Book Serialization: Banana Republic, Where Writing Is Treasonous--Part II

the kicks and beatings ensued
-A +A
0
Author and Black Star News columnist Rukirabashaija out on bail.  
 
Black Star News is serializing below a new book Banana Republic, Where Writing Is Treasonous by Ugandan author and Black Star News columnist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija. He was arrested on Sept. 18 and beaten by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s secret police because of this new book. The book describes the torture he endured at the hands of CMI after he was first arrested on April. 13 for publishing a novel called The Greedy Barbarian a runaway bestseller in Uganda about an African kleptocrat who turns a country’s treasury into his family’s personal ATM. He’d been out on bail before his Sept. 18 arrest. Rukirabashaija was released today Sept. 21 after a global outcry and a social media campaign under #FreeKakwenza. This is the second installment of the serialization.
 
Two: My Arrest And Torture 
 
The day was Easter Monday, 13 April 2020. The time was precisely 12.55 p.m. I was bare-assed on my eight-by-six bed, lying prostrate with the laptop facing me and my phones beside me. I had finished writing an article and now I was researching for the Equity and Trusts school coursework whose deadline was due the following day.
 
I had hoped that I would jot down the notes I was Googling in my notebook and then do the typing later. I was under pressure because the lecturer had reminded us in our WhatsApp group that we should send the work to her email address the following day without fail or excuse.
 
I heard loud and impatient bangs on our gate, which was unusual, but I ignored it since the house manager was the one tasked to open and close the gate for visitors at home. After some minutes, I heard the gate squeak open, followed by the thudding of many shod feet on the cemented driveway. I wondered which visitors these were that stomped the ground with their shoes with so much energy, like elephants going to a watering hole.
 
Upon opening for the said visitors and realizing that they were men in army uniform wielding machine guns, the house manager had run away and left the gate open. She was too scared to close the gate in their faces and so she had left it wide open, and they had thronged in. She briskly ran into the house to inform my wife, Eva, about the presence of military men at the gate. Eva was in the dressing room ironing and organizing clothes in the closet. The house manager showed up in the room panting and told Eva about what she had seen with her eyes. Upon being told by the house manager of the predicament we were entangled in, she jumped up and ran through the corridor to the bedroom to inform me of the military siege.
No sooner had she uttered two or three words than the military men invaded our bedroom. I got up and cursorily wrapped myself in a towel and asked them what the matter was.
 
“Thtop athking foolish quethions, idiot. Don’t you thee uth in uniform?” one of the intruders, dressed in a black round-necked T-shirt and blue jeans, spoke through dirty, broken teeth. 
All of his front teeth were missing. This was not, however, because of old age but conceivably because he had engaged in innumerable fights that had left him toothless. He appeared to be almost my age, thirty-two or thereabouts, except that he was more muscular than me, shorter and the knife scars on his arms and face made me conclude that he had lived all his life in violence. He spoke just a little English with grammatical errors and it made me think that perhaps he had been picked from the streets to be used by the intelligence service to do their dirty inhuman deals. 
“You are under arrest, Mr. Kakwenza,” another one, in full combat camouflage, announced.
The interloper with the broken teeth pulled me out of bed while another officer in uniform grabbed my computer and phones from the bed where they lay.
“Where is your national identity card?” the one in uniform asked.
I reached for my wallet from the table and pulled out the identity card and gave it to him. He studied it briefly and asked, “You do not have a Christian or English name?”
“You mean to say, a slave name?” I shot back
“You must be a witchdoctor,” he retorted.
 We walked to the living room where the other armed men had gathered and they all showed me their Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) identify cards, and informed me again that I was under arrest. 
 
