By Markson Omagor
It was some years back when a friend of his working with Entebbe International Airport stole twenty brand new Apple Laptops. URA quickly got to know of this and alerted security. There were several police and Military roadblocks setup along Entebbe –Kampala highway.
“So you see one day, as..as..I..I was seated at home bored, this.. this guy calls me and ahhh.. aah.. tells me, he had stolen 20 Apple laptops but security had been heightened along Entebbe Kampala highway so there was no way he could get them out of Entebbe,” The Alur guy started the narrative that really captivated me.
“So what did you do?” Moses asked him.
“I..I… told him to give me time to think,” he replied.
Well, the Alur guy who was at the time staying in Kitintale also looked out for another tribemate who had a pickup vehicle and they hatched the plan.
The following day with the help of the tribemate, a driver of a pickup vehicle, they manufactured one. They decided to buy two goats which they transported to Entebbe, slaughtered and left them to rot in his friend’s courtyard. After two days they were ready for the journey.
But first they had to buy two coffins that could accommodate all the laptops. Then they had to hire two old women as the aggrieved mothers and coach them on how to ‘mourn’ whenever they reached any roadblock.
That was not enough, the night before departing Entebbe, they had to booze the women and ensure they had no sleep, so that the look alone in their eyes would tell how they had been crying for their dead.
They also bought black gomesis, black head scarfs and Kitenge wrappers for the women.
In the wee hours of the morning they were driving out of Entebbe. In the front was the driver and himself. The driver being obviously drunk and high on ‘Njanga’. Himself very sober and somber; in the back of the pickup truck, were two coffins and two grieved “women”! They were dressed in black, Kitenge draped round their waists, heads covered with black clothes. Their eyes were red, teary and tired of ‘weeping’. The smell coming out of the coffins was terrible, it smelt of death, rotten death. They met the first road block just after takeoff.
“Where are you going at this time?” inquired one of the military personnel manning the road block.
“…….To Nebbi……..” he answered.
“…..we are taking dead bodies for burial …” he volunteered further.
“Which dead bodies are these?” the soldier insisted.
“….they drowned, they are bodies of two young fishermen. The women behind are their mothers.”
At the mention of this, the two mothers sniffed making as to wail.
“……..Open these coffins…” insisted the soldier.
It was the driver without any hesitation who came out with a hammer and proceeded to remove nails from the first coffin. He removed the first nails, then the second. Then he lit a sportsman cigarette and puffed at it heavily. The soldiers were now keen, waiting to prove that whatever was inside was indeed a corpse. The driver removed the third nail and the back part of the coffin could now be lifted up.
He proceeded to open just slightly. The stench that escaped from the coffin sent the soldiers scampering.
“Close …….close. uhh, close your coffin……” they ordered now a good number of meters away from the vehicle. The driver then nailed the nails back, puffing even more heavily now. The bereaved mothers were having their noses covered and facing away from their loved ones. Off they went.
They drove without incidence till they approached Kampala City. Just before the Kibuye round about, they were stopped by a police patrol vehicle. They stopped.
“…..Where are you going?”
“….To Nebbi “He replied
“……What is this?”
“….Those are deed bodies, we are taking them for burial as you can see.”
The policeman then began to order that the coffins be opened. But just as the driver was getting at it again, one of the policemen, a son of an Alur also, commanded otherwise.
“Can’t you see that these are dead bodies? Can’t you smell the stench?” He asked his fellow officers. Then in Alur, he told them to drive away. And they drove on. About 100km away from Kampala both occupants of the two cabins were sipping Uganda Waragi. The journey was promising but the experiences on Entebbe –Kampala road had exhausted their wits. They needed to reload. So they drove on, always being waved on till they reached Nebbi. Even while there, they did not want to take anything for granted.
The recipient of the ‘corpses’ was grazing near a swamp and that is where they drove to. They met him there, and it’s there that the coffins were opened. The rotten pieces of goat’s meat were carefully removed out with the 3rd and outer white heavy polythene paper and thrown away.
For the better part of the afternoon, they ‘washed’ the vehicle while partaking of Kwete. In the evening, the recipient took his visitors home for lunch. They ate their lunch at 8:00pm and continued with Kwete until others entered their houses or left for their homes. This is when they offloaded the Apple Computers to the recipient’s house. They drove back the same night picking the two mothers at the town for a return journey back to Kampala. For his efforts and bravery he became two million richer!
Just before the conclusion of this story my cooking mate, the Karadio had been tirelessly signally for me to go to him. I told him to wait, he insisted I go and I insisted likewise when finally I went to him, he told me my porridge was cooling and he wondered grudgingly why I was slow at responding to his call. I quietly climbed upstairs to my ward and took my porridge. I did not tell him this story because I could not. Our means of communication was majorly Luganda in which off course I couldn’t sustain a conversation, neither was his grasp of English conversational. I wish he could read this piece then he would appreciate the reason behind my delay that day.