For some Kenyans, bribery is a career
SEE ALSO :Boda boda rider runs over police officerKenyan traffic cops are so wired to receiving bribes that even when there is nothing wrong with your vehicle or road manner, they still hover over your window, giving you that, hata kachai look. Those who drive newly manufactured cars hardly ever notice the traffic police because they rarely get flagged down. But for those who drive cars manufactured before the year 2000, pickup trucks or a Probox, regular bribing is part of the driving experience. It does not matter whether the car has a fault or not. Traffic police are masters of vehicle forensics, and even when you think your car is road worthy, they will find something wrong. Few people are as resourceful as a traffic police officer building up a case for a bribe. The general tactic is to make the incidence frustratingly inconveniencing, until the stubborn driver finally relents and agrees to ‘talk’. If the car, by some rare miracle, happens to be in tip top shape despite the rigorous roadside inspection, the adamant cop will demand to see your first aid box. It is hopeless arguing about your rights. It is much easier to plead ignorance and ask for forgiveness. Brand new car owners will probably remind me of my constitutional rights, but years of regular intimidation by traffic policemen threatening to haul my vehicle to a police yard, for imagined and minor traffic offences, have left me subservient around these officers. Even since I started driving over a decade ago, I learnt to adopt a certain submissive demeanour whenever I met traffic police manning roadblocks across the country. If you own an old car, you must get used to the routine profiling.