When in trouble, stay away from planes

The headline story this week came out of Nairobi where Dr. Kiiza Besigye, leader of Ugandan opposition party FDC, was prevented from embarking on a Kenyan Airways flight to Entebbe. Kenyan Airways officials claimed that they had received instructions from the Ugandan Government stating that if they carried Besigye, they would be barred from landing at Entebbe.

The headline story this week came out of Nairobi where Dr. Kiiza Besigye, leader of Ugandan opposition party FDC, was prevented from embarking on a Kenyan Airways flight to Entebbe.

Kenyan Airways officials claimed that they had received instructions from the Ugandan Government stating that if they carried Besigye, they would be barred from landing at Entebbe.

The Ugandan Government denied that it had given any such instructions and from there, it was pure drama. Kenyan Members of Parliament were heard on the floor condemning the Ugandan Government and Kenyan Airways had to backtrack on their earlier claims and state that their ‘internal intelligence’ had indicated that they would be barred from landing.

In the meantime, Dr. Besigye soaked up all the attention and, when he finally arrived in Entebbe, distracted media attention from President Museveni’s swearing-in function. 

It would be interesting to see whether his ordeal while on bail from various charges levelled against him will count as a mitigating circumstance or not.

As I write this, IMF Head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has just been arrested at New York’s JFK onboard an Air France flight that was about to take-off for Paris.

The story that came out was that he was being accused of “a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment” of a Manhattan hotel housekeeper. Initial reports suggest that the housekeeper was assaulted by a nude Strauss-Kahn as she cleaned his suite. After a scuffle, she managed to break away from him and report the incident to hotel officials who then called the police.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s hasty escape ended in the first class of Air France where he was arrested. His single similarity with Dr. Besigye is that he was considered a front-runner for the Presidential nomination of the Socialist Party [currently in opposition] in France.

I bet that there will be quite a few of his supporters who will claim that he was set-up by President Sarkozy’s government.

Watch the news this week and see if they don’t. The moral of last week seems to be that if you’re having trouble with the law, don’t try to go home on a plane. 

Back home in Rwanda, avoiding planes will not get a budding criminal off the hook. Matter of fact if you’re a Burundian car thief, you’d do well to avoid the Republic of Rwanda all together.

Last week, the Police in conjunction with their Burundian counterparts launched an operation to recover cars stolen from Burundi.

It must have been fairly tedious for any owners of Burundian registered cars or visiting Burundians who came driving.

At the end of the exercise the Police and their Burundian counterparts seemed quite pleased with themselves [at least according to this paper] and basically repeated the second sentence of this paragraph.

I wonder how Rwandan car thieves fare in Burundi though as I can’t recall any stories of arrests and extraditions of Rwandan carjackers.

Does that mean that the arrests happen but are not reported or that there are no car thieves smuggling cars across to Burundi or that, in Hollywood style [think Nicholas Cage in Gone in 60 seconds], they’re getting away with it?

It’s not immediately apparent and we’ll have to consult the Police for the answer to that question but it seems to me that while well-known personalities were getting into onboard scrapes and less known carjackers were getting rounded-up that perhaps it’s a good idea to stay put when you think the law or the state is after you. Less dramatic that way.

okabatende@gmail.com

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