By Alex Balimwikungu
So, a 70-year-old businessman dies in a Hoima hotel after a tryst with a mysterious woman. The filthy rich landlord is discovered lifeless in bed stark naked. His conjugal collaborator is nowhere in sight. Albertine region police launch an investigation. Before they can release their findings, police perhaps itching to appear on prime time news, suggests that spy cameras should be planted in hotel rooms! Pure crass!
Unless one is auditioning for a role in the X-rated movie industry, the idea of doing the deed knowing cameras are rolling, is hard to tolerate! Intrusion by the State’s prying eyes into this particular arena should be treated with the contempt it deserves. If you have ever walked into a lodge/ hotel and wondered if you are being watched, you are not alone. This is not about being idle or paranoid. The fear is real. Now imagine it was put on camera and you knew it?
Just look at the chaps in Big Brother House. Over the years, contestants have done the deed live on TV, but it is slight writhing and muted grunts under the duvet. It is always over within seconds. Ask Gaetano Kagwa or Ernest Wasake.
Like married people will confess, sex outside your home can make the difference between a boring day and an exciting memory.
If you visited the hotel with your wife, the idea is to fully unleash your passions! A typical visit to the hotel, away from the prying eyes of children, should be about everything we love about sex – the sensations, the smell and the friction that see two bodies becoming one in the final eruption of pleasure. Add spy cameras and it makes no sense at all. The only addition should be wall-to-wall mirrors. These things work magic and heighten performance.
It is not the practice here – hotel owners
Whether or not hotels are spying on their guests in this digital age is the question. Those The Kampala Sun spoke to reveal that the chances of that happening is slim and it is not the practice.
Moses Musana, the manager of Comfort Cottage Hotel, reveals that cameras can usually be found in common and shared areas in hotels — like lobbies, hallways and pool areas, but never in rooms.
“As a policy, we do not allow cameras in rooms out of respect for privacy of our clients. But you can never rule out isolated cases of rogue individuals planting them sometimes without management’s knowledge,” he reveals.
However, Musana adds that the chance of that happening is slim. “Public figures are more likely to be targeted for intimate photos. There’s little to no value in spying on ordinary people, who form the bulk of our clientele.”
A security manager at a five-star hotel in Kampala, who asked to speak on condition of anonymity, reveals that the law to have spy cameras installed is one that will die in infancy. He vows that they will ‘fight’ it to death since it kills their business.
“There is no way you can have cameras in rooms at branded hotels like ours. In the event that one is found, it would make news for the wrong reasons and the brand suffers,” the source reveals.
He further adds: “In a hotel, you’re paying for private space. There’s a heightened expectation of privacy. It illegal to install or use cameras in private places without authorisation from recorded subjects.”
He reveals that for hotel guests with legitimate suspicions, the best thing to do is alert hotel management who liaise with the Police.
If one wants to find a hidden camera in the room, one is advised to turn the lights off. Using the camera App on one’s phone, one will be able to see the IR lights (invisible to the naked eye, visible to your camera) that would be used to illuminate the scene in low-light conditions.
What the law says
The 1995 Ugandan Constitution explicitly recognises the right to privacy and calls for its protection.
Article 27 states that ”
(1) No person shall be subjected to — (a) unlawful search of the person, home or other property of that person; or (b) unlawful entry by others of the premises of that person.
(2) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of that person’s home, correspondence, communication or other property.”
This means that when the equipment is installed in areas that should be considered private such as within a room or a bathroom, this may be considered illegal. This is because these areas are considered to be private, where privacy is expected and the individual may be undressing or performing other activities that should be protected.
This means that dressing rooms are a gray area because they are areas in a business, where theft may occur, but bathrooms are sacrosanct due to the intimate setting.
When someone finds a camera in a place where privacy is expected and should be provided, it is time that a lawyer intervenes. Legal action may be necessary to have these devices removed and footage destroyed.