uganda’s Security Blessing

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I have been blessed to have traveled and slept in all districts in Uganda. In high-end and low-end hotels. In my different travels, never have I experienced a scenario like the one Zainab had to go through in Zanzibar while visiting Warere Beach for her Birthday celebration.

Zainab Oladehinde shared her story on Twitter about her maltreatment while in Zanzibar at Warere Beach. She’s a Nigerian who visited Zanzibar in April 2021 to celebrate her 23rd birthday. Unfortunately, she did not anticipate the celebration to turn out the way it did. Zainab Oladehinde said, “Few hours into my sleep (on my birthday), I start to feel strange hands fondling my breast.” Please note, in a high-end hotel.

She described the rest of her experience as traumatic and had to go through therapy for recovery. As if this was not bad enough, the hotel owners and the government officials he expected to offer her justice Instead turned against her in the name of protecting the image of their business and the country! What a shame, I hope this is not a representation of the approach of the country towards personal security.

I don’t want to go into name shaming and pointing fingers, but going by her tweets, the injustice is clear. Both the hotel and the government entities should not have swept the serious crime under the carpet in the name of the national image. I can only imagine how traumatizing all this experience has been and even so beyond all these events. It’s not an experience that she will just forget. The least the concerned authorities could do was to offer her justice. It would have greatly contributed to her healing.

Thinking about it from a micro angle, all this wouldn’t have happened in the first if the hotel security at the hotel had done their job. That was the root cause of the problem the injustice notwithstanding. The laxity of the security personnel at the hotel has led to not only a dissatisfied customer but a tweeter storm of epic proportions.

Reflecting on all this made me extremely thankful to God for the gift and culture of security in our country. From the onset, the government of Uganda under the leadership of President Museveni recognized the need and value of security. The government has consistently and steadfastly guaranteed security both national and personal.

Tourism, for example, is one of the major sources of income especially forex exchange for almost every East African country. You would imagine it should be one of those areas where security is taken seriously and hence guaranteed. Quick research I did in comparison to the security in Uganda puts us well ahead of our peers. Not only in providing security to tourists and visiting foreigners but to every single Ugandan. This mindset has trickled down to the private sector and in the minds of “wanainchi.” Both private businesses and communities are security conscious and value security.

In Uganda, security is ingrained in us now that I can easily call it a culture. I have traveled all over the country and have never experienced what Zainab Oladehinde experienced. I don’t think that my undisturbed security in my travels is an isolated case but rather, a shared experience of most travelers.

God forbid that we have to first lose the beauty of the security we enjoy to know its value. It doesn’t have to take unfortunate circumstances to call attention to what we have. That said, East Africa is one community now, we are one family. What happens in one country affects all of us. I hope and pray that the beauty and culture of security is one of the things that Uganda “exports” to the rest of the East African family.

 

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