No arrest warrant was presented contrary to the Magistrates Courts Act and the Criminal Procedure Code Act. I wondered why the police, as the law provides in the Criminal Procedure Code Act, were not the ones to arrest me but military men armed with heavy machine guns! 
“Do you want to be taken like that or we let you dress up?” one officer, whose potbelly protruded like he survives on lard, spoke.
“What crime have I committed and where is the arrest warrant?” I asked.
“Idiot, this is the military arresting you, not police. You either cooperate and be taken alive or we beat and kill you and take your corpse,” the man with a potbelly threatened. 
I thought about the words of the Inspector General of Police when he said, on a live television broadcast, that any person who comes to arrest you without an arrest warrant should be beaten up. The rascals were armed to the teeth and any attempt to kick one in the crotch would be an invitation to be shot in the mouth, so I withdrew the thought and capitulated to their illegalities.
 
I was allowed to dress up, guarded by two officers. They asked for the copy of the book. To their chagrin, I told them that I had no copies, that I had sold off all of them. I opened the closet while the two officers closely watched like a dog watching over skewered meat being roasted on hot coals. I selected, from the closet, my light army green pants, white vest and a white T-shirt which I hurriedly put on. Then I announced to them that I was done.
While I dressed up, I wondered why a civilian like me would be arrested like I had stolen the president’s kidney. The soldiers were moving from one bedroom to another, checking every bag and fridge, under the sofas, in the toilets and in the cupboard looking for guns. 
“Are you armed?” one officer asked.
“Have you found any gun?” I retorted.
The way they looked at me, I formed the impression that they were only sparing me beatings at that moment because they knew they would have an opportunity to make up for lost time where they were taking me.
“Where are you taking my husband?” my wife broke the silence, asking through sobs.
“We are taking him for some small interrogation and will bring him back as soon as possible,” one rotund officer in a short-sleeved checkered shirt and jeans answered.
 
My wife had called the local council chairman. He arrived as we stood in the dining room. He watched in awe.
My wife, children and the house manager were crying incessantly and rivulets of tears were flowing down their cheeks. I knew I was in trouble but as a man, I had to be strong and emphasize to my family that all would be well. I gathered my wife into a hug and bid her goodbye and promised her that I would return the following day. She was visibly bereft and loathed the presence of government agents in the house. We got out of the house through the kitchen and via the driveway. We reached the gate where a waiting vehicle had parked, engine running and driver ensconced in his seat. The men in uniform who had surrounded the house now came upon being called by the commander of the operation. They chained my legs, handcuffed me and bundled me into the vehicle like a sack of potatoes. They didn’t care whether I had sat or not. Soon the vehicle roared into life and sped off, leaving the villagers all watching with their mouths agape.
 
While we moved, I asked them for my phone so that I could communicate with my lawyer and inform him about my illegal arrest. They told me that I was wanted dead or alive and that if I pestered them with conversations concerning my rights and the law, they would bust my ass with a silenced gun, which they pointed into my face, and dump me in Mabira Forest for wildlife to devour. The vehicle was full of guns and chains of ammunition. All the soldiers stuffed themselves into the vehicle, ten in number, and they sat on me right through the journey. I almost fainted because I couldn’t breathe properly.
 
The driver of the vehicle, a reticent middle-aged man, drove the 75 miles from Iganga to Kampala in an hour. He drove the car like a mad man. The road was clear of traffic because the country was in lockdown following the presidential directives due to the coronavirus pandemic. When we reached Namboole Stadium, the officer who had sat on me got away and eased himself down between me and another officer and pulled out a beanie from his pockets and covered my face with it. The army-green beanie reeked of cigarettes, and when I complained of the malodorous smell, he added on another one and punched me in the face.
 
I was still bespectacled and I heard another officer warn him to be careful not to break my specs. The one who sat in front of me leant over, and removed my glasses. As a frequent user of that route, I could recognize every turn they took from the time they blindfolded me up to when the vehicle stopped in a military barracks after several road blocks and checks. The vehicle pulled over into the parking lot but the engine kept running. Though I was blindfolded with a beanie, I could still see my feet. Upon alighting from the vehicle, and when they pushed me to walk, which I did without lifting the feet because of the chains, I could determine that I had moved two meters from the pavers where the vehicle had parked, and into the building I had now reached.
 
