Thursday July 17 2014

Who guards monies collected at wedding meetings?

Before a wedding takes place, several planning

Before a wedding takes place, several planning and fundraising meetings are held. file photo 

By Brian Mutebi

With the current terror threat and the police issuing alerts, there is little if at all anything we can take for granted. We mind about the security of not only our lives but property too.
Today we mind the places we go to, the events we attend, the number of people in those places and any suspicious circumstances. From time immemorial, weddings are some of the events that cause mass gathering.
Before the wedding actually takes place, several fundraising meetings are convened.
In Kampala, there are popular spots, call them “wedding meeting restaurants” where folks gather every single evening of the week for wedding meetings.
They sit in open grounds one group next to another and fundraise, and depending on the status of those in attendance, large sums of money can be collected. But have you ever wondered about the safety of the monies?
The other day I attended a friend’s wedding meeting.
We were about 15 people in attendance at one of the restaurants in one of the city arcades. As is the norm at many wedding meetings, everything done without the “consent” of the chairman was “fined”.
If you received a phone call, you would be asked to deposit some money in an envelope before answering.
If you were caught smiling with a beautiful girl, you were asked to tell the meeting what it is that made you smile or else risk being fined.
Everything attracted a charge, even a simple act, and natural act as yawning! Yet we gladly and generously contributed to our friend’s wedding. The auction item yielded an even more substantial sum.
But as the meeting treasurer started counting the money at about 8pm, power went off. Oh, it was dark!
Well, I did not suspect the treasurer putting some of the purple or green notes into his own pocket because we knew him as a man of integrity.
Rather, what came to mind was something different. What if some gang surrounded us, put us at gun point and demanded that we pour all the collections into their bags before vanishing into the darkness!
I wanted the lights back on but kept praying that my thoughts never come to reality. Well, after about five minutes the lights were back. But you know what? Those unscrupulous individuals who want to reap where they never sowed may not need the assistance of darkness.
Many bank robberies, for example, are carried out in broad daylight. So I wonder in the era where wedding fundraising meetings are not about to stop and in any case are on the rise, where the safety of the monies we collect in open meetings is.
I hope and pray that one’s wedding meeting, especially the last one where largest sums of money are often collected, is never lost. That is just my prayer.