During my kombi days I often heard whindi’s and drivers complaining about how police officers refused to pay kombi fare, but at roadblocks the same officers would ask them for bribes, or when they were arrested would beat them badly. Personally, I’ve never really trusted the police, and given a choice I’d pick a soldier over a policeman. Outside of the repeated harassment at roadblocks, I’ve found members of the police to be undisciplined, bureaucratically inefficient and at times just plain unwilling to do their job. So given an opportunity where I am not compelled by law to cooperate with the police, I won’t.
Recently I had occasion to add ‘entitled’ to my list of grievances against the police. On Friday afternoon, as I was leaving the British Embassy a police officer approached my car and attempted to get in. Finding both passenger doors closed, he looked perplexed, then finally asked me which way I was going, although it didn’t quite sound like a request:
Policeman: Murikuenda nekuextension handiti? (You’re going through second street extension right?)
Me: Aiwa, handisi. (No, I’m not)
I started my car and left.
There had been two other cars besides mine leaving the embassy at the same time, one with an old British couple, and another with a man by himself. The policeman hadn’t approached either of these. Did he really think it more likely that he would get a ride from a woman driving on her own?
What made me angry was the presumption on his part that he had any right at all to attempt to get into the car without asking my permission first. It was still my car.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this, and perhaps I am making mountains out of molehills. Should I be angry that a policeman in uniform tried to get into my car without asking me first? Is it because he is a policeman and thought himself entitled to a free ride like other officers do with kombis? Or is it because he’s a policeman and, being I woman I appeared weaker and couldn’t say no?