Home > Zimbabwe > How to NOT bribe your way out of a ticket

How to NOT bribe your way out of a ticket

We live in a country where our government collects revenue through fines, tickets and penalties. Business is not making much money can cannot support the fiscus, hence the clever way of raising money is by taking it from the people. As the president rightfully said, ‘The money is with the people!’, that is, mari iri muvanhu. It is a sad state of affairs that for a nation struggling with poverty, the government strategies of increasing revenue are to take it from the already over burdened population.

Spot fines have been deemed illegal, on so many occasions, and yet we still find policemen on the roads giving spot fines. In the case of 2012 case of Zaine Babbage v The State (HB157/12), Justice Cheda stated clearly that when a ticket has been issued, the alleged offender must be given a reasonable period within which to pay the fine. The government and police force, are fully aware that it is against people’s constitutional rights to charge spot fines, but they do not have the will to remove spot fines, as they are revenue making tactics.

Like trained dogs, the police go out in full force to extract any little bit of money from anyone and everyone. I am constantly amazed at how resilient Zimbabweans are. Driving every day, required that you pay out at least $20 in fines. Rest assured that once you are stopped at a road block, you will have a crime to pay for. I recall one time, my car disk was expired, but within the grace period. The police fully aware of this, were out in full force on the roads, and I was stopped. After explaining that there was a grace period, the officer demanded that I show him where it was written. Does anyone really go around holding traffic laws just in case they need to make reference to them at a road block? Finally, beaten, the officer decided that he was going to fine me, FOR BEING TOO CLEVER AND KNOWING TOO MUCH!! I obviously did not pay.

The reason why the police continue to charge spot fines and ask for bribes, is because people keep on paying them. If the people collectively refused to pay fines, things would change. If everyone does the right thing, and refuses to pay bribes or be manipulated and coerced into paying a bribe, then the government and the police will have to find another way of supporting their budgets.

A few pointers to avoid bribes:

  • Get your car kitted out all the things that they need, reflectors, fire-extinguishers, etc.Reflectors cost $1, but if you don’t have them, you could pay at least $20 in fines or bribes.
  • Ensure that your car is in a reasonable condition. Make sure lights, indicators, brakes, brake lights, hooter and all the things they look for are in good order. Rather spend a bit of money fixing problems with your car that can lead you to getting tickets, than driving around asking for a ticket.
  • Don’t overload your car. Anything that makes you visible or stick out is surely an invitation to a ticket or bribe.
  • Keep all that needs to be paid for paid. Don’t take chances.
  • Never give the policeman your license. NEVER!! Where in the regulations does it say they should give take your license? My license is on a key-holder together with the car keys. There is definitely no way, I am going to give him the keys to my car. Other times, I put my license in my wallet, in clear view and hold it up for them to see.
  • If you don’t have a radio license, just totally remove the radio from your car. Every mobile phone has a radio these days any ways.
  • Don’t drive like a moron. Jumping red traffic lights, or robots as we call them, will just get you straight into their hands. No amount of waiting will get you out of that one.

When faced with a headstrong policeman, or women, women are usually more hostile, the only way I have found to get away without Bribing an officer or paying ridiculous fines is to WAIT IT OUT and PRAY! I have missed a good number of important meetings and have been caused intolerable delays as I put my I WILL WAIT STRATEGY in action. For that reason, I usually leave home on time, to avoid speeding or just in case I have to deal with a crazy policeman. I prefer this method, than to hand out $20 notes at every stop. Evil prevails when good men do nothing. I totally refuse to pay a bribe, especially if there is nothing wrong. Don’t take the bait. Don’t encourage and foster corruption.

Categories: Zimbabwe
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