Time Check: 15:30. Location: FARUG Office: We host our members to an end of year social gathering at our offices in a Kampala suburb. Members’ gathering is to mark the last day of a consultative meeting. Over 15 members stay behind to socialize since most of them have no Saturday plans. For some, broke.
17:00hrs: A police patrol car parks in front of our office gate. Armed policemen disembark and disperse around the area. Panic sends everyone into hiding. Everyone runs towards the high fence hoping to jump over it for safety. People climb the wall fence to fall over to the other side for safety. Our member, who also happens to be a football player and coach starts to cry for help fearing that if the armed men break in, that will be the end to her hard-earned profession. The Director in her bravery tells everyone to run so she can handle the armed men ‘herself’. Hhmm..! Human bodies running up and down in confusion- someone tries to open the small emergency gate. The key stubbornly fails to open it. Bad luck always comes in times you need help most.
One of our members mounts the roof of the pit latrine in the compound, the only route for escape. A story is told of someone who ran back inside to switch off an office computer but failed to locate its shut down option. ‘How is this computer switched off?’ she asked. Panic at its best.
The Office Administrator, fell from a wall fence last night, injured her ankle and now shw in her room sleeping with a swollen leg. ‘I ran to her room to tell her that police was at our gate and on hearing the scary news she tried to jump out of bed to ran for her dear life but instead hurt herself, sat on the floor and wailed like a baby’, narrates a friend.
After 20 minutes of panic, fear and pandemonium, the armed men get back on their pickup and drive off.
Had they come out to get us? Were they sent on other business? We will never know.
Lesson: Always be prepared. Have a security plan and an emergency escape plan. You never know when the armed men will be back.