SOMEONE at Namugongo Martyr’s Shrine on Saturday made a remark with some measure of wonder and not little happiness, that has stayed in my mind till now.
The line was something like: “Whereas we’re accustomed to hearing developed countries issue travel advisories and security notices against countries on the African continent when we are engaged in national elections, Uganda is hosting the Pope!”
This Pope, meanwhile, must be a source of headaches for his security team in the way he operates, yet at the same time that should be a source of comfort for everybody.
At Kololo, for instance, I noticed the bullet proof side shields being removed after a lengthy discussion between the SFC and Vatican security shortly before @Pontifex arrived – that wasn’t an oversight – it was deliberate.
I checked this morning and found that there is, indeed, an advisory on Uganda by the United States government but it is NOT a travel advisory – it is just a “Security Reminder”.
We have to pat ourselves on the back quite a lot for being so solid that we can achieve this – and applaud our security services a lot more than we pat our own backs.
While doing so, however, we also have to take up issue with some of the international media and set them right on this specific matter.
I don’t like joining in the chorus against the international media whenever they report wrongly about Africa and countries on this continent because I have a day job that would suffer greatly if I took away so much time to address this.
Media houses like Fox News are not worth responding to because their basic stance is anti-racial-harmony <—a new term I have coined in order to avoid accusing people of being racist.
We must acknowledge that on the continent we do create a lot of opportunity for the world to continue calling us violent, conflict-ridden and so on and so forth.
But we must always stress that this is NOT true of the entire continent and certainly not true of every single African on this soil.
Checking online for the approach the international media took to the issue of security gave me the results that I expected, but a couple of juxtapositions were really amusing.
Sky News reported, back in September, that the United States had thwarted a security threat to the Pope ahead of his visit there, and that: “The US Department of Homeland Security has said the visit will be a National Special Security Event – meaning the Secret Service will head the planning of security.”
The same Sky News, however, describes the Pope’s visit to the Central African Republic, “the most dangerous destination on his three-nation Africa tour”and talks about, “he was greeted by acting CAR president Catherine Samba-Panza under tight security, with roads leading to the airport bristling with troops and security forces.”
Which country in the world would the Pope visit WITHOUT security, and which President would receive him under ‘loose security’?
Plus, what is this nonsense of “the most dangerous” as if the other two countries are dangerous but just less so?
In the US, Sky News reported, “New York officials announced … a series of new security measures ahead of the visit, including airspace restrictions, screening checkpoints and a ban on balloons, selfie sticks and backpacks at papal events.” even though in Uganda we had a blast without any such restrictions.
According to Reuters, “Protected by the heaviest security ever seen on his trips, Pope Francis on Sunday preached reconciliation in the divided Central African Republic, a nation racked by bloodshed between Muslims and Christians.” <—that last part is our fault, stupid fighting Africans!
But in the story, they say, “Central African Republic’s government is deploying around 500 police and gendarmes to secure the visit. More than 3,000 peacekeepers from the MINUSCA U.N. mission will also be deployed and French troops will be on alert as well.”
And there are only 900 French troops in that country, the same story says.
Now, in the United States leg of his tour a couple of months ago, “In New York, security screening will be just part of “layers and layers and layers of protection” the pope will receive during his visit, including a deployment of 6,000 extra police officers and specialized counterterrorism units, said John Miller, the NYPD’s top security official.”
So…what do YOU think about YOUR security, where you are?