I read with interest Senator Valens Munyabagisha take on some of the causes of corruption in the traffic police department (The New Times October 29th).
He believes that the heavy penalties imposed on traffic offenders were unnecessarily harsh and give no choice to the offender but to pay a bride instead of paying the legally mandated fine.
Without being accused of undermining the good Senator’s intelligence, I beg to differ with his opinion. It’s as of he’s blaming the traffic policemen for doing their jobs.
I think the errant drivers should be the ones put on the spot. Human beings natural instinct is to attempt to avoid punishment; honestly, I believe that even if the fine was a mere Rwf5000, corrupt drivers would try to wiggle out of that payment, and try to corrupt the police officer with Rwf2000 instead.
While I also feel that some of the traffic fines are a bit exorbitant, in the larger scheme of things, I think that they are a necessary evil.
I don’t have a car, so I am forced to use public transport- motorcycle taxi’s being the transport of choice. Honestly, I feel safe, knowing that truly bad drivers, and cars, aren’t on the road because traffic officers are waiting to make them pay through the teeth.
And as a citizen who enjoys the facilities that are made available because of tax ‘dollars’, I have no problem with the fact that the traffic police collected fines worth Rwf 1.3 billion.
As long as that money is returned into the system to build roads, hospitals and yes, put more police on the streets, it’s a win-win situation.
I wish that our police officers refused to take bribes; if they didn’t, imagine how much money would have entered the national coffers? It’s a shame.