Coming home from the range on Sunday, about 1600, along Arden Rd through Gunhill I cross Borrowdale road, and get pulled over by the police. Officer takes my license and walks around the pickup. Eventually gets back to say, “let me tell you what your offences are.” All well and good, but since I have been driving it since 1997, and nothing is altered since it was constructed at Willowvale, I have to wonder, “What now?”
Something about no Gross Vehicle Mass displayed. “Since when?”
Well, they slipped that in without telling me. So, fine to be paid. But I have no money, I am coming home from a Sunday out, and I spent the $1 I took with me on a Mail and Guardian. There is nothing in my wallet.
“Park over there behind the police car, we are going to Borrowdale Police Station.” All well and good, I move the truck, and sit there reading the Mail and Guardian. (This new Zimbabwe edition is damn good I think!) Eventually there is a queue of vehicles behind me, and we are about to set off, I believe. But no, a different policeman goes from car to car, and eventually, after all producing money (I watch in the rear view mirror), they all drive off. Just me left.
“Is it you have no money, or you just don’t want to pay a fine?” (Well, that’s a stupid question, who does want to pay a fine?) “No, I have no money”, and I show how empty my wallet is. I have also watched while sitting, at a minimum of three vehicles drive past, without being stopped, who also have no Gross Vehicle Mass displayed. I guess the law passed by them unnoticed too.
You can see the officer mentally grumbling. “Well, this time I will let you off with a caution, don’t do it again” (By ‘it’ I assume he means get stopped without any money, because he has no idea what the ‘offence’ is). He gives me back my license.
Tuesday, I am coming home from Newlands (on a bike) and have to negotiate to get across Borrowdale Road as the lights are not working. Chaos! But not to worry, the police are there. And yet, not there. The police are in the same place, Swan Drive, just west and in sight of the intersection, puling cars over. There are no police at the intersection attempting to direct traffic, or anything remotely useful. There are six of them, 25 meters away, pulling cars over.
It could not be more blatantly obvious, more ‘in your face’, up front, glaring. The ZRP are not around to provide a service (like law and order) to Zimbabwean citizens. The ZRP are there to take money from people.