Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Morning at the Police

She was a small bodied woman. Fair skin and braided hair. It looked old. She was short like Chandiru of the three . She came in, walking languidly and stood at the counter. She said something to the officer and a black book was opened.

"I have come to visit one of the people in the cell."

The cell was just adjacent to where the counter was. A heavy steel door with bars near the top where once in a while, someone would hold and peep through. It had a worn out tri-cycle padlock on it.

She told him a name and he got a book; it was a large one. I do not remember what was written on it but it recorded the names of people in the cell, the dates they were put in and the crimes they were accused of. He began turning the pages carefully, looking for the name. His finger landed on a particular name and it remained there.

"Do you know what case he's in here for?"

"No."

"Attempted rape."

As though he was poking at her.

.............

Brown skinned girl, not over 22. Blouse and skirt. No shoes. She was being moved to and fro offices. She had gentle looking eyes. Had a calm composure. Why was she here?
What was her story?

She reminded me of her. The big round eyes. She said nothing all the time I was there. All she said was yes to a question of whether the shoes she was being given were hers...

.............................

Dark man, normal build. He was putting on a white and red track suit and nice looking snake skin shoes. I wondered what he did for a living. I had been waiting four hours now for the O.C to make a return. There was no place to sit so we all were lingering outside the offices. So he began in Luganda;

"Life is not easy man."

I could only respond with a "Hmmmm.."

He then continued to tell me how he was reporting on issues of his bond. And how he ended up here.

"I was there in my butchery one day doing my good work when a police man came and told me to get out. He tried to come in on his own and I beat him. As I was there, I never realised there were four others outside. They were telling me to come out. I said I would not come out. "

I added an occasional "Eh! Ah!" here and there.

"These men thought I was easy but I stood my ground. So when they saw I wouldn't barge, they shot at me. Bwana, six shots through the roof! They thought they could scare me but I still jammed! I told them I was not going anywhere until they brought the Chairman to explain to me why they wanted to take me away.!"

I thought he had a good reason for resisting arrest until

"I knew why they had come but I just didn't want to go with them. The case is about the disappearance of some guy."

then I thought, "What if they see me talking to him and say I am an accomplice?" I prayed he would finish.

"Anyway, it was until the chairman came that I went but then as they were coming in to get me, one of them was pierced and they claimed it was me. I think one of the hooks that I hang the meat on did that. But then they put that case on me."

I wondered whether he was telling the truth.

"So man they opened three cases against me...."

"Ssebo, I think return at around 2pm because right now the O.C may not be coming."
This statement saved me from this butcher man. I decided to leave.
....................

"So brother why not I help you and you help me, on humanitarian grounds..."

I feigned ignorance of what he was meaning.

"What should I do?" I asked.

"Sir, the ball is now in your court, so...."

..............

Reporting loss of an I.D to the police in Uganda can take long but my visit to the station was quite interesting.
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