A bribe to traffic police
In a good a well-structured society, fines & penalties are supposed to be a bit harsh to enable compliance but not too harsh to encourage evasion. Well, I paid a bribe this weekend and I have never felt this worse in my entire life. Am feeling guilty, how do I rectify my mistake?
I always try as much as possible to NOT pay any bribes to traffic officers even if it means committing more grave sins or offences, On most cases when am caught in the wrong on, I lie to the traffic police how I have an emergency or how the other car pushed me out of my lane and the worst case scenario, I take off or don’t stop when signaled to stop.
This weekend I paid a bribe to a traffic police lady. Unfortunately I did not get her name.
I woke up yesterday to go change some Kenya shillings to Uganda shillings at the bank and then buy food stuffs for my family and as I was driving down Kinawataka Road from Nambole stadium, I was waived to a stop by this traffic lady, there were like 5 traffic officers. I stopped and parked on the side and she asked me for my driving license which I gave her in photocopy. She was mad and asked why I did not carry an original. Well I told all she needs is evidence that am licensed to drive.
Fast forward, I was fined for not wearing a seat belt. My wife can attest to this that I never start the car without putting on my seat belt ( we have even had a few quarrels as she hates putting on a seat belt), I had my seat belt on before I left home but somehow some where I took it off. Guilty!!! I gladly told her to give me a ticket and I will pay as the Express penalty code says the fine is two currency points, I knew I would pay 40,000/=. To my dismay, my ticket had a penalty of 200,000/=. As she noticed my shock, she called her male colleague and they started laughing at me and saying that I have Lugezigezi (lu clever) otherwise I would have given them lunch and drove off.
I agreed I will pay the ticket on Monday but to my dismay and great surprise, the male traffic officer removed my key from Ignition and told me to go pay, and return with the receipt then I will be able to take my car. It was a weekend, No open banks, low on cash and …………….. I gave them Ksh 200 after a lot of bargaining saying they needed ksh 500 (Remember I had Kes and no Ugx).
And that’s how I paid my first bribe!
I still feel bad! First of all there are over 165 traffic punishable offences. How possible is it for you to avoid all of them? As a professional auditor I believe, if you go out to find a wrong, you will find a wrong, Humans are not perfect neither are systems. Am sure if it was not seatbelt, it would have been tyres, indicators, engine sound or worse still be penalized for not taking my car to SGS for inspection.
So to whoever is concerned, look at these penalties and fines, review your systems and how you operate, bring to accountability any offenders and let’s kick corruption out of Uganda. I paid a bribe not because I wanted but because of the poor system of administration. The penalties are not just punitive but extortive and are not aimed at correcting our wrongs but sucking more money from us