By Isaac Mutema
Members of the Uganda Police Force pride in throwing into our faces the so-called Order From Above (OFA).
If anyone attempts to ask why they are effecting an illegal arrest, flogging him or her, let alone carrying out any illegal order, the cops will always refer such an inquisitive character to OFA for answers.
To the cops, what OFA directs them to do, no matter the legality or lack of it, that directive automatically goes. To our cops, there should absolutely be no any question about what OFA has chosen to direct them to do.
Talk of robots in human skins. Ok, walking sticks, if you so choose! Or even remote controls!
Yet ask as much as you can, but the cops will never, ever tell to you about OFA’s address, nor tell you why OFA, most of the time, disregards any known law or even procedure, whilst doing his things.
Well, karma is a superb equalizer. Some, among the Police Force, are themselves too currently wailing, under the usual overbearing of their cherished OFA!
From Bweyogerere, a trading center lying like six miles along Kampala, Jinja Express Highway emerges the fascinating story regarding the sealing off of a police ghetto village.
Strikingly, the boss of the Uganda Police, Martin Okoth Ochola, stays in Bweyogerere’s Kakajjo village in Mayor Julius Mutebi’s led Kira Municipality. The ghetto littered with ramshackle excuses of houses, was sealed off under OFA’s orders.
This time round, perhaps aware that a monkey can’t sit in the judgment of a case about burning down the forest, OFA instructed the military to go and seal off the police ghetto instead.
You must have been there to witness the cops shaking like a reed in the monsoon wind, seeing their ghetto being mercilessly sealed off! “What is going on? Some of the bewildered cops asked the military men.
To which the military men appropriately answered,” Order from above! Oh, oh, fate is a fascinating judge. Go there and witness yourself, if you are still in doubt, we aren’t telling jokes! The ghetto is absolutely sealed off.
What remains are very small openings for the cops, to use to enter and exit, as they wait to be told to go away altogether! Well, the cops are to blame to an extent. They just woke up one day and discovered an empty place full of garbage and what have you.
So, they deluded themselves that they had landed free land for themselves.
Just like that, the cops started to mobilize half burnt bricks and old iron sheets plus wood, before immersing themselves into construction of the ghetto village.
Yet, according to Buganda’s Attorney General Chris Bwanika’s counsel to businessman Ham Kiggundu, in respect of Kigo land, one doesn’t turn into a proprietor of land or any property, by merely discovering it, just as Hannington Speke discovered the source of the Nile. Right!
The truth of the matter is that this land forms part of the Namboole Stadium renamed Nelson Mandela in recognition of South Africa’s anti-apatheid icon, Nelson Madiba Mandela.
The government, following the public’s frantic encroachment on the land, took the decision to reclaim the land and seal it off. This is how the police ghetto, we are writing about, ended up sealed off too.
In the early years of the NRM, the regime secured a grant from China. The funds were used to pay off occupants of the land ahead of construction of the stadium.
Some, among the crafty people paid off, would later return on the land or find raw Ugandans, to whom they resold the land and disappeared to do other things.
Because it was empty land, all sorts of people deluded themselves it was actually available for them to use as they wished. At one time, the then Kira LC3 chairman, Mamerito Mugerwa gave away– in fact purported to give way– part of the land to army veterans.
The clueless veterans went ahead and mobilized building materials which they used to erect a market on their ‘share’ of the land courtesy of the generous leader.
The authorities would later tell them to peacefully leave the land but the veterans swore how they were going to die fighting for their ‘share’ of the after-war spoils.
Well, their rebel chief, Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni would, upon learning about how the veterans had turned to sounding the war drums, over what was legally not theirs, send in the red cap guys who effectively chased away the veterans and pulled down their stalls.
As we wind up, the cops of the ghetto are fear-stricken and completely unaware of what is going to happen next now that they have finally learned that the land they thought was available for them, is in reality, not.
Well, God cares. He is God of Providence. He will surely intervene on the victims’ behalf.