The British and the American Embassies offer travel advisories to their nationals on attending large gatherings in Uganda due to what they saw as eminent security concerns.
Many Ugandans particularly those involved with the organizing of the Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja don’t get amused with these advisories, they are considered as aimed at frustrating the long awaited fun fare function. Some even went in to label these advisories as subversive.
They argued that the timing of those advisories was intended to ruin the economic benefits that the people of Busoga as a region would be earning from this once a year three day function.
The Uganda Police and indeed the Head of State himself were prompt to calm the country and pour cold water on those advisories by assuring Ugandans of their security and safety. He reminded the country of the cardinal interest of our security forces to ensure that the Nyege Nyege festival goes ahead peacefully.
But at the same time, there were reports circulating in the media of how the security forces had actually foiled a potential terror threat which had been planned to be carried out by two individuals at the same festival. The pictures of the two terrorists were released for the public to take note and be vigilant.
The reading here is that indeed there was a real threat which those Embassies of US and Britain got to have wind of and probably they shared their security alert with their counterparts here. That cooperation is commendable as it does help to save many precious lives that would have otherwise perished in these heinous planned terrorist actions.
The simple lesson from this for us is that we need to be cautious and restrained in our comments or reactions wherever such advisories are issued.
Yes, there are instances when those Western countries issue alarmist advisories that end up creating unnecessary stampede that adversely affect us. But amidst such maze of mistrust, we do need to be careful so as not to give opportunity to those evil minded terrorists that are still lurking around and waiting to take advantage of our laxity in order to cause mayhem in our country.
May the Nyege Nyege festival flourish and may the life of the festiving Ugandans flourish.