*****
 
The Torture Chamber 
 
The agents instructed me to remove my leather sandals and wallet and drop them down on the tiled floor and then kneel on the sharp stones and raise my arms straight and wait. There were other people who had been brought in before me. I could feel their presence by their incessant sobbing and panting. Some of them cried because of kneeling for long stretches of time on the sharp stones and keeping their arms raised – a herculean and inhuman punishment. I wondered what kind of humans could treat someone’s offspring in such a manner. Little did I know what awaited me!
 
After a few minutes or so kneeling on the rough stones with my arms held straight up, the pores in my skin were pouring out sweat, and my clothes were drenched. The whole experience was already despicable and terrifying because whenever your body shook, however little, or if you showed that you were tired or needed a rest, the standby officers would hit you with batons and clubs. Some of the sweat had been dripping from my temples and dropping on to the clean tiles. One officer kicked me in the back and instructed me to lick the sweat off the tiles. No sooner had I licked once than another officer came and unchained my legs and instructed me to follow him. The cold breeze had begun seeping through the corridor where we were, on the ground floor, and one could really feel that outside it was getting dark. The officer led the way and we climbed up the stairs. I counted six stairs and three landings before we got back to the corridor. I was still blindfolded and handcuffed when we entered an office.
 
“Remove that thing from his head and the handcuffs,” a clear voice instructed.
The office looked spacious and huge for only one man to occupy. He was ensconced in his office chair and his eyes glued to his Apple laptop when I looked over from where I had been instructed to sit. It was opposite his table and there was some vacant space between us.
“Mr. Kakwenza Rukira, I need to ask you some simple questions before it is too late because I have to go home,” he spoke as he rolled back his chair to create space to stand up and walk towards the vacant space. 
“I cannot see well; I need my contact lenses,” I said.
“I only need your ears, not eyes, Mr. Kakwenza,” he said in a threatening voice. “Go and bring his lenses,” he instructed the messenger, who was still standing by.
My lenses had been greased by sweating fingers when they touched them and I had to first clean them using my vest that I had worn inside the T-shirt.
“Are you okay now?” he asked.
“Sir, I am thirsty and hungry. Your boys picked me up from bed and I have not had anything to drink or eat. Hold your questions and I first energize myself,” I angrily said in a strained voice.
 
My mouth was dry with dehydration from not eating for a whole day and the kneeling on rough stones and stretching of the arms and sweating out all the water in my body. I was inaudible. The officer got up from his chair and walked to a box placed in a corner. He pulled out a bottle of Rwenzori water and handed it to me. By the time he was done with calling his boys downstairs to bring me food, I had guzzled down the entire contents of the bottle and demanded more. The food was brought. It was packed in a small square stainless steel mess tin. The food consisted of posho (cornmeal boiled in water to dough-like consistency) and beans cooked with cabbage. It was placed on the table in front of me and the man watched me from across his table eat the food with unwashed hands.
 
It was the holy month of Ramadan and the man who sat across from me looked like a Muslim. He had a callus on his forehead, which I believe is a result of persistently putting the forehead down while kneeling to pray. On his head, too, was a Muslim cap. He was a short man with a dark complexion and appeared to have been trying to lose weight. When he stood near me, he was visibly a third of my height and he would look at my face as if looking at a bird flying up in the sky.
“So, Mr Kakwenza, what do you mean by the words superannuated, kleptocracy and gerontocracy?” he asked, his eyes fixed on me as if he thought I was a Chwezi and would disappear into the walls. He had read my Facebook post where I had described Mr. Museveni, the ruler of Uganda for thirty-four years, as superannuated and unable to steer the country in the right direction. I had, in the same post, branded his government as a kleptocratic gerontocracy.
 
