(Continued from Rutherford Baby III)
In her hurry to leave, Salome nearly collides with two people, a man and a woman, who are at the door.
“Is this the house of Rutherford Andale?” the man asks her. Even though they are in civilian clothes, Salome instantly realizes that they are police officers. She is surprised. Why would the police be looking for Rutherford? He may have cheated on her, but he is not a criminal.
“Yes, this is Rutherford’s house. Is there a problem?”
“We need to speak to him.”
Salome steps aside to allow them to pass. One part of her wants to leave because she is still angry at him, but she still cares about him and she wants to know why the police are looking for him. She decides to stay, and so she steps back inside the house.
“Are you Rutherford Andale?”
“I am,” a startled Rutherford replies. “Is there a problem?”
“We need you down at the police station.”
Rutherford eyes the handcuffs on the officer’s hands suspiciously.
“Am I being arrested?”
“Yes sir. We are here to arrest you.”
Rutherford almost smiles. He has not had an encounter with the police before, but from what he has heard, they are usually not this polite. It is Tanzanian police officers who are said to be too polite.
The police officers look at each other before the older one, the man, ventures a reply.
“You have been accused of rape sir.”
“Rape? By who?”
“A girl named Tracy.”
“But that is a lie!”
“I am sorry sir. But we are here under instructions to arrest you. You can call your lawyer to sort out the rest. We have to go now.”
“Are you going to cuff me?”
“If you do not resist, then we will not. We will just ride down to the station like civilized people.”
“Alright. Let me lock up then we can leave.”
Rutherford goes to his bedroom, removes his watch and belt, and then changes from his leather jacket to a jumper. He also places his phone on the bed. He doesn’t want to go with any of his valuables to the station. He knows he is being fixed by someone, and if that is the case, then he will spend the night at the police station. If there is any chance of freedom, then it will probably be at the court tomorrow, not at the police station.
When he comes to the sitting room, he can see that Salome’s eyes are moist with tears. He moves close to her and hugs her tightly as the officers watch patiently.
“Believe me Sal, I did not do this. Tracy is framing me,” he says after pulling away from her.
“Why would she do that?”
“That is what I was trying to explain to you earlier, but you would not listen. When she came here with my mother, I left and started driving around. I did not want anything to do with them. Then my uncle called and I went to his house in Messa. I found my mom there. We argued and I came back. I assumed that since my mother was in Messa, Tracy had also left. But I found her here, naked. I asked her to leave, but she refused. So I took her clothes and her handbag, and I threw them outside. Then I also pushed her out.”
“While she was naked?” the female officer asks. Salome and Rutherford turn, and realize that the officers have been listening.
“I did not have a choice, madam. That woman wanted me to have sex with her, and I did not want to. This woman here is my girlfriend and I wouldn’t cheat on her; not with Tracy, and not with anyone else.”
The officers exchange glances again. Then the man speaks up.
“I believe you sir.”
“You do? Why?”
“You did not hear this from me, because I could lose my job. But let’s just say that I have been in the police service for long enough to know when someone is being fixed. And you sir, you have some enemies with very deep pockets. I will still arrest you because those are my orders. But this is my advice: get yourself a very good lawyer. If you can, get Advocate Janis. She is the only one I know in this town who can stare down at our bosses and call out their bluff. And she is not corrupt. As the investigations officer in this case, I will do my best to help you.”
“You can help me?”
“I am not promising much, but here is what I can do. After I lock you up, I will take that girl for medical examination. If what you are saying is true, then the medical report will show that there is no evidence of forced entry. Your lawyer will then pick it up from there. But do not tell anyone that I am doing this.”
“Thank you, officer. But if I may ask, why are you doing this? Why are you helping me?”
The officer sighs.
“First, because it is the right thing to do. Second because I believe that my job is not to send people to jail, but to send criminals to jail. I wouldn’t want someone to suffer for an offence they did not commit. I have been there and I know how it feels.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“My ex-wife and I were having problems in our marriage many years ago. So one day, after we had an argument, she accused me of defiling our daughter. Turns out she was sleeping with my boss, the area OCPD. I was arrested and also interdicted.”
“Did you go to jail?”
“No, I wasn’t convicted if that is what you mean. But I spent about a year in remand and I lost my job as a police officer. My daughter saved me. She was about fifteen years at the time. On the day of the hearing, she told a shocked courtroom that her mother coerced and blackmailed her into lying about me. She testified that it was the mother’s boyfriend, the OCPD, who had been touching her inappropriately. She said that the OCPD told her he would throw her in jail if she said anything to anyone. The girl added that one day my ex-wife went to the OCPD’s house and found him fondling her. Instead of confronting him, they conspired to have me arrested.”
“Why would she do that?”
“Maybe she thought that if I went to jail, the OCPD would marry her. Plus, I was a police constable and did not have as much money as the OCPD.”
“So after your daughter testified you were released?”
“After my daughter testified, the other witness was the mother and she tried to tell the court that I had threatened our daughter into changing her testimony. But the judge did not buy it because I had been in remand the whole time. Plus, the judge pointed out that my daughter was old enough to understand what she was saying. The whole case crumbled from that point. I was released a week later, and the judge said that the OCPD and my ex-wife should be arrested.”
“So she went to jail?”
“Not really. She wasn’t arrested that day. After that she found a Congolese man and moved with him to Kinshasa. I haven’t heard from or about her since.”
“Did she leave with your daughter?”
“No. This police officer right here is actually my daughter. She is the little girl who rescued me from a lengthy jail term.”
“You look too young to have an adult daughter.”
“I did not go to secondary school due to lack of school fees. I started working as a casual laborer. It is at that time that I met my ex-wife. I was about thirteen, and she was about the same age. She had also dropped out of school. She gave birth to our daughter when I was fourteen. I later did KCSE as a private candidate and joined the Police Service. Right now I am thirty six, and she is twenty two.”
“That is so cute,” Salome speaks up for the first time. “Father and daughter working hand-in-hand to fight for justice.”
“Thank you. We really have to go now, sir.”
“Do you think I will get bail tomorrow?” Rutherford asks.
“To be honest, no. Whoever is after you has obviously bribed my bosses, and has probably bribed the magistrate too. Prepare to stay in remand for maybe a year like I did. But in the end, justice will be done. I am sure Janis will stop at nothing until the truth comes out. She is the one who fought for me and even helped me get my job back. In the process she even had to make the first magistrate to recuse herself from the case. I am sorry sir but we really have to go down to the station now.”
Salome bursts out crying.
[End of the free part of the story. To read the whole story and find out what became of Rutherford and Salome, follow the instructions below to purchase your copy of the novella at only Kshs. 100]
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