Winnie Byanyima, the wife of Dr. Kiiza Besigye, and executive director of UNAIDS on Tuesday took to Twitter to express her disgruntlement, alleging that airport authorities in Switzerland treated her in a segregative manner because of her skin colour.
Byanyima asserted that she was stopped from boarding the plane in Geneva to Canada until her travel documents were continuously and thoroughly checked before boarding a plane to attend the UNAIDS Conference that commenced on Wednesday, 27, July 2022.
"I'm almost refused to board, all docs scrutinized over & over again, calls made…. I board last. Hundreds of people in the South have been denied visas & won’t attend #UNAIDS2022", Byanyima tweeted.
However, commenting on Byanyima’s experience, James Onen, The Fatboy Show host on RX Radio, wondered whether she wasn’t overreacting to the situation.
“Do you think it's fair that she ascribed racism as the reason for her delayed flight and perhaps should have been patient and more diplomatic about it?” He asked his co-host Olive Najjuma.
“I think by the time she posted it she had tried to be patient, I don’t think she decided to tweet it the minute she was asked to hold on. Because she said, calls were made and her papers were thoroughly checked. And do you know why the calls were made? To confirm who she said she was. I'm in many travel groups and many trotters say they frequently experience this when they travel,” Olive replied.
Additionally, Fatboy questioned whether it's fair to blame white people for stereotyping blacks when fellow Africans are also cynical of people from the same continent such as Nigerians. “Don't you think these stereotypes emerge from people’s prior experience?” he asked.
“There are typical stereotypes but are all white people generally of good character? Of course not. Some are rowdier in the way they speak or present themselves yet they will not be subjected to the same kind of treatment.” Olive responded.
James also narrated having had similar confrontations during his travel to Germany. “In all instances, I was immediately pleasant, relaxed, compliant, and offered all that I would be asked. But I didn't take offence, they would ask me the questions and after answering all of them, they’d thank me for my cooperation and wish me a pleasant trip. But if I were indignant and asked if I was being questioned because am black, they'd have arrested me.,” he said
However, Olive maintained that some people similarly comply and sometimes get a good and other times a bad experience. “I don’t think that every black person put aside to have their documents thoroughly checked has behaved terribly.”
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.