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Why is one forced to fuel corruption with traffice police in Africa

Updated on March 4, 2008

Traffic policemen

Do the Governments in Africa purposely setup systems with holes bigger than sieves?

Is it a way of ensuring that their employees earn extra to supplement their meager incomes?

In Africa each and everyway one turns even as a law abiding citizen one is forced to fuel corruption!

In the western world I know the traffic police and municipalities have many sophisticated devices to get people for speeding and parking offences and thereafter know how to contact them to pay their fines and not go into the polices back pockets.

However in Africa we have nothing remotely like that, just the cop on the beat and obviously looking for something for his pocket as in the good ole Africa corruption.

I abhor corruption and try to avoid it anyway and each way I can but the traffic police put you in such a position that you have no alternative but to line their pockets.

I insisted once and only once on being issued a ticket and never again.

When you are stopped by a traffic policeman the first thing is you have to hand over your drivers licence, your car papers and some form of Identification other than you drivers license.

Now as they are talking to you they are holding these important documents in their hot sticky hands and then they start.

You were doing x wrong and the fine is xy but if you would like to pay immediately you will only pay a. small amount. So what do you do?

Why is Mr. or Mrs. Citizen forced to do this?

Read on why they are forced into this nasty trap.

Well if you insist on a legal fine the traffic police issue the fine and then hold onto your documents. They state that when you pay the fine your will receive your documents back. Ha! Ha!.

I duly went to the center where one pays the fine, paid it and got a legal receipt and then asked for my documents. A grimy looking drawer was opened with all sorts of bits and pieces in it and the attendant flipped through all and surprise no documents of mine were found.

I was then told that I must find the traffic officer concerned and show him or her the paid receipt and then they would give me back my documents.

Now first one needs to recognize the particular traffic policeman and chances are they will hide when they see you as they are angry because of not benefiting from the fine.

It took me a year to trace this particular traffic policemen and in the mean time got many other fines because I was now traveling with no car papers etc.

Due to the low wages these traffic police receive one can hardly blame then but still it forces one to join in corruption. Unfair.

Anyway I finally got to have a laugh on these corrupt traffic police. I was driving along the road rushing to get to a certain shop before it closed for Siesta time.

Why I was driving that day I don’t know as normally I don’t because this is another thing if you are white without a doubt you will get stopped. It is not a racist thing but they have a fixation that all whites have money trees in their back gardens.

Now this particular day I am stopped and am asked for my documents. I fished around in my handbag and pull out a paper and handed it to the traffic policeman.

Now he reads it looks at me reads it and I am getting furious as time is passing. Eventually he passes it slowly back to me staring at me and shaking his head. I throw the document on my lap and race off.

Arrive with minutes to spare at the shop place my order still clutching my what I thought were car papers. Whilst waiting I looked at it to see why the cop was a bit astounded.

Well I collapsed it was a letter from the local administrator asking me to donate a 50 kg bag of peanuts for Samora Machel day.

I became hysterical with laughter with tears running down my face.

Anyway a few days later I am in Maputo again and one of my workers sees the particular traffic policeman again and points him out to me.

I think no I must apologize to the man so we park the car and off I go towards him. As I am approaching him he nudges his colleague and indicates in my direction and they start laughing.

Anyway when I reached them and started apologizing they started laughing even more.

When they had calmed down the traffic policeman said in all his 30 years of service had he ever been given an excuse like mine. He said he couldn’t find words to say to me and hence his just said go.

Anyway I bought him and his colleague a beer and every time they looked at me they started laughing.

However 5 years on whenever I am in Maputo by myself or my driver I have never been stopped again by a traffic cop.

As I approach them whatever cop they nudge each other point at me and start laughing.

So I certainly have been spared to a large degree of fuelling corruption thank goodness in the police force.

Almost sure this approach will not work in the western world more likely you would be carried off to a nut house!

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