Saturday, July 14, 2018
MPs Got Bodyguards. Next, Flags For Their Rides?
According to Wikipedia, a bodyguard or close protection officer, is a type of security guard or government law enforcement officer or soldier who protects a person - usually high-ranking public officials, wealthy people and celebrities from danger as in assault, kidnapping, assassination or harassment threats. The group of personnel who protect a VIP are often referred to as the VIP’s security detail. Hmmm...
But I know better! The people at Wikipedia are obviously telling fibs since a bodyguard is really none of that. Rather, they are people who are employed because they are dispensable fodder to get goofed instead of their bosses, shot at and killed instead of their bosses and blown up to smithereens instead of their bosses.
Over the resent years, there have been a number of high profile assassinations in Uganda – most notably that of former police spokesman, Andrew Kaweesi and Arua Municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga. What Kaweesi and Abiriga had in common, is that they both had bodyguards when they were ruthlessly killed by assailants who are still at large.
With that, the powers that be along with The Man With The Hat moved in swiftly to declare that all Members of Parliament should be afforded personal protection – army sharp shooters - which is gloating news for MPS but not necessarily so, for those who are going to protect them (MPs).
You see, the average Ugandan MP is so taken in with the ‘honourable’ tag they attain when they become MPs. Some of them are that daft, that they even refer to themselves as “I am the honourable MP….” when addressing the hapless locals in the districts. But that’s not the only daft thing MPs do. Years after being kicked out of parliament, many still continue to refer to themselves as honourable – like it’s a title for life.
MPs are going revel in having bodyguards because to them, it’s a status symbol, a sign that they have finally arrived from some far-flung hovel of a district to bag themselves space on the green leather benches in Parliament. And guess what, the next thing MPs are going to ask for – tell a lie, demand for, are those little flags so they can have them fluttering on their 4x4s when they go to their far-flung districts to commission a borehole.
Writing in The Observer recently, Josephine Namuloki interviewed one police bodyguard who had this to say: “At their homes, they (MPs) don’t care whether you have eaten or not. Some of them can’t even buy water for a person who is guarding them; how do you continue with such work?”
At this stage of the column I reckon I am in the bad books of every MP so let’s turn it up notch or two and go out guns blazing. So, this is what I think. Obviously, MPs are not going to feed their bodyguards because it’s something they beneath them. But beyond that, could it be that the bodyguards are not keen on getting a goofing instead of their bosses and more importantly, do not warm up to the idea of being shot at and killed alongside the MP they have been contracted to guard?
There could be some truth to this chain of thought for a couple of weeks ago, Obongi MP, Hassan Fungaroo said: “The police say instead of escorting MPs, they are better off staying at home because escorting an MP is a very risky business.”
And in parliament there are some MPs who are deemed to be ‘trouble makers’ and who are risky business like Fungaroo said that if I was the bodyguard assigned to protect say Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambooze or Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto, I would rather take my chances at being assigned to fight Al Shabab in Somalia or Boko Haram in Nigeria.
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