By Markson Omagor
24th April, 2022
Joseph Inangut (my childhood friend) came to visit me at about 2:00pm and gave me Fifteen Thousand Shillings (15,000/=). A heavy downpour had just ceased when my friend, Karadio came with a piece of paper bearing the names of Omagor John Mark.
He wondered whether this indeed was me or somebody else. But the Omagor and then Mark and a third name proved to me that I should be the one. Moreover, till then, I was the only Omagor in M/BAY prison.
When I reached the reception office, another office cleaner inquired of me whether I was the one. I told him the other two names were mine and the manufacture of a John to replace Dick also surprised me. When however, Joseph together with my brother Geoffrey walked through the door, whatever doubts we all had were erased.
Later that evening, that night I was happy and therefore slept rather happily. At night however, there was a murmured scuffle and I did not bother to find out.
In the morning soon after lock up, Musa the Ward’s Imam and the head of the Chapatti Making Party (This was a group of prisoners making chapatti on behalf of the OC for sale) reported to the ward leader. His complaint was that Ngabirano Abbey, a dark flabby cheeked Munyankole had stolen his cooking oil.
This hitherto quiet five footish guy had stealthily woken up at night, poured cooking oil from Musa’s bigger jerrycan into his half litre jerry can (½ ltr). In the process however, Musa and neighbors woke up and caught him red handed before he stowed away his booty. He was administered a few slaps then before the R.P intervened. He was then called to the Ward leader’s bedside- his office.
While the accusations were repeated to Abbey, he kept quiet, his head on his shoulders. Later, instead of responding to the accusations, he started palm hitting the sides of his head like one trying very hard to recall something. Then, in some form of gibberish, he said he did not know what was happening, that he should have been dreaming.
The Ward leader off course did not buy this explanation, Abbey then chose to hit his head much harder this time, crying and saying he deserved to die! Then he asked in another form of gibberish whether he was in Settemba Prison? Then again asked the ward leader where he was and what he had done wrong.
Still no one was convinced that our very own Abbey had after all gone bonkers. This reality did not escape him as this time he started sniffing his palms, bringing his right palm to his nostrils, then away from his face. He then stretched this same palm asking the ward leader to smell it too saying it smelt like a dead body. At this point, we couldn’t hold back any more, we all burst out into laughter. Whereas our Abbey could have thought his theatrics had worked, we instead confirmed his tricks and decided that he should be reported to Chief Convicts Office.
We then left for labour parade leaving Abbey together with the ward leader, the complainant and the exhibit. We were later told that as they reached the steps leading to the ground floor, Abbey held onto the rails, saying to himself that he ought to die. Then he swung back, then forth bringing his fore head crushing onto the rails. He missed the rails by a whisker, the ward leader watched him unperturbed. Down on the ground floor and onto the road with the ward leader leading, Abbey knocked his right foot hard on the ground and drove himself fast onto the ground.
Then there he started waving his arms rather helplessly above his head. This attracted many people hitherto foreign to the saga and believing in what they saw. They tried to lift him from the ground as it now seemed to be an emergency, he became even frailer with his arms falling down to the ground at will whenever they were left free. Abbey was indeed dying! Even the ward leader now started believing that his man may actually have been sick.
Then somebody was sent to call Dr. Booma (Dr. Booma is the R.P In charge of taking sick prisoners to hospital) to find a stretcher to transport the ‘dying’ Abbey to the Hospital. Dr. Booma hurriedly came to the rescue finding Abbey lifting his head a little sideways to discern the happenings in his environment.
When Dr. Booma was told it was Abbey, he showed his doubts. He then tried to find out what exactly happened. Off course this happened within the earshot of Abbey, who realizing that his game was coming to an end, abruptly got up, and brushed himself dusting off sand that had got stuck in his shirt. He was then led to the office, walking by himself and showing no signs of sickness.
Later that evening, he was escorted to our ward by R.P commander who ordered him to carry his belongings to Committal Block, a punishment block.