There is need to demystify the process of acquiring a driver’s permit in Rwanda.
Obtaining a driver’s permit in this country is a very competitive and strict process that for many years has been fraught with corruption. Historically, with education being a privilege of a few, the next best thing was earning a driver’s license.
Drivers, especially truck drivers, earned more than the average civil servant who had to spend years in university only to come back to find their uneducated neighbour already enjoying the fruits of labour. The driving permit was another kind of academic achievement.
Every month an estimated 20,000 sit for driving tests of which only a third succeed. In order to keep up with demand, the traffic department has been introducing a series of reforms and going hi-tech, but the latest is bound to blow many minds away.
The whole system will now be automated, from sitting both the theoretical and practical exams and there will be very little human interaction, everything will be decided by a computer and thereby the traffic police will shed off its not-so-good label as the most corrupt branch of the Rwanda National Police.
The current system of driving examinations dwells too much on parking and driving between obstacles with very little highway experience. Now the new driving course will be fitted with sensors and CCTV cameras on a simulated highway.
Anyone with experience of police operations in the region and beyond will easily agree that the hefty fines traffic police slap on drivers even for a simple violation is put to good use and does not end up in some murky pockets.
Kudos to the police.