By Omar Kalinge-Nnyago
I hope this finds you in high spirits. While this is a letter to you, it is meant for all those who share your commitment to making Uganda better.
If this is your first time to be arrested, welcome to the club. This is going to be your new life. Police cell, court, Luzira, home. And the cycle again. Your children will get used to it and this will turn them into warriors -well before their time. But if your mother is a lioness, what business do you have being a rabbit?
Imprisonment is the most liberating experience. You are now fully liberated from the fear of the unknown, which is holding many people back from playing meaningful roles of liberation. Whoever thinks has punished you, by locking you up, will live to regret the monster they just created.
My first time in a police cell I was so bitter. By day two I was fully at home. Now, I don’t remember how many police bonds I have answered and my bail money on two occasions has not been refunded to me.
Then the first ride to Luzira. It was a long one. My wife cried seeing me board that maroon bus. Later, we debated whether our children of tender age should come to visit me. We said yes- let them come visit and see what their daddy was doing in a yellow shirt, among many other persons in yellow too. Let them see me smile even in adversity. Lesson: Don’t seek to shield your kids from this experience. Let them visit you. They will cope better.
I really hope you don’t get a police bond. I want you to appear in court, be denied bail too, so that you can complete the cycle. I want you to hold your breath as you wait for those sureties. Bite your sweet lips as one or two of the sureties are rejected on grounds… Watch the magistrate fidget under pressure from above to deny you bail. You won’t regret it Stella.
You want to hear those stories of fellow inmates to appreciate life more. To know why Uganda must be liberated sooner than later. I hear it is a bit comfortable at the women’s wing. But the life stories are the same. If you manage to get admitted to Luzira, a tabloid will invent some juicy stories for several days about you. Good business. Just ignore.
Hey! Get an anti malaria dose before you go to court and drink a lot of water too. Just don’t fall sick while in Luzira, please. Take their food, if you wish – but not their medicine. I really hope you don’t have to go to that sick bay. You will soon know why.
Stella, apart from the liberating experience of jail, you shall get to know who your true friends really are.
You are lucky you are booked for some ‘nice’ charges this time. If you don’t abandon the struggle at this point, they will find even nastier charges against you next time- intended to put you to shame: theft, obtaining money by false pretence, soliciting sex from a minor – stuff like that. I know you are ready for more.
You are not victim Stella. A whole new world has just opened for you – because you are now free from fear. How I wish each and every activist in Uganda goes to jail at least once one of these days!