I have always callously ignored allegations of corruption, insensitivity and malice leveled by members of the general public about the Uganda police Force until recently when I engaged the force for a service I urgently needed.
It was at a time when I run into problems with a carpenter (names withheld) who defaulted on his agreement to deliver a dining table, a sofa set, a side board and a wardrope after pocketing my Ushs 1.2m as down payment back in 2009.
As he admitted, he had actually made the items, but sold them to go for kyeyo in UK, a scenario that left me no choice but to borrow from relatives to make the needed furniture since my wedding was approaching.
By a whack of chance, I spotted this man one day while strolling along Entebbe road, at a drinking joint and I quickly made up my mind to engage the services of the ‘Uganda police Force’ to bring the culprit to book immediately.
On the advice of my young brother who was fresh from an experience of recovering money from another unscrupulous carpenter, I went to Kawempe Police Station where the offence was committed and launched my case from there before I was referred to Lubowa Police station to execute the arrest.
My first amazement came when I entered the office of the O.C operations where I was told to think of what I was going to leave at his table before on top of ‘appreciating’ the officers who would get the job done in the field.
After I dropped a few bank notes in his hands, he quickly ordered three policemen to pick the station’s patrol truck to come to my ‘aid’ without fail.
But the trio could not set foot in the field before they engaged me in a round of negotiations as to how much they were expecting in exchange for the service they were about to render. But fortunately I tactfully managed to put it off by promising them a pleasant ‘appreciation’ at the end of the mission.
Soon after arresting the suspect, one officer who was not ready to proceed to Kawempe told me to pay up and I obliged without hesitation.
Soon after arrival at Kawempe Police station, they removed the handcuffs from the suspect, handed him to the officer in charge of the case, and then the haggling over their “pays” started in earnest!
“Before we discuss any thing else, we want you to produce money for the fuel between Sseguku and Kawempe plus payment for arresting your suspect, ” said the officer at the steering wheel.
I gave them Ushs 50,000 which was remaining in my pocket but they rejected it as they quarreled bitterly.
“I can even malice this case if you are joking,” one of them said in a tantrum, accusing me of being such a cheat whose symptoms they regrettably didn’t detect at the earliest sign of my resistance to negotiate they delivered the service.
I wish I had some money left in my pocket atleast to appease them from maligning my case as they earlier threatened but alas I dint!
They finally drove off in furry but left me wondering whether they (Police) still deserve to be called a national and not mercenary force!