Monday, November 7, 2011

Traffic Police

There is an interesting and somewhat challenging situation here with regard to traffic safety. Most of those charged with enforcing the traffic laws do not themselves know how to drive a car. So keep this in mind as you read this encounter with a traffic policewoman.

As I exited the bypass I slowly continued a short distance before finding a place to merge with the traffic. As I did so, a traffic policeman waved me back out of the line. I sat waiting for someone to come to the window expecting that they wanted to check my insurance and driving permit. I watched two policewomen who were talking with one another, unaware that I had stopped. When one woman came to the window, after the customary greetings she asked "Were you pulled over?" I told her that it seemed that was what the man had indicated. Then she said here in Uganda it is a traffic offense to drive on the shoulder. Then she told me I needed to proceed to the local police station. And when I agreed to do so, but indicated that I had no idea where it was, she then said "So, what do we do?" She pointed the vehicle behind me and said, "See, your friend has been arrested." As I continued to be agreeable she then said we are giving you the express penalty of 40,000 shillings. I told her ok - if that's the penalty I'll pay it. She then said again "So what do we do?" I asked her if she could write the penalty form at the vehicle and I would then pay for it at the bank - which is the normal procedure. She continued to delay, hoping for what is often called "tea" or money. Finally, after a discussion with the other woman and the man, she said, "We have forgiven you, you can go and returned my driving permit."

In order to fully understand the dark humor, one must drive in Uganda to see how often taxis, motorcycles, and other vehicles drive without any one stopping them on true shoulders, while these 3 were positioned at a place without a clear marking of a shoulder stopping motorists in the hope of getting some extra income. And here I was nearly "arrested" for such an offense. Lord have mercy.

Blessings on your day!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure it wasn't funny until after it was over but I am cracking up!!! SO funny!