Friday, November 13, 2009

Coke and Cops

He flagged me down as I was approaching Jinja Train station. My attention was on the white-clad traffic officers on my right who were flagging down matatus and suspect lorries in the oncoming lane. I pulled over quickly once I noticed the officer standing just ahead of me in my own lane. I wasn't worried -- I had not been speeding and I have an up-to-date Ugandan driver's license. The Police Officer walked quickly up to my passenger window as I rolled it down.

"Good Afternnon, Sir"

"Good Afternnon" I said,

The coke can sitting in the centre console quickly caught his eye. He motioned to the can --

"What is that you have there?" his eyes lit up with the prospect of a cold soda.

I knew immediately that he was going to ask me for my Coke -- I wasn't worried...

I picked up the can, showing him it was open and as I waved it around. He noticed immediately that it was empty and quickly found something else to say.

"Let me help you throw it out"

I didn't want him to have it as I knew he would just toss it in the ditch next to the highway.

I told him I'd take care of it.

"Can I see your license?"

I quickly got out my Ugandan Drivers permit and he was satisfied after wrongly pronouncing my sirname back to me.

We said good-bye and I was left to ponder how our Police Force is so corrupt as I drove into town. I knew he was after "Kintu Kadogo" (Something small). I was within the law so his leverage was very low, but for so many overloaded taxis and run-down lorries such an officer threatens fines and imprisonment hoping that the offendor will offer him the equivelent of a dollar or two to get out of the fix. Then a few miles down the road the rundown lorrie ploughs into an overloaded taxi and it pads our statistics for annual road fatalaties! All for the price of a coke!
Our country is slowly slipping into the abiss of corrption where there is not justice even in the courts where a verdict can be bought. God help us! Pray for our Uganda! Corruption is eating at us like a rust at an old car. We're falling appart.

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Posted via email from The Sperling's blog

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