Why corruption might not be bad after all

Sunday May 12 2019


By Jacobs Seaman Odongo

With flourishing corruption, there are 80 per cent chances that you will find a traffic cop in heavy rain on the Mabira Forest stretch ‘working’. The work is simple: stopping motorists and picking his bread for ABC faults. And those faults are many. Rarely made up.

Not to disrespect the many officers we have seen brave the showers to control traffic. We salute them. But it appears that besides the rare breed of officers who are proud to do their duty come rain or shine, the others need the special motivation to really do their job.
Of course, the job they would have to do is one that any serious motorist would not have to pay a prize for.

But hey, who wants that? We need more of these insane people behind wheels to make our roads look the nightmares they are. A few more years of this and who knows, Uganda might have a tourist attraction packaged as “the cruellest place to drive at night or in the rain”.
Dead serious, some tourists only prefer the bizarre and this would bring in quite some revenue.

On Thursday, I woke up to find my Facebook TL flashing the post of a disappointed road user over the little traffic errors that many motorists overlook and many cops don’t give a pig’s tail about.

For anyone who has driven on our roads at night or in the rain, nothing is as annoying as oncoming motorist’s failure to use their lights correctly. Reading the post, I nearly told the Facebook user to go and live in the moon if he cannot deal with a few baby steps on our roads knowing too well that the cops are fine with it.

But then he is my senior so I politely told him not to skip his breakfast and to praise Yoweri, the son of Kaguta, for blessing us with so many cars and mashed banana behind the wheels.

In 1986, there were no roads. And no cars. The few cars drove on potholes while dodging semblances of tarmac.
Now we have good roads and more cars than bicycles. Like baiskeli, the vehicles in Uganda need little expertise to control. Just sit beside a driver today and tomorrow you collect your permit. How many of you have had driver tests when processing permits?

While modern cars today are designed to automate some systems like lights – never mind that the motorist would have to set the auto functions themselves – the majority of vehicles on our roads need manual attention. And to detail. With auto functions, the hazard lights will turn on, headlights will change to full beam or low depending on what the system reads on the road in the night or in rain.

But your typical Ipsum and Mark II has no such luxury. You are not a cow behind the wheel, you are the one controlling everything that car does on the road.

So in heavy rain, you need the low headlights and hazard lights. It is not for your own visibility, you will still be able to see anyway. It is to enable other road users see your vehicle. Shot of this, you need a traffic cop to grab you and make you part with your hard-earned money for his own bricks and bar visits.

At night, don’t be selfish like a cat. Cats don’t give a damn what goes around them as long as they have eaten. But a typical Ugandan motorist is one. How you use your headlights determine how safe the road is for you and others.

But cops have reneged on their duties. They think there is a Spurs or Liverpool kind of comeback in road accidents but nope, life is a different ball game. If the system is too dead to get up again, let’s advocate for corruption.

A corrupt cop works extra hard. They are vigilant. No corrupt cop will sit and do nothing to a boda with extra halogen lights that blind road users and expose the bodas themselves to danger of being run over by other motorists.

Scientists sometimes use worms to tackle worms. Let’s use corruption to sanitise our road traffic.