Afande Makumbi’s message sent recently should have rung a bell in my mind. “You media people must now be knowing what he is going to say. Is he going to lift the curfew?” he asked.
The police officer, a former classmate, meant President Museveni and his national address. But his concern for curfew had slipped my mind until a day later when the realisation hit like a hot slack from a guy whose palm is growing fatter faster than a corrupt politician’s belly.
I was handing the chapati maker Shs1,000 when he took to his heels instead. The guy next stall was also gone. Before the strange spectacle could hit home, two men dangling whips made from old car timing belts surrounded and grabbed me by the waist.
Now when you see people suddenly flee a place, it’s good to first run before finding out why they were running away. But it was too late for me now. My toes hardly kissed the ground as these patrol policemen dragged me away.
They shoved me under the patrol pick-up truck’s metallic seats as they busied themselves grabbing more curfew breakers. A few boda bodas had also been impounded in this 9.15pm operation.
They ignored attempts to talk and only kept threatening to flog me. After a short drive, they stopped for a fresh round of what was now clearly extortion. I took my chance and talked tougher than the earlier pleadings.
Their ‘commander’ obliged. With a nod of the head, the only woman among these extortionists asked me to alight. As I started to leave, one of the men dived and grabbed my hand and took away the Shs1,000. That was my chapati money.
There are so many wananchi losing their 1k every night to hungry police officers who now pronounce curfew as ‘cash-few.’
Since the President declared ‘cash-few’ last year, we haven’t heard of police officers complain of non-payment of salaries or being supplied with rotten beans.
They are too busy making a killing to worry about rotten beans ration and Public Service not paying them salaries. No wonder Afande Makumbi was anxious to know if the President would lift the ‘cash-few.’ After nearly a year of having a daily Christmas-kind-of-life, which police officer would want to see an end to their ‘cash-few’?
And now they all look constipated and inebriated. Yes, chapati is made from wheat flour and Dr Kasenene says eating 1k chapati from 10 or more wananchi a night can cause acute constipation.
As for being inebriated, let’s just agree that these guys are drunk on the power ‘cash-few’ has placed in their hands. The guys who yanked me off from the chapati stall were actually so malnourished one breath from the IGP’s nose could send them tumbling like a coin rolling down a flight of stairs.
But they flaunted so much power in their malnourished bodies that a well-built me was more helpless than a chick that has fallen in a newly-dug pit-latrine.
The other day, one of the inebriated officers was explaining why he orders his men to flog journalists covering politicians. He said they do it to protect the poor journalists from harm.
In the error (forgive the pun) of ‘cash-few’ and chapati extortion, the officer couldn’t have been more right. In fact, the media fraternity should initiate an award and fete him for being so lenient as to not order his men to use fighter jets to perforate the reporters.
Now you see how the Spotted Animal is a political genius. Just dangling a ‘cash-few’ to his hungry police has been enough to fatten them on our chapati and make them so inebriated they speak about drone number plates falling off as if they are speaking about candles in the wind.
Just give a hungry cop ‘cash-few’ and he will use a timing belt to whip the last dregs of political defiance out of the wananchi.
A ‘cash-few’ and a chapati is better than weevil infested beans, they say.