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.
Being a foreigner and living in the diaspora is not an easy thing. If you happen to be in a foreign country where you do not know any Zimbos, this can be extremely challenging because there is no support system. Losing your documents in this situation can be extremely daunting. I recall one of my aunt’s losing her passport in South Africa back in the 80’s. No one knew what to do, I’m too young to remember the details, but she lived to tell the horror. It wasn’t so easy back then. These days, you can call one of your many relatives resident in South Africa and they can walk you through.
What to do if you lose your passport abroad.
Someone asked what to do, because they have lost their passport, so I figured that someone else might need that kind of infor. I quickly checked for my own passport because a Zimbo passport is gold and losing it is a headache. However, replacing passports is now much easier and less stressful than it was back in the days when you had to beg to apply for a passport. I wonder if they actually read those application letters.
- If you lose your passport, immediately report this to the police and get a police report. Trying to replace a passport without a report can be challenging if not impossible.
- Contact you nearest Zimbabwe embassy, below is a link with Zimbabwe foreign consulate contact details. They will give your steps required to replace the passport or information.
- Be patient with embassy staff, they have been known to be rude and unhelpful. Jut remember that all you need is a new passport or travel document. I hear these days they are unpaid, so that will make it even worse.
Websites for Zimbabwe embassies abroad. I hope it is current…
- Algeria – Algiers
- Angola – Luanda
- Australia – Canberra
- Belgium – Brussels
- Botswana – Gaborone
- Brazil – Brasilia
- Canada – Ottawa
- China – Beijing
- Congo (Democratic Republic) – Kinshasa
- Cuba – Havana
- Egypt – Cairo
- Ethiopia – Addis Ababa
- France – Paris
- Germany – Berlin
- Ghana – Accra
- India – New Delhi
- Indonesia – Jakarta
- Iran – Tehran
- Italy – Rome
- Japan – Tokyo
- Kenya – Nairobi
- Kuwait – Kuwait City
- Libya – Tripoli
- Malawi – Lilongwe
- Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
- Mozambique – Maputo
- Namibia – Windhoek
- Nigeria – Abuja
- Russia – Moscow
- Senegal – Dakar
- Singapore – Singapore
- South Africa – Pretoria
- South Sudan – Juba
- Sudan – Khartoum
- Sweden – Stockholm
- Tanzania – Dar-es-Salaam
- United Kingdom – London
- United States – Washington
- Zambia – Lusaka
- Congo (Democratic Republic) – Lubumbashi, Consulate
- Hong Kong – Hong Kong, Consulate General
- Italy – Milan, Consulate General
- Korea (Republic) – Seoul, Consulate
- Mauritius – Port Louis, Consulate
- Mozambique – Beira, Consulate General
- South Africa – Cape Town, Consulate
- South Africa – Johannesburg, Consulate General
- Thailand – Bangkok, Consulate General