‘No human being should have to spend time in that place’

Our local community recently attempted to kick-out a businessman from our small trading centre for sleeping around with under-aged girls. One of the ringleaders to this purge was Denis, one of the main bodas from the local stage who the community (and us) depend on to get things done.

Unfortunately this local businessman didn’t listen to the move-on advice and retaliated with his own form of deceitful revenge. Denis and the captain of the local boda stage were falsely accused of rape and later arrested and spent one day in a holding cell. Denis told me afterwards that the holding cell was so awful that ‘no human being should have to spend time in that place’. The community rallied behind him, however, and streamed throughout the day to the police station, delivering water and food.

While visiting us soon afterwards Denis spotted one of the women who had falsely accused him. He organised for a meeting with another of the girls (in our compound, away from suspicious eyes) and recorded his conversation with her on our phone.

The girls confessed that the businessman had paid them 25,000 shillings each (about £5.20; $8.70) to lie to the police and make-up the story about Denis and his colleague. Apparently two other girls had refused to lie.

Denis and his boda colleague then took the evidence to the police and cleared their name. A community meeting was organised, and the businessman’s father pleaded that they allow him to stay. The father claimed that if his son was expelled from the trading centre it would be like cutting off a limb from his body. The community succumbed to the father’s plea and the businessman remains.

Unfortunately here, it is easy to make up stories about people to get them locked away. It is common practice for people to make up stories about a foe on a Friday afternoon knowing that they will not be processed until the Monday morning. Just to teach them a lesson… with charges often dropped on the Monday.

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