18 September 2009

The Police

Now that the chief of the police (Ali) has been moved to postmaster general, I hope that the police force will run with more transparency and do what they are intended to do: protect the people of Kenya.  Today, I had a nice experience with them.  Riding my matatu home, we were stopped by one.  Usually, the police take a jovial manner.  They joke with the conductor and pass on a bribe as if it was a handshake amongst friends.  Today, the police decided to put on their tough guy faces and be more serious.

Stopped, the driver was hassled for having a toy hanging from his rearview mirror.  The driver attempted to kid with him and he had none of it.  When asked to produce his license, the driver only had a copy.  This did not fly over well.  He lectured and stamped around.  Pretended to do his job and then went to yell at the conductor.  Of course the bribe was paid, at a steep rate I assume.  The officer returned to the driver to yell some more before stomping off with the copy in his hand.

The problem is not with the officer applying the law.  The issue is the fact that he choose this occasion to be a stickler.  He told of how everything was wrong and then broke the law to take a bribe and look the other way.  Yes he was doing his job better than usual, but he was also making more money for himself.  It is troublesome when the law resorts to the law when in need of more money.

How can people take the law and those who protect it seriously when it is applied in such an uneven manner?