Uganda Police: MInting Cash from Grass.

I was with a friend who, for security concerns has forbidden me from mentioning his name. So I shall call him Peter.

It was around 10.30 pm at night and Peter and I were crossing the road to go to Nakumatt, having come from the national theatre. We were absent-minded and crossed over the grass which I know is bad manners, but I learned recently, is apparently also criminal.

We had just reached the other side when a policeman in a brown uniform appeared literally out of nowhere. Peter and I discussed it later and realized that he had been stealthily hiding behind a bush and popped out as soon as we’d reached the other side.

“Come”, the policeman beckoned, towards the patrol car that was parked at the junction going to Garden City.

“Why?” we asked.

“Come” he repeated.

“But why?” we asked again.

“Just come!”

We followed him and he delivered us to his ‘brothers’-police men wearing blue camourflage, and carrying guns. There were some in the back, two in the front and a couple outside, with the policeman in brown.

I shall call the two policemen that Peter and I spoke with Pig and Dog. Harsh? Tough. I ain’t mincing my words with these Soprano wannabe’s.

“Do you know how hard KCCA works to plant this grass?” Pig demanded, sounding most distraught.

“You people need to learn a lesson” Dog added.

“We are tired of seeing you destroying KCCA property” Pig.

“We are here to punish people who walk on KCCA’s grass” Dog.

“But if KCCA wants the grass to remain safe, why don’t they put barbed wire?” Peter asked.

“People remove it!” Pig claimed.

“But if your objective is to protect the grass”, Peter asked sensibly. “Why don’t you guys put aside a couple of weeks to have someone with a whistle or something just stop people and guide them to the right place? Why do you sit here waiting for everyone to walk all over the grass, and then punish them after it’s been destroyed?

I added my contribution.

“Perhaps a sign letting us know there’s some kind of fine?” I suggested.

“People keep removing them!” Pig lied. I practically live in that area and I’ve never seen a sign.

They got down to business.

“Now you are going to learn a lesson!” Dog said. “We are going to call KCCA, they are going to take you to Luzira prison, and you will appear in court tomorrow to pay a fine”.

Peter and I got down to begging.

“Banange! Why would you do such a thing? We didn’t know! Forgive us!” etc etc.

“We are TIRED of you people destroying the grass” Dog insisted. “Now you are going to pay for it!”

The stupid side of me that doesn’t know when to shut up begun to expose itself.

“Pardon me”, I enquired. “But tell me again, why you would so feel so inclined to do this for KCCA. Like, WHY would you stop us so late at night, call up a KCCA official, get them over here to take us to the prison. It’s almost 11.00 pm! Why?!”

For a couple of twats planning to break the law, they became very self-righteous and hostile indeed.

“You woman, you’re joking!” they snapped. Dog pulled out his phone and begun to dial. “I’m calling KCCA now now to take you and your friend to prison!”

My friend didn’t wanna know. He bade me shut up and begun to appeal to them in a most gentlemanly fashion. They calmed down.

“Okay” Pig said. “We are going to forgive you. But your sister here had better be careful!”

“Thank you!” Peter said.

“But now” Pig added delicately. “It’s so late at night…so cold…we sit here the whole night…we need some chai to keep us warm”. They deliberated for a few minutes, Peter handed over ‘their’ money, they took it and bade us good night.

Now allow me to ask a question. With all due respect.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT!

How can a patrol car full of armed camourflaged police men be parked in such a public spot, and carry out their criminal activities with an impunity so brash as to suggest that they know they won’t be held accountable?

Now I may be a fighter-you scroll on down this blog and you will see I have an in-built antenna to find the fight-but when a collection of men in camourflage with GUNS threaten to have you whisked off to prison (not jail-prison!) and it’s late at night-do you think you are going to debate semantics with them?

No. You will pay and even leave them a tip for their trouble.

INFORMATION FOR THE IGNORANT

A casual chat with a lawyer friend of mine revealed that there is a city ordinance that makes it an offence to walk on grass, instead of designated pathways. But the actual details of the penalties involved, I haven’t studied yet.

Just don’t walk on the grass!

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