In a move that people are unsure whether to call stupidity or bravery , a petite woman, Lindsey, tried to rescue a thief from a mob . Read her own account and decide what to call it
Although what I started off my morning trying to do was not superwomanish at all. I wanted to buy wool and knitting needles.
Yes. I want to start knitting again.
I hopped off the taxi at Bugolobi and proceeded to venture deep into where you purchase that sort of material. Only upon reaching the entrance to that market, to hear unmistakeable sounds of a fight. Involving very many people.
Well, as long as it didn’t involve me, I was free to sidestep it and go about my business.
Lo and behold. What was this?
Coming toward me was a group of people dragging a man along. His shirt was torn off his body and his face was…well, it was red with his blood. Every part of him was grabbed by men who kept delivering blows and loud punches to his body. His back had been gifted to a woman in a tattered red blouse and no bra. Her breasts swung back and forth furiously in tandem with her fists as she rained blows on his back.
He was obviously a thief. They were just about to pass me but I could not move. I was not staring at him. I was staring at the people dragging him along. They were so angry. How, I thought, had he robbed all these people at the same time?
That’s because he hadn’t. I saw a man appear from around the corner, join the group and aim poorly placed kicks at the thief, who now staggered in my direction. I jumped out of the way as droplets of blood sprayed from his nose.
If there is one thing I dislike about mob justice, it is how the police come when it’s all over. I understand why now. No one calls the police. I watched aghast as they dragged him to a tree and hurled him down on the ground. He flew and I winced as his back hit the tree and he crumpled on the ground.
I had already tried to call the police thrice. The number was unavailable. No surprise there. One man had gone away and had now come back holding a dangerous looking log of wood. Another had his foot flying towards the man’s face in, I must say, a professional looking kick. I did not wait to see the impact. I turned and I run.
I run towards the Bugolobi police post. After about two minutes of a determined sprint, I found myself looking at, not the police post that I was familiar with, but an iron sheet fence. Through a gap I saw bulldozers.
“Developers!”, I hissed. I run back down towards the taxi stage.
“Where’s the police post moved to?”, I rasped to the special hire drivers.
“Just there,”, a driver answered. “Straight ahead”.
“Do I need to take a boda?”
“No, no, it’s just there, keep running”.
After about 45 seconds of running, it occurred to me that ‘just there’ did not sound too good for me. I asked two boda men I passed where the police post was.
“Just there”, the ehoed. I sighed and continued. Thankfully, another 20 seconds and it was there. Two policemen had already stood up having observed my approach.
“What is the matter?”, they asked. I liked the bluntness of their question. No greetings, just get to the point.
“A possible lynching in Bugolobi market”.
The words had hardly left my mouth than two policemen grabbed their guns and beckoned me to follow them. They dashed towards a security car parked nearby.
“We have an emergency in Bugolobi” ,They said. “Ask your boss if we can take the car.”
I felt that things were progressing very nicely indeed. I scuttled into the car and leaned against the seat to get my breath back. The officer in front turned towards me sympathetically.
“Madam, I’m sorry”, he said. “But you cannot have the car”.
“Come, come”, the police man said. “Let us run!”
What, run? I was about to ask if I could not just pay for their bodas when the second policeman was prompting me to run after his colleague.
“You have to show us where this is happening! But don’t hurry or you’ll get tired. Run steadily, like MchakaMchaka. Follow our pace.”
So there we were. One policeman in front, me in the middle and one behind me. Both of them had guns. I could see the perplexed faces of passengers in cars, boda bodas and onlookers at this very strange procession.
And who did we bump into right when we reached Bugolobi? The man I’d seen delivering the most blows leading the thief in a most civilized manner, coming towards us. The policemen knew it was the thief they had been rushing to save.
“Is that him? Is that him?”
“That’s him”, I replied, weak with relief to not see any more broken bones. But what was this? He had been cleaned up and his shirt taken off. Apart from a certain redness under his nose, you could not believe he’d almost been clobbered to within an inch of his life.
Ever the snitch, I was already tugging at the policeman.
“Look, that was the man who was beating him with a wooden…”
The potential murderer in turn, tugged at my arm and said, “Nawe, beera steady. I’ve brought him here, just forgive me”.
The police did not notice this conversation as they were now taking charge of ‘their prisoner’.
I sighed. I was tired. I did the unusual thing, for me.
I let it go.