A VISIT TO A POLICE TRAINING ACADEMY

*Silicon Editorial*

The Devil walks among us. Beware.

In a certain African country that has HUGE potential but which continues to deliberately promote their suffering, Mr. Njinga was recently appointed to a new position in the government. He was appointed despite his well-known history of corruption and gross incompetence back when he was a county governor. Unknown to the public, Njinga’s disqualifications are exactly what make him qualified to head the Department of the Perpetuation of Colonialism and Protection of the Powerful. (DPCPP) To the public, the DPCPP is known simply as the Department of Internal Strategy under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Today is Mr. Njinga’s first day in office. He will be taken on a tour of one of the most important pillars to the DPCPP, the Kigando Police Academy. He arrives in his office at 8pm, sharply dressed in a new suit. He finds an assortment of foods set out on his table as breakfast. He takes half a cup of tea and tells his beautiful secretary to take away the rest of it and the food. He then leaves and a brief chopper ride later, arrives at the police academy.

After receiving a warm welcome, Mr. Mtiaji, the senior most officer in the academy, takes the head of the DPCPP on a tour of the institution.

Their first stop is the Mental Degradation Center, the MDC. In there, Mr. Njinga gets a chance to sit in on one of the lessons for a couple of minutes. The instructor at the front, full of pride because important government officials get to witness him doing his job, addresses the class in a loud voice, saying, “I know that most of you have always felt like academic dwarfs. The best performer among you scored a D+. And that is why we picked you. I want to assure you that here, in the police service, you will never feel academically inferior because you do not need your brains. Repeat this sentence after me: We do not need our brains from now henceforth.”

In loud voices, the class says, “We do not need our brains from now henceforth!” Getting angry, the instructor says, “I want the people who are ten kilometers away in Nyei Town to hear you. So repeat the statement and say it as loud as you can.”

In a unified thunder of voices, the class screams, “WE DO NOT NEED OUR BRAINS FROM NOW HENCEFORTH!” With a satisfied smile, the instructor says, “Good.” He looks around the class, nodding his head. He then says, “That is one of the most important values in this police service and when you go to the next class, you will understand why. For now, we will perform an exercise…”

Leaning over to Mr. Mtiaji, Mr. Njinga says, “What is in the next class?”

“Why don’t we just head over there and you can see for yourself?” Mr Mtiaji replies. “That’s a great idea,” the boss replies and they rise to go.

Just above the doorway of the second classroom is written in bold, “YOUR SUPERIOR IS YOUR GOD.” Once again, Mr Njinga gets a chance to sit in on the class. The set up in this room is a little different. It’s a huge rectangular room and more than fifty recruits are seated on the bare floor at one end of the room. On the other end are about a dozen instructors. One of the instructors has a box file labelled, “Psych Evaluation.” He opens it and says, “Next is Jared Munene. Come forward.” One of the young men seated on the floor bolts towards the front of the room as if he is running a one-hundred-meter race. He abruptly stops meters from the instructor.

“It says here that you joined the police force to serve citizens with kindness,” the instructor says, then looks at Jared for a full minute.

He then says with a smile, “That is very commendable. We need people like you in the force.” After a short pause, he says, “Now tell me something. If your OCS told you to go evict a poor old woman from a house that needs to be demolished by some tycoons, and the old woman refuses to get out of her house, what would you do? Remember she could be your grandmother – like the one I see in your file. Also remember that she has absolutely refused to get out of her house.”

In a voice that is somehow both timid and loud, Jared says, “I would find out why the old woman is adamant in refusing to get out of the house.”

With a chuckle, the instructor says, “Let me help you there. The old woman refuses to get out because the house is rightfully hers and has been grabbed by a rich person who wants to develop the land. With this information in mind, would you carry out your OCS’s order?”

Jared says, “I would go back to the OCS and tell him or her that a rich person has grabbed a poor old woman’s land.”

“So you would not carry out your OCS’s orders, right, because they are unfair and you would be violating your primary moral of kindness?” The instructor asks.

“Yes,” Jared answers and immediately the words leave his mouth, it is clear to everyone watching why there are about a dozen instructors at the front. Heavy blows and kicks are rained on Jared’s body and within a minute, he looks like he is dead. A stretcher is pulled out from a corner and two of the instructors leave with the limp and bloody body of Jared.

The lead instructor says, “Our poor friend Jared answered wrongly. He should have said that he would carry out his OCS’ order, even if it meant maiming the old grandmother or killing her. Whether it’s a pregnant mother, a grandmother or a two-week old baby like another one I heard was called Pedo does not matter. So long as any citizen stands in your way as a police officer and that citizen is not related to somebody powerful or rich, you can do whatever you want to them. If you did something while fulfilling your superior’s orders, nothing will happen to you. The oversight authority is nothing but a sham. I myself have killed over twenty innocent citizens. I get off on it. The lives of citizens are worth less than nothing. And later on, you will be taught how to frame the citizens you’ve killed by planting guns on them etc. The important thing is that your superior is your God. Follow that rule and you will have a very lucrative career. Next…”

Mr. Njinga quickly leaves the room. He looks a bit shaken and asks for a bottle of water, which appears within no time. When Mr. Mtiaji asks whether they should continue with the tour, Mr. Njinga just nods. The door to the next classroom has a board with the words, “Fear is your best weapon.”

Laughing a bit nervously, Mr. Njinga asks, “Am I sure that I want to get in here?”

In a reassuring voice, the officer replies, “There is nothing to worry about. You have come on a good day.”

Mr. Njinga does as he has done in the other classes. The instructor at the front is saying, “Why do we love maiming and killing the innocent citizens that we are supposed to protect?”

He immediately goes on to answer his question, “So that our reputation as a ruthless force can precede us and no one in their right mind will dare go against us. Most of the things we as policemen do are not in accordance with the law or what is right. If the citizens don’t fear us, they will try to stop us because they see that they are right in accordance with the law. But if they know that even if they are right, the consequences of opposing us are fatal, they will not dare do it. We have already made peace with the fact that we are both academic dwarfs and generally foolish. We do not have the intelligence or the moral authority to deal with our citizens and win. Our only weapon, therefore, is fear. And if you need to be the devil incarnate for them to fear you, then so be it. But they must fear us at all costs.”

One of the learners raises his hands and asks, “But shouldn’t the bad guys also fear us? Why do we let them kill as many of us as they do in areas like Varagoi?”

“That’s a good question,” the instructor responds with a smile on his face. “Let me tell you a secret: If you fail to obey your superiors or go against what we are teaching you, you will end up in areas such as Varagoi. But if you practice these traits of good policing that we are instilling into you, you will never have to face serious criminals. And that is not our job. Our job is to protect the rich and powerful of this country against the evil intentions of normal, law-abiding citizens. Okay? Armed robbers and terrorists are just a necessary evil – but at least they justify our institution.”

In the next class, Mr. Njinga finds the learners repeatedly reciting the police motto, “Service to the Powerful.” On the board at the front, he sees the five pillars of the police service written in capital:

  • FEAR
  • RESPECT FOR MONEY AND AUTHORITY
  • GREED, GODLESSNESS AND INHUMANITY
  • GROSS INCOMPETENCE
  • THE ABSOLUTE WORTHLESSNESS OF THE LIVES OF ORDINARY CITIZENS eg a certain DJ

The tour ends just after noon and Mr. Njinga is led to a hall where a whole banquet has been served in his honor. He nibbles at the food for some time and then declares his intention to leave. Just before he boards his chopper, he says, “You are doing a very good job here. We will increase your funding. It shouldn’t be that difficult to convince the ministry to divert funds from food, health and nursing to this place.”