Popular Posts

Monday, June 8, 2009

Armed Guards and Barbed Wire

During the last few weeks in Uganda we've seen a lot of things that are different from back home. One example is the random sucurity measures all over the city. From the ten foot walls with barbed wire surrounding the monitor newspaper, to the metal detectors and bag search at the movie theatre, to the armed guards in front of every other builing, evidence of extreme security is everywhere. The strange thing is that even with all this security, it wouldn't be hard to sneak a gun into a building because the ill trained guards barely open your bag and rarely check you even when the metal detector goes off. So what is the purpose of all the extra security? Is it just a show to make the people feel more secure, or does it actually serve a deeper purpose in keeping people safe in their daily lives? And if it does serve a greater purpose, is it worth it? Remember that with the money spent on all the security the government could instead have improved medical facilities or schools or roads or a dozen other things.


  1. One of the first things I noticed on our drive from Entebbe to Red Chili was the armed gards. If I remember correctly, I counted 7 long guns on our first drive through the city. Many of my friends make jokes about rent-a-cops and security gaurds that will shoot us with their flashlights if we cut up. But in Kampala, security guards carry pump action shotguns and rifles. And the police carry AK-47s while directing traffic. It is stark contrast from the ADT signs outside our secured buildings in the US. But does it really deter crime? Personally, I think I would think more than twice before stealing anything and making a dash. But as for the metal detectors, I thought they were more of a joke. It might have been because we were visitors, or just deemed a non-threat, but many of us beeped, but I don't think many, if any of us were seriously searched. That might have been the wasteful part. But, when you talk about money, I think we need more information. The security gaurds at Red Chili make the equivelant of US$75/month and are paid monthly. They work 11-12 hour days six days a week, and are paid every four weeks. I don't think most security gaurds were much of an expenditure. But in a place where every shilling counts, who knows?

    1. i didnt know armed guards were that strange, i have only come to think of it, sure it is strange but i think its to avoid all sorts of petty things in a land where each shilling counts.

      i have compared it with my visit to drake and iowm in general and there isnot much security presence yet it was safe!! some thinking we guys have to do here