Police Button on My Back
the evening hell broke loose as hungry men went angry

by Mazuba Mwiinga

I was caught up in the fracas like a rat with no hole nearby to hide. Standing in between wall fences two pick up vans loaded with button wielding angry paramilitary riot-thwarting men blocked the either way of the end of my path. They jumped out like soldiers in Iraq about to arrest Saddam and charged towards me.

I wasn't thinking. The first button landed on my clean shaven head. I could feel the button bending. Something unrealistic about my head. "Nacita cani boss - what have done boss" is all was coming from mouth. As the this young man probably in his early 20 continued clobbering me on my back and shoulder. My laptop tightly held in my hands like my newly found love. And quickly i slid my smart phone in my underwear.

"Mwaiyamba mweka isilizeni tione - finish what you have started." the young police officer said as the four of them dragged me to the van. My handsome face hidden on my chest. They could anything they wanted with the rest of my body and not my face and my laptop.
My fellow victim was bleeding profusely from the nose. I looked at the young police officer in the eyes. Mucus was running down his nose. "Uniyangana cani - why are you looking at me" he shouted at me and i looked at a female police officer in general office. She avoided my eyes. I lie on my face as two paramilitary guys out of all the pack probably twenty according my journalistic estimates hammered my back time to time.

Out of pain came sympathy for them. Then the van sped off. I told my heart to relax and to expect the worst. I knew what would happen next. Once in cells hell will break lose the moment they discover my journalism connections. I have had that before. So i accepted whatever it was to come.

Beatings continued in the can. They more they beat me the painless the button became. I could feel the frustration from the beater. One hammered the back if head the other my back. Only two guys and i wondered why. The van cruised like it would fly. I didnt want to lose anything so stayed calm and attentive. Something told me everything was under control. Then the van stopped. "bwana tabwela tikasiye vimambala eevi pa station boss we will be back we drop off these thieves" the same young man said. I begged for my phone not to ring. And thanks  for it, it didn't.

Surrounded by a pack of these human weapons you are rendered powerless physically. But i promised myself never to let them weaken my mental stamina. I could hear my fellow captive groaning under the twenty plus officers who sat on him. Something was telling me something was blocking them from viciously maligning me.

Then we reached Kanyama Police Post. "cokani fast azasalila tipaya - hurry up or else we will you" the same mad young man announced. They all jumped down and my other three captives rolled down. My laptop bag got entangled in one officer's leg. I couldn't leave my gadget there. One tried to pull me down. I refused as held my laptop telling the officer to step out. One tried to push me out but i couldn't move. Buttons came and went on my back. Painful as they were my laptop would be left in the car. Then the laptop strapping got torn and i secured my laptop and stoop up. Then a strange thing happened.

Three paras held my left shoulder trying to throw me down the van and i just from my right shoulder, "kaleke aaka nikaziba - leave this one i know him" i looked at the one who was talking as he overpowered the other three was a young police officer in general duty uniform. The three let me loose. "coka aapa tamanga - get out and run" the mad one commanded. I looked at my rescuer, i could not recognize him. I reluctantly jumped down the van and trotted through a maze of green uniformed police officers. They friendly looked at me as went away like nothing serious was going on.

Then i recalled my other fellow captives and the nightmares of their night. I Checked myself and my bag...I lost only my spectacles what a good show of resilience and commitment to life.

Zambia is definitely at cross roads with these killings going on.