“From the beginning you suggested that we speak English and you emphasized that you understand it very well. So, please, the words are written in English,” I shot back.
He looked at me for more than a minute and I reprimanded myself for answering an officer like that. However, when I recalled how I had been brought to the building, the way they had picked me up from my bed at home and how I had left my children and wife crying, I didn’t give a damn.
“Okay, Mr. Kakwenza, who is The Greedy Barbarian you wrote in your novel?” he asked calmly.
“By the way, may I know the person I am talking to and your designation? And, may I use your phone to call my lawyer, because I have all the rights to access my lawyer, know why I am arrested as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995, as amended,” I quoted like someone who understood their rights as clearly pronounced in the constitution.
The Hajj, if I may refer to him thus, lost his cool. He reached out for his table phone and called his boys downstairs to come and pick me up. “Tomorrow you will talk whether you want or not,” he fumed.
 
As the summoned officer was blindfolding and handcuffing me again, I just stopped short of telling him that since he was fasting and visibly a follower of his religious beliefs, he needn’t exchange his conscience for being subservient to the wiles of the devil by kowtowing to the rogue regime demands to stifle the freedom of expression. However, I reserved my comment since I had seen a pistol well tucked into the waist of his trousers and he was obviously sufficiently charged to put a bullet through my head.
 
I was taken downstairs along the same route we had used to go upstairs. When we reached the corridor where I had left other prisoners, I noticed that they had been taken away. The beanie had been adjusted and now it covered my head only down to the nose, so through a tiny hole I could see to a small extent. The officer who led me reeked of tobacco. It was evident that when he was called, he had been smoking. Perhaps he had put out the cigarette and tucked it into his pocket. He took me to a small toilet and locked the door behind him.
For a minute or two I thought that perhaps he had brought me in to ease myself and that he would return and take me to sleep with the inmates I had found sobbing in the corridor.
 
However, as I was still wondering and as my eyes darted about, I saw a steel plate and a plastic cup that had been placed on the floor. There were also iron bars fixed into the two walls that appeared to be handles to help a handicapped person use the toilet. I proceeded to use the toilet in which I had been locked, to crap. However, when the officer came back to serve me drinking water and found me relieving myself comfortably, he kicked me viciously, propelling me off the toilet seat. I landed on the floor like a bag of potatoes. The officer had chained both my hands and legs, so gathering myself up again was something of a herculean task.
 
“You idiot, this is not a toilet!” he fumed, and the whole room was pervaded by a cigarette-polluted breath from his malodorous mouth.
“But this is a toilet, sir,” I retorted.
“Kumanyoko (your mama’s cunt). Eat that shit now!” he commanded.
I looked at him askance. The beanie that had blindfolded me had fallen down amidst the altercation.
All along he had been standing at the threshold. Now he walked into the small cell, grabbed me by the ears and thrust my head it into the toilet bowl. My mouth almost kissed the mound of unflushed constipated shit that had been floating on the water inside the bowl.
 
With a lot of anger and jeering, he stomped out. In a minute, he was back with a basin full of water. He flung the water into the toilet and some particles of shit and drops of water splashed onto my clothes. He reached for the keys in his pocket and chained my hands to the bars that jutted out of the toilet wall and chained my legs to the pipe leading to the toilet bowl. I spent the night there, praying to God.
 
It was a terrible night for me. I was very cold in the small toilet, and the pain from the tight handcuffs and tight chain around my legs was excruciating. I wondered what the following day would bring if an illiterate hired rascal who hardly spoke English, whose fingers and teeth were blackened by tobacco smoke, could treat me the way bulls being trucked from Kiruhura to Kampala for slaughter are treated. I cursed the president and his men who had violated my non-derogable rights with such impunity. I knew that the following day the brutes would interrogate me at gunpoint. I was neither a terrorist nor a deserter or someone who was threatening the president’s continued stay in power that he would lose to me in the next election. I was just the writer of a work of political fiction that was selling like hot cakes in Kampala. In fact, the first print run had already sold out!
 
The following day, a Tuesday, a medical doctor working in the barracks was the first person to open the toilet where I had spent the night standing, chained to the wall. He introduced himself as a medical doctor and that he was here to take any medical complaints. I looked at him with resentful eyes and wondered which idiot would really see a man hung in the toilet, hands already swollen, and go ahead to ask whether I had a complaint? Why would the government, the one that I pay my taxes to, the one that I contracted for five years, to protect me and my property, pick me up from my comfortable home and bring me by force to a torture chamber and then pretend to care about my pain? I wanted to spit on him but my mouth turned out to be dry. He banged the door behind him and sauntered away, perhaps to another toilet-cum-cell.
 
