By Deo K. Tumusiime
A lead headline on CNN reads, “U.S embassy warns of Uganda Airport threat…The U.S Embassy in Uganda said that it had been warned of a specific threat against Entebbe Airport”.
This is not the first, the 2nd or the 3rd time the United States is serving as a harbinger for terrorism threats against Uganda, and they are increasing at a very questionable rate at a time the relationship between the two countries is getting ever shakier. One then wonders-just how genuine could these threat alerts be?
I think one mistake the U.S and others are making, is to assume that terrorists are very stupid people. Even if they were, it’s unimaginable that anyone would make an announcement before breaking into anyone’s house-that simply does not make any logical sense. Or is the United States presupposing that Uganda is after all incapable of protecting itself, so much that a specific threat would materialize no matter the vigilance? I am sure the terrorists, many of whom are religious fanatics, will have at least read the Bible verse that says, “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into”-Matthew 24: 43
It may sound a little naïve, but I am worried either the U.S is too obsessed with trying to boast of its strong intelligence network or they are still nursing the trauma inflicted on them in 2001 when the terrorists attacked the twin towers and claimed lives in thousands or perhaps they are being haunted by their very own “terrorism” exported to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and military involvement in a hundred plus more countries across the globe.
The neutrals would normally want to ask, “Where was the U.S intelligence in 2001?” But also if the U.S cares about Uganda that much, where was their intelligence in 2010 when Uganda was attacked? And just how come we continue to see spates of daylight shootings in the States as was gruesomely effected at an infant school in Connecticut where an entire class was wiped out by a fellow never labelled a terrorist? Where was this super intelligence at the time, which is able to accurately predict what is about to befall Uganda?
The other problem I am seeing is the perennial pride of assuming “Big Brother” status and wanting to bully every nation and make others feel subservient to the U.S as a super power. A country that meddles in others’ private affairs must be vehemently challenged.
The US recently stole the headlines by announcing aid cuts to Uganda with one hand and suggesting with the other that it was maintaining essential support especially for the fight against HIV/AIDS. What kind of game is this? Isn’t it written all over the wall that the U.S is blatantly unhappy with Uganda because of passing the anti-homosexuality law? And President Museveni clearly told them off, maintaining that Uganda is a sovereign country, capable of determining its affairs.
The President also openly told them that if they were bent on tying their aid to the decision on homosexuality, they had better cease and Uganda would find funding from other sources. But what is this whole hullabaloo about? I am quite suspicious that the U.S could be planning to punish Uganda over the anti-homosexuality law, and maybe a wave of terror might just be a precursor.
I was shocked to read recently that the US was sending fighter jets to help Uganda fight Joseph Kony. Someone ought to have whispered to them, “Long gone”. Question again; where has the US been for the last 25 plus years of Kony? Quite hilarious just how the U.S always wants to steal the show! This Kony was here some year back during the failed talks, was televised and given all media attention-and suddenly people want to make believe that he’s unseeable and therefore warranting a U.S Senate resolution to find him! Incredible.
Oh, but it’s really very bad to be poor. However, being a poor country does not mean that Uganda is too incapable of surviving without external support. I am sure Uganda has quite some resources and security intelligence of its own, and military endowments, which should fairly guarantee her citizens some reason to go to bed assured of waking up alive. I have been receiving calls from left and right, from citizens so frightened by these repeated terror threats; and I think the U.S must find other methods of delivering their message without causing undue tensions in the Ugandan population.
Obviously there’s so little that an ordinary Ugandan can do to avert a terrorist attack if it’s well calculated to happen-not with our poor communications and response network. One day a “terrorist” walked into my house in broad daylight and made away with my laptop containing years of documents.
I rushed to the police in Munyonyo in utter despair, and the officer did not even have a pen to take my statement! He later told me he could not come to my home to do investigations because it was late (7.00pm!). So ideally if terrorists were to attack Uganda anyway, I don’t think they would really need to first report to the U. S embassy.
My humble appeal to the U.S and the terrorists is simple; let’s try to peacefully co-exist, because this life will no doubt pass away whether one is proud or not; whether one has or has not; super power or what have you, it will all pass away. The way God designed our life, we need not strive so hard to end others’ lives because they will naturally pass away anyway.
However, no country would ever survive without values-and when Uganda says no to homosexuality, that NO should be respected. That’s just how the country wants its affairs to run. Homosexuals have always had the easiest entry to the United States, which is a hundred times more developed than Uganda-and as such, they can live there comfortably without a threat, and life will continue. After all, they would have no children to worry about back home!
Mr. President said that some people do not quite listen until you tell them to go and eat their mothers’ “Something-something”, but maybe that too ain’t just enough. Maybe the next thing could be for Uganda to recall her ambassador to the United States and ask the local embassy in Uganda to temporarily halt its activities until an amicable understanding between the two countries has been forged.
What point is there in housing a person you know is not happy with you and therefore has the capacity to hurt you or collaborate with your enemies to hurt you? I think in exercise of its sovereignty, Uganda should simply ask the U.S to shut up and let the government take full control of its own affairs. In any case, the U.S should not be the one announcing terror threats but should submit their intelligence information if any to the government authorities because these might know how best to deliver the message without unnecessarily terrorizing the population.
*Besides the politics, there are some really very good hearted American out there. Unfortunately the political underpinnings tend to overshadow everyone.
The writer is a communications consultant