Guarding against terror

The terrorist attacks that continue to wreak havoc in neighbouring Kenya are a stark reminder that the threat of terrorism in this region is neither far away nor removed from home especially given that those claiming responsibility for the mayhem also have Uganda in their cross-hairs.
And it is not like we need the reminder either. The images of young football fans at Kyadondo Rugby Football Club (KYRFC)in July 2010, some still holding hands frozen in their seats by the violent suddenness of their deaths, are still raw in our memories. The attention-seeking logic of these terrorists, who continue to claim innocent lives like those at Kyadondo means they like to strike at the most unexpected of times.

And when they do, the bigger the crowd, the more panic inducing these unfortunate events are. This is how they like it unfortunately.
And I have been thinking and now do realise that if Kampala was to be hit again, it would most likely be a public television football crowd that would fall victim. This isn’t because ‘terrorists’ have added football to their lists of sins, but that in this town of ours the major reason men and women go out is not to eat or have a coffee (we don’t have an eating-out culture), but to watch a televised football game and have a beer while they are at it.
I guess all I am trying to say is that the security in all those pubs we frequent cannot be taken for granted anymore. Yes, many of our pubs are small and might not attract the attention of a volume-obsessed terrorist. But if the Kenya school attacks show us anything, it’s that the modern terrorist doesn’t have to come packaged in an explosive vest anymore and that he will adapt and change.

And that change could mean an attack on our ‘bufundas’, because these are our preferred wind-down zones, the social nets that catch our fall, the places where we go to be happy and take refuge from the insanity of our daily toils. They embody our happy spirit, and to an urban terrorist represent the smirk he would like to wipe off our faces in his bid to spread a message that all is not well.
So that ‘ka-place’ of yours that is no larger than two benches lined across each other and an improvised counter may not be as safe as you think. The bleached waitress-cum-proprietor may know your favourite beverage, temperature preferences, and a couple of your moon-light secrets, but all those comforts and all that familiarity can literally go up in smoke at anytime.
So this is an appeal to all of us pub-goers. After we are done passing judgment on those whose mangled religious ideas have turned them into cowardly murderers, let us change. Let us be more vigilant on security matters. We owe that to all those who perished in the Kyadondo massacre five years ago and everyone else who has paid the ultimate price.
banturakim@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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