The day had broken and I could sense it by the many movements in the corridor. I also heard frequent flushing of toilets near where I had been hung. The door opened again. This time, a pretty woman encased in tight, high-waist, faded blue denims and a green V-necked T-shirt, which gave her the appearance of a night club pole dancer or a model, entered and stared at me lustfully for a minute or two. She reached for a cup that had been placed on the floor in the corner, switched off the light that had illuminated the small room for the night, and went out without saying a word. She closed the door and returned after five minutes with a cup of white porridge. The cup was full to the brim. She placed it on the floor and unchained me from the wall bars and asked me to sit down and eat the porridge. It was very hot but I managed to slurp it down hungrily while she stood over me and watched.
 
“What have you been brought here for, young man?” she enquired. 
When I looked up at her, I realized that she had been looking mercifully at me.
“For writing a satirical book,” I answered.
“Ehh, you are the author of The Greedy Barbarian? Where are your specs? You look different when not bespectacled,” she remarked.
“Yes, it is me. Have you read the book?” I asked. She squatted and, holding my chin, raised my face so I could look directly in her eyes and added, “You man, you outdid yourself with that novel. I knew you would be picked up. I read the first two chapters with my mouth open because every sentence is humorous and makes one laugh endlessly. Then when I got to the last chapter, I pitied you.”
 
She got up to her feet, took the empty cup from my hands and got out. Her nice perfume stayed with me in the toilet-cum-cell for more than thirty minutes. She had heaped encomium on me when she remarked that I deserved an accolade for telling a great story and then made my scrotum shrink with fear when she said that they would beat me to pulp over the third part of the novel. I sat down on the tiles with my butt and feet level and my head resting on my knees and impatiently waited to be picked up for interrogation. 
A few minutes later, a beardless boy who appeared to be barely eighteen years old, opened the door to the toilet and rudely instructed me to cover my face with a beanie and follow him. While he handcuffed me, the smell emanating from him filled my nostrils. He stank like he had spent a week without bathing, and when he spoke, his breath smelt like the water that flows in the Nakivubo channel. 
 
The youth led me to the interrogation room and forced me to kneel on rough stones and to raise my handcuffed arms straight up. The room had many interrogators. Some were seated behind their computers typing in everything I answered while others stood behind me wielding clubs, batons, guns and canes. They would hit me on the back, ankles and the soles of the feet each time I gave an answer they considered unsatisfactory. My legs were still chained and arms handcuffed and I would lose balance every time they hit me and would fall down in a heap. They would then kick me in the crotch and tummy until I gathered myself up, and knelt down on the stones again. The questions they asked me on that day were basically about myself: about my father, mother and siblings; how I met my wife; whom I dated before meeting her; how many children I had and their names; my friends since I was born; passwords to my computer and social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook; the articles I had written for the newspapers; my non-governmental organization–The Kakwenza Education Foundation; the countries I had traveled to; and much other stuff they intended to use to pin me. They already knew about every country I had travelled to; perhaps they had carried out some research from border and airport databases. They asked what business had taken me there, about the people I had met and their contacts, the hotels I had slept in and many other things that sounded irrelevant to me. Some of the things I had already forgotten, only to remember them upon being bombarded with questions.
The questions would be coming from different angles, just like the beatings. I was blindfolded but I could feel that I was in the center of a huge room and that they had strategically organized their desks to surround me. 
 
“Motherfucker, crawl out of here like a lizard,” the brute with a Rukiga accent commanded, when the time for lunch arrived.
“But how do I crawl when my legs and arms are chained and my face blindfolded?” I foolishly asked. In a minute or two, I had received like a hundred beatings from all directions and to all my body parts. My knees and joints hurt so badly that I could hardly help myself, including trying to crawl like they had instructed me to do. Still I tried because the more I delayed, the more beatings and kicks I received. I did as they had commanded until I hit my head on a wall and one officer had the gumption to ask: “Don’t you see where you are going, idiot?” 
“But I am blindfolded,” I groaned.
“You deserve death for writing about the president,” he said while shoving me to the entrance by rolling me like a log.
 
