I was driving to Willowvale, in Harare, when I was stopped by the cops around Southerton Police Station. They discovered that my road license disc had expired.
I was asked me to pull over to the side of the road. They explained that they were arresting me for the offence. I asked for my ticket but was told that they had no ticket books and couldn't give me the ticket but would take a fine of $60, $30 for one offence and another $30 for another. They informed me that the fine had to be paid in cash because they had no swipe machines. I told them I had no cash because the banks had no cash. They told me to make a plan. One of them jumped into my car and sat on the front passenger's seat and started fiddling with the dashboard, commenting on the car whilst the other was talking to me outside the driver's door.
When a cop says 'let's talk'
The one who was talking to me by the window then told the policewoman who was sitting in the car to get out so that he too could have his turn to sit. He came in sat down.
'Well, what are we going to do, since you can't pay the fine?'
Then he started fiddling with my driver's license and asking me why l came back to Zimbabwe from the UK. He asked how much my car was worth. Could I take him on a spin sometime? He helped himself to my business card and said he'd call me sometime.
Anyway back to my offence, he then told me if I didn't have the $60 fine in cash they would have to impound my car, until I can produce the valid road license. I told him that wasn't going to happen. So I called someone to go to the office, pick up the car registration book, go to the bank and renew the vehicle license and bring the paperwork. Then he said they couldn't keep the car on the side of the road. They would rather take me to Southerton Police Station and impound my car, until the person arrived with the valid paperwork.
By this time, my friend had already collected the registration book and was in the banking hall paying for the licence
The policeman was now saying 'aaaah but you didn't need to go all that way and inconvenience others', to which I replied, 'well, I needed to regularise my licence and so the only inconvenience I have experienced is being parked on the side of the road for 45minutes and being threatened into a bribe by you.'
Back to the era of police corruption
This was reminiscent of that era that we all know about. I just wondered if we are going back there. I felt abused and discouraged. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
The thing that bothered me the most, though, is why we abuse each other so much? Is it just me or do other people also realise that we are the ones who make other people's live miserable and difficult! In turn, we make our lives miserable even when we can avoid it!
It is within our power to be kind, considerate and helpful but in most cases people who have a little bit of power over others use that power to abuse and belittle them leaving the one on the receiving end feeling abused and outraged, coupled with the challenges we are experiencing in the economy, most Zimbos are left on edge and angry. It takes very little to set them off.
Guys, whatever your area of responsibility in life, avoid taking advantage of other people. Do your job but, as much as possible, be kind, be considerate, be helpful and let's encourage others to do the right thing without making their lives even more miserable. The circumstances around us are punishing enough without us adding on to the pain!