By the supreme law of the land enacted in 1995 under article 212 the functions of the Uganda Police Force are clearly dictated as the mandate to protect life and property, preservation of law and order, prevention and detection of crime and lastly cooperation with civilian authority and other security organs.
The fact that these functions are clearly defined in the Constitution therefore makes it the obligation of citizens to make known to them these functions, the most common of them being the “Law and order” function which almost every school going person can recite with perfection.
Now complications to this perception come in when the police that is mandated by law to protect the life and property of its citizens becomes the perpetrator.
Three weeks ago on the Fifteenth day of May at around midnight , three students from Mukono based University; UCU fresh out of the Kampala traffic returning to their hostels in upper Kauga, Mukono were subjected to the privilege of having their life and property protected first hand by a group of about ten smartly dressed Policemen through brutal arrest (which in just a matter of thirty minutes had translated into theft and their eventual release) by the very people supposed to protect their life and property.
Their crime as recited for them in a cocktail of Swahili and English was suspicion of being theft and allegedly walking at night just weeks after thieves had just shot an unknown person in the neighboring area of Nabuti.
The latter reason according to the gun caressing policemen was based on the fact that the students were walking at night which in the intelligent minds of these patrolmen turned detectives made perfect sense; these three youth were thieves or could have even been the gunmen who had killed the local in Nabuti. Recognizing one of their duties as citizens of the pearl of Africa in article 17 (f) “To cooperate with lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order” the students complied and decided to plead with reason to the officers.
Their pleas in trying to explain and identify themselves to the linguist officers fell on intentionally deafened ears which were too engrossed in admiring the sound of Swahili on their own lips, within just a minute the alleged trio of thieves was uploaded face down to the bottom of the Patrol vehicle seat that warmed the bodies of the officers on the blue Toyota registration number UP 2961 patrol car
Without any further need for conversation the thieves were treated to the rarity joining Opposition leader Kiiza Besigye and a host of other criminals as they felled the bump of humps and potholes on their ribs and scrawny chests for more than a kilometer, receiving just only three kungfu styled kicks to the head for attempting to look outside which attracted the third verbal charge of attempting to flee from police custody.
The car moved for about 10 minutes on high-speed. Once in a while snippets of the threats of imprisonment and detention for weeks could be heard which turned into conditional clauses with the introduction of the “Unless” word which was followed by a handful of words which always ended with the mentioning of the fact that the thieves would have to pay for the fuel wasted in arresting them.
Forcefully taking advantage of the brake appendage of the patrol car, the driver who for some anonymous reason was referred to as engineer brought the car to a brief halt, the result being bruises for his criminal passengers.
Systematically and with the utmost precision, a score of policemen jumped off the vehicle and having said their goodbyes headed for their homes leaving two policemen to occupy the back seats of the vehicle probably to see to it that the Nabuti gun men don’t jump off during transit, plus one other officer at the front who engaged the driver in hearty conversation.
Under the seats of patrol car the three students lay motionless for fear of having the officers repeat the head stumping they had delivered on to them just minutes ago. Sweat dripped from the pores of their skins, the exhaustion of the day was taking its toll, the sited Officers exerted pressure on the seats forcing drops of water (hopefully rain) that had been previously logged in the cushion out of their captivity onto the bodies of the arrested persons just lay down thoughts of fear, and even death clotting through their minds.
A few minutes later with the same forceful execution of brakes that always guaranteed their captives bruises, the vehicle came to a halt, this time with reduced number of officers and leniency the student-turned criminals could make out a location; Chillers pub; an infamous hangout spot in Kauga.
The gang of “thieves” was then ordered by the “Thief” apprehenders to pay money to the tune of one hundred thousand each for the fuel that had been spent on them.
Pleas of lack of money fell on deaf ears, after all they were campus students (Thank Allah. the amnesia of not recalling that the trio subscribed to university had finally cleared) and they were always sent to campus with a big sum of money.
A sum that the custodians of the law felt mandated to have a share of considering it was a form of facilitating their force to help it achieve its functions successfully.
After a series of haggling, the students in adept patriotism managed to raise a small sum of thirty thousand shillings of the land that was accepted with loud grumbling from the officers who felt cheated of the student’s patriotism.
The engineer entered the pub which was still open to order for a drink which to the dismay of thief-gunmen now turned campusers was not water to quench their thirst, but a sacket of spirits that were not easily identifiable.
One of the officers now turned parent/guardian henceforth took it upon himself to advise the patriots about their safety even allowing them to get out and stretch their bodies to rid their muscles of stiffness.
“Am also a former student of Makerere was at Nkrumah hall “ he said “and I know what students go through, just keep safe and avoid moving at night”.
The return of the driver coincided with freedom and the dropping of all charges. The students were now free to go. After all they were now good citizens. patriots to be precise.
With the newly rediscovered freedom and the students set out to cover the extra kilometer of distance the drive of patriotism had granted them.
Just minutes away from the pub behind them they heard the sound of an approaching vehicle followed by bright lights sprinting in their direction, recognizing the car from its bright lights, they walked on even with the car just meters away, without giving the tax payer funded vehicle time to come to rest, the same bunch of officers jumped off the car angrier than they were minutes ago!!!!
To be continued