In the corridor, there were other people who had been brought in. I found them eating posho and beans with their hands. The officer adjusted the beanie to create a small opening through which I could see the food. The officer threatened that I was to limit my attention to the plate of food and not to dart my eyes hither and whither so as to look at passersby, or talk to my fellow victims of torture. An inmate who appeared to have been there for years brought food and poured for me water to wash my hands and greeted me in Kiswahili. From his skin color and hair texture, he looked like a Somali or someone from the Horn of Africa. The poker-faced officer who had stood watching us from a distance unlocked my handcuffs, leaving one hand free to pick up food from the plate. I ate my food in silence, though some of the others noisily licked their fingers after scooping up soup with their hands.
“Tell us about the greedy barbarian you wrote about in your novel.” This was the first question that hit my ears immediately I was returned to the interrogation room after lunch.
“I thought before my arrest you had read the novel, sirs?” I answered.
An uncountable number of gun butt descended on me for responding in such a brazen manner. It was as though they were pounding dry ears of maize in a sack to separate the kernels from the cobs. They instructed me to bend over an office chair by placing my crotch on to the holster and then hands on the floor. The backside was appropriately positioned for whipping.
“Okay, let me talk now,” I capitulated.
 
I was losing my mind. The pain was humongous and my mouth was the taste of raw blood. The officers instructed me to remove my pants and T-shirt and use them to clean the floor as it had been stained with sweat and drops of blood. The beanie had covered my face down to the nose. Still, I could see the officer’s shoes and denims when he came to remove the chains and handcuffs so that I could undress. The chains and handcuffs were put back after I had undressed and I was made to lie prostrate as they whipped me. My whole body was beginning to swell, as I succinctly explained the contents of the novel from beginning to end. 
 
In Africa, when you write fiction, especially political fiction, such as the political allegory Animal Farm by George Orwell, the leaders will always think that one is writing about them. Of course, every dictator will suspect that the writer meant to embarrass him. That is what happened when I wrote the novel in which, as a youth, Kayibanda was provoked by corruption, extrajudicial killings, over-taxation, unemployment, incompetence, vote rigging, lack of freedom of expression, human rights abuses, tribalism and cronyism and many more evils, to wage a war against a legitimate government. Kayibanda defeated the government and installed himself as president and ruled forever. At the time Kayibanda died, the country that had been great, was shackled by poverty and debt. Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, felt that it was him that I had written about and so he sent his hoodlums to arrest and torture me in order to hamper my creativity. The idea was to completely stop me from being creative.
 
That evening, another officer, who also reeked of tobacco, picked me up from the interrogation room and led me to the stairs, where he instructed me to stand and wait. I was only dressed in a vest and a pair of boxers. When he returned, precisely after a minute, he instructed me to stretch my hands to the upper rail of the stairs and he tied my hands there. Then he moved down and tied my legs to the lower rail. Thus my body remained stretched between the upper and the lower rails of the stairs.
“Sir, you have overstretched me. Please loosen a bit,” I begged.
“You are being punished for lying. I am doing exactly as they have instructed me,” he retorted.
“So you are a robot being controlled by remote?” I tried to crack a joke but the person at whose expense I was doing so seemed oblivious of my attempt.
 
Through the small hole in the beanie, I could see everyone who was walking out of the building because the stairs where I had been hung were near the entrance. I could see men and women in uniform, some in casual wear, and others in suits, with their bags in the hands. They were sauntering out as they chatted away in groups. Though the vision was not very clear, I could at least see the blurred silhouettes of human robots hired by the government to dehumanize Ugandans.
 
