Sunday, June 29, 2014 

Invest in portable metal detectors

When some people pass through a metal detector arch or are checked by a portable version, they get irritated and often clearly show it by way of a grimace or a sneer at the security officer. 

In their minds, this checking demeans their social status.This kind of thinking is dangerous. These people fail to realise that this is the cost you must pay to stay safe and alive. 

On the other hand, credit must be given to all those who bear this necessary inconvenience with a good heart.

In fact regional governments should invest in as many portable metal detectors as a second line of defence. Awareness will always remain the top priority. These gadgets however should be distributed either free or at subsidised prices to people who operate businesses in the most likely terrorist targets. The only disadvantage would be the added tax burden, but valuing a life is not easy.

Like it or not, terrorism has become another every day hurdle in our lives and an increasing drag on East African economic growth. We have to spend more hours at airports in pre-flight checks and other transport hubs.

Terrorism dampens business confidence and turns away investment. The cloud of uncertainty it also creates, puts pressure on governments to put aside ever more resources to combat it.  To beat it, we all have to cooperate.

For East African Community countries it is especially troubling. At the moment, the EAC is rapidly pulling down barriers to free trade. Terrorism can slow exports/imports because of the cost of ensuring security measures are also in place. This calls for plenty of mutual trust that your neighbour is also living up to their obligations.

To underestimate terrorism is to invite more danger, because these guys can literally do anything once given free rein.

Our biggest weapon is widespread awareness. The general public must learn to look for signs of a threat. The objective is to make as much nuisance as possible so that the terrorists can also feel some heat.

Perhaps more important is that when people are assured of their safety, they can go about business with an easier mind. They no longer will be hostage to the fear and anxiety that a terrorist threat imposes.

As events in the Nigerian capital, Abuja have shown last week, the biggest weapon terrorists possess is to sap people’s will and create confusion.

Nigeria may be sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economy, but all this pales when you cannot protect your citizens. 

Terrorism is something that can be stopped. But if the terrorist believe that they can successfully attack us and escape without harm, they will become more bold and dangerous. East Africa cannot afford that. It is important to stop them quickly and also coordinate efforts on a regular basis. Or else the ideal of liberalised trade across the region will suffer.

By Editor, Sunday, June 29th, 2014