Saturday, April 16, 2016

Kiboko's Unleashed In Masindi

I really have to hand it to Messrs. Erias Lukwago and Kizza Besigye. Especially Besigye. They have the resilience to put up with years of being roughed up, tear gassed and of course the obligatory kiboko that Police give them.

Through the course of my journalism career, I too have been roughed up but thankfully, not to that extent.

Years ago, I was up in Masindi – at Boma Stadium covering a UBL sponsored cultural gala. I had gotten there late and thus, was not sure of which entrance to use. When one of the gates opened up to allow a truck in, I simply walked in with it until I got yanked back and asked to identify myself by Askari. Out came the ID but, he wasn’t having any of it.

He rambled on and on about how the entrance was for the sole reserve of the UBL sponsors, who I thought I was strolling in like I owned the stadium and that he had 'orders from above' not to let in anyone without the right accreditation.

At this point, I should have read the hidden message in the ‘orders from above’ statement. Basically, it is security speak to mean that it’s the end of the conversation. Whatever logic and common sense you try and bring into the fray, falls on deaf ears. It’s a lost cause.

But the Musoga mputu in me kicked in. After all, I was already in. I had identified myself and I had explained why it was necessary for me to be at the function. But Askari was having none of it. At this stage, he was no longer holding my arm, but by the waistline of my trousers and dragging me back to the gate pretty much in the same vein that Lukwago and Besigye get dragged to the police pickup.

Then Police Woman turns up giving Askari gas. While she also has the same orders from above, the cement in which those orders had been cast had not dried solid. She politely listened to what I had to say, then asked for my ID.

As soon as she saw New Vision, she eased up further. When she saw my name, it was a case of: “Eh, you are the one? But the things you write, you man, you are stubborn!”

With that, she told Askari to leave me be and let me enter. “This one, we know him. He is stubborn. Leave him” she added as she walked away.

Askari looked at her in disbelief. All the machismo he had, deflated out of himself with the same agony that a teen girl from Namagunga has when she resigns herself to squashing a pimple that sprouted two hours before a Namilyango social.

But it was done. I had won. I should have walked away. I should have, but once again, the mputu kicked in. As I walked away, spat a well determined “tumbavu, odangamu” at him.

With that, he was in my face, daring me – no, tell a lie - triple daring me to say it again. So I did. “Tumbavu odangamu, tumbavu odangamu, tumbavu odangamu”!        

The rest happened so fast. Suddenly he had electric cables that had been twisted into one in his hand and lashed out. The cable wrapped itself round my body. And again he lashed and again. The pain was so excoriating, searing and brutal, I almost peed my pants.

When he was done but still holding the cable in strike mode, in Luganda he said: “What were you saying?” At that point I wasn’t saying anything. Tears had swelled up in my eyes, I was in a pain that was the World Cup of pain and I wanted to be as far away from him as possible.

I retreated – but not in a cowardly manner I might add. I walked away backwards, muttering assurances but making sure he can’t hear them and once there was there was enough of a big enough gap between us, I took to my heels and fled.

In the safety of the sponsors tent, not even UBLs Mark Rwomushana could ease the pain or stem the tide of tears or use his sponsors influence to bring Askari to book. Today, my back still has the scars and at the mere mention of kiboko, I don't hang about. I leg it!

Pictures: The New Vision, The Daily Monitor, Bukedde

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