I had given up on life when the excruciating pain became unbearable. I couldn’t even speak, so couldn’t call out for help. My whole body had become numb. I couldn’t feel the chains much as I could see my bare legs and feet. I knew I was dying when I felt my eyes popping out of the sockets. I called upon God. I asked him to forgive my tormentors and to revenge on my behalf. I asked him to bless my wife and children with knowledge, life, wealth, wisdom and power. I asked God to forgive me all the sins I had committed and to welcome me into his kingdom. It was around midnight that I passed out. The cold, excruciating pain, desperation and misery were all forgotten.
 
*****
When I gained consciousness in the morning, I was lying in the corridor, prostrate but still chained. I didn’t feel anyone removing me from where I had been hung. When I became conscious again, I saw, through the small hole in the beanie, the doctor who had visited my toilet-cum-cell gather up his things, which I couldn’t identify clearly, and walk away. My whole body was itchy but I couldn’t scratch it because my hands were handcuffed. The doctor had finished administering injections, perhaps of anti-inflammatory drugs, to my body. I asked myself why the government would torture me to near-death and still care enough to administer medicine. Was it acupuncture that I had been subjected to? Or were the injections meant to dissolve blood clots where the body was swollen. Or was it slow-acting poison? Very many questions ran through my mind but no answers came up. I left everything in the hands of God.
 
I failed to eat the breakfast that had been brought for me in the corridor where I lay. I could hardly sit up by myself because of the previous day’s beatings and being hung up the whole night. I wondered whether I was still alive or whether it was just a dream. I stopped wondering the moment I was pulled from the corridor by the chains up to the interrogating room. I was hauled like a goat meant to be tethered or slaughtered. I was commanded to kneel down on the rough stones again and hold my arms straight up, but I collapsed upon trying to do so. As usual, the kicks and beatings ensued. They asked me to do a hundred push-ups and sit-ups at gunpoint. I was so weak, dehydrated and hungry that I didn’t sweat a drop during the whole exercise. 
 
My body became numb as if I had suffered a stroke. They commanded me to lie prostrate and the only sensitive parts of my body were the stomach, eyes, ears and mouth. The rest of the body felt like something dead. The last question I heard was the demand for a copy of the novel and a laptop charger. I responded that they were available at home. 
A few next minutes later, they were pulling me through the corridor and pouring water on me and hitting my ankles and shoulders with gun butts while I crawled to and fro. I wasn’t feeling anything anymore. The beatings were ineffectual and I realized that perhaps something was wrong.
 
I was pulled again like a goat and pushed into a bathroom where I was given five minutes to bathe and dress up. The puller, or officer, removed the handcuffs and chains and went away with them. I stayed motionless down on the dirty floor of the bathroom for about five minutes and began to feel the numbness going away. I bathed and washed my underwear and put it on again. I threw away the vest because it had changed color from white to brown from crawling on the floor where everyone walked with their dirty boots, and it was also all splattered with blood from the beatings.
 
In about fifteen minutes, the officer showed up with my clothes and threw them at me, and I dressed up while he watched me. 
 
© Kakwenza Rukirabashaija
 
Serialization of Kakwenza Rukirabashaija’s “Banana Republic, Where Writing Is Treasonous” continues Sept. 23 on www.blackstarnews.com 
Rukirabashaija can be contacted by e-mail message via kakwenzarukirabashaija@gmail.com for book orders

Also Check Out...

Dayton Teenager Tyra Patterson Spent 23 Years in Prison for Murder After Falsely Confessing to Stealing a Necklace.
'Wrongful Conviction'
Dodgers face the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, which begins on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas.
LeBron James is rooting for
"Despite Donald Trump’s lies and misinformation about nonexistent widespread voter fraud, the integrity of the American election
Democrats to American People: don’
Padmore settled in London, UK in 1936. There he helped foster a radical milieu of Pan-Africanist intellectuals
Pan African Profile: Activist,
Cube said he has never met Trump and is not trusting either his campaign or Joe Biden's campaign -- he's going by action.
Ice Cube Sets Record Straight
African-Americans Are Buying Guns at Record Numbers
African-Americans Are Buying Guns