Monday, April 13, 2009
The Nairobi Report: Episode 1
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely
The characters in this story are purely fictional they bear no relation or connection to persons living or deceased.
His sweaty palm gripped the briefcase handle tightly, he scanned the crowd looking for his contact, he did it any way even though he didn’t know who that would be. All he had been told was that he would be reached. His navy blue suit was a tight fit and it made him feel naked and exposed, he was almost certain everyone present could hear his heart thumping loudly inside his chest, his breath came in quick short bursts and his brow glistened with sweat, beads of perspiration continued to pour down his face despite his constant attempts to dab them away with a white handkerchief that he held in his left hand, and all the while his right hand tightly clutched the briefcase.
The president’s motorcade left Columbus lane turning right to join the Lule Motorway that led to the school. The motorway was lined with hundreds of cheering people who waved the thumbs up sign to the motorcade and no one in particular since both limousines that cruised past had all windows tinted out with black as was the case for the accompanying land cruisers that formed a protective shield on either end of the convoy.
He pocketed the hanky and proceeded to the entry point, the school field was swarming with PGB soldiers their blue berets visible form every corner of the area, policemen in their rather unsightly brown uniforms formed a cordon all around the football field, large crowds of eager spectators and curious children swarmed back and forth pressing against the cops, eager to watch and wait to catch a glimpse of the president. He proceeded to the VIP entrance gate nervously fingering the VIP pass pinned to his lapel, he fell in line behind a rotund and loud Major General who was constantly bitching about the slow movement of the line he recognized the officer as Kalinza Ofalire one of the historicals, his heart raced and he swallowed hard to stop his head from throbbing, a quick glance behind him revealed a very impatient Akama Mukabazi, security minister who adjusted his spects every five seconds. That was when it hit him, his was a class ‘A’ VIP pass, his knowledge of protocol told him that he would be seated right behind the president. He closed his eyes and thought of his wife and son, the man had told him they wouldn’t be harmed, he just had to do as asked.
Col. Moses Rwakitata stared out of his black Raybans and scanned the entire area for the umpteenth time, his eyes alert and unblinking took in every detail, from his vantage position atop the army green G series benz nothing escaped his attention. Parked next to the VIP pavilion Rwakitata had only one task to execute ‘protect president Baguta Mubeseni at all costs’ next to him sat Captain Rusoze whose hand constantly caressed the butt of his holstered Colt 45.
The motorcade sped on along Lule Motorway, crowds lined up by the road side cheering as the convoy flew past towards its destination..
“Confirm status” Rwakitata ordered, his eyes never left the crowd.
Rusoze whipped out a walkie and started a routine security check with security personnel planted all over the area.
“Status 1330, this is Eagle, come in sector A” Rusoze spoke into his walkie.
After a crackle and some military gibberish to the untrained ear a voice finally confirmed “Sector A all clear”
Capt. Rusoze repeated the process with sectors B, C, D, and E.
“All clear in sectors A to E” he relayed to Rwakitata.
Rwakitata nodded perfunctorily, his eyes never leaving the crowd, everything was going according to plan yet his gut told him something was amiss, after 20 years in the army he had come to trust his instincts and his never lied.
By the time he stepped up to the metal detector his stomach had turned into a painful knot, it was all he could do to keep from bending over, he was hoping that the tension and anxiety wasn’t plainly showing on his face. He passed his brief case onto the soldier on his right and stepped through the arch of the metal detector.
“Could you open this Mr. Mulunuzi”
He stared at the soldier for a brief second and wondered why he was being called……..
He then remembered that that was the name on his VIP pass.
“Of course” he offered.
But before he could flip it open a tall and broad shouldered PGB Lieutenant arrived and curtly announced.
“Mr. Mulunuzi is with the foreign affairs detail I’ll take him to his seat”
He stared and swallowed hard. His contact, A PGB Lieutenant?
“We need to check that”, the soldier insisted.
“Very well”, the Lieutenant snapped, but make it quick will you, the president arrives in fifteen minutes.
The briefcase turned out to contain a sheaf of documents printed on government of Uganda coat of arms letterheads.
“Clear” announced the soldier.
The lieutenant led him by the arm and whispered in his ear “Do exactly as I say and you will see your family again”
“Please don’t hurt them I’ll do anything……”
“Shut up” hissed the lieutenant “put this in your ear when you hear the words 'Julius Caesar' you will proceed as instructed” the lieutenant handed him a miniature ear piece.
They crossed the field and proceeded to the VIP pavilion.
Another soldier stopped them at the steps to the pavilion and held out his hand for the briefcase.
“This stays outside the pavilion you’ll retrieve it at the end of the function”
He received a location tag for the briefcase and climbed the steps that led him into the pavilion.
“Over here Mr. Mulunuzi” the lieutenant smiled and waved him to a chair in the second row, behind the phony smile the soldiers cold eyes bore into him ominously.
Episode 2 webs at 2:00pm on thursday