BY DESIRE HARRIET MUTESI
The trade show that commenced on August 30, 2009 at Magerwa was opened officially by the Prime Minister Bernard Makuza on 2nd making a slight change since; earlier the program was that it was to be opened by his Excellency the president of the republic of Rwanda.
By 2:00am the main gate was opened for the security guards to start up the checking.
Off course it was obvious that there was going to be a thoroughly checking for security purposes. Rule number one at the checking spot was to enter with neither a cell phone nor a camera.
Imagine! People started thinking of what to do. Some who had cars, the rule did not sound so heavy while others thought of taking them home and coming back for work but it was not so favourable mostly to those that reside far from the city.
To foreigners the rule sounded so strange and unusual because I guess it was their first time to face it. They tried to request those in charge to at least let them switch off their cell phones and then enter with them but their request was not granted.
The only alternative was to request those with cars to help and keep them. So people started looking for people to help them and keep the cell phones. I doubt if at the end no one lost one.
Rule number two was to line up. This rule was obvious to everyone but the issue with it was that; some people would come, give excuses and then those in charge would let them enter. This annoyed many who were standing patiently in line.
People started pushing and shoving. This caused a lot of commotion to the extent that police had to intervene to bring order.
What was surprising was that there are three entrances to the trade fair grounds, but only one was used to check more than seven hundred people. The checking process ended at around mid day and only for exhibitors and officials. No client was allowed by then.
First phase was done and people had only two more hours to expect the guest of honour to arrive. Guests respected time and as usual at the arrival of the guest of honour the Rwandan national anthem was sang. Not much time was spent on speeches since he had to visit different activities taking place.
The last shocking and embarrassing issue was at the cocktail where people forgot to respect themselves and other important guests over drinks. People love free things to the extent that they were almost fighting for beer.
Both nationals and foreigners filled up the tent irrespective of who was there. They drank until the whole thing became so disorganized forcing those in charge to stop servicing more. Only one table was spared for guests who were still there. What amused me most was that there was the group of Ugandans who were putting on nice brownish T-shot with a Ugandan flag on them and the word Uganda in black colour.
Lucky enough they were mistaken to be guests so for them they sat comfortably and were served thus enjoying the free beer.
My concern is that we should live to respect ourselves not to be taken up by small things which tarnish our identity. I believe those people that caused chaos were not poor not to afford beer at any time of their choice. This was not done by street kids but people who seemed respectable. It’s never too late to change for the better.