via GOOD NEWS – an honest cop! | The Zimbabwean 02 July 2014 by Magari Mandebvu
It is a rare pleasure to be able to commend our police. To be fair, when they do something right, it should be acknowledged.
A few weeks ago I was in a group travelling by kombi between Harare and Mutare. Near Rusape we were stopped by the fifth or sixth road block of that trip. Our driver was experienced in handling this kind of situation and had got through four of the other five road blocks by a mixture of smooth talk and refusal to be bullied. In this case, he was given a ticket and apparently paid the fine.
I did get a good look at his receipt. I forget the name of the sergeant in charge of the road block, but I do remember that it was written in clear block capitals, as the law requires. That is rare on our roads. His number was also clearly readable; I haven’t seen that in a long time. I do deeply regret that I didn’t keep a note of his name and number so that I could hold up this honest cop to show you all that such creatures still exist.
The constable who made out the ticket would not have got very high marks for her handwriting, but her name was probably Gunda, as near as I could make out, and her number was also readable.
Here we have a clear example of two cops who are not afraid to identify themselves to the public. They are not afraid because they have nothing to fear from the law or the public. I wish there were many more whose consciences were as clear as Constable Gunda and her sergeant.
A quick enquiry when we got back to Harare confirmed that our driver had most likely, but possibly unwittingly, broken the law they quoted against him. I didn’t notice, and didn’t ask the driver whether he had noticed, whether the constable had carbon paper in the pad on which she wrote the receipt. My guess is that, unlikely as it may sound to you readers, and especially to the seasoned kombi passengers among you, she did use carbon paper.
If so, our driver’s fine actually did go to the appropriate department of our ramshackle administration. I’m not sure whether the correct address for fines is ZIMRA or ZINARA or some other branch, but the openness of the constable and, even more, the sergeant, suggests they are so fearless about giving their names because they cannot be faulted – at least not by the administrators of the law we have at the moment.
Having said all the good I can about the nameless sergeant, I must point out that he doesn’t get 100% from me for his performance. Any teacher can tell you it is easy to find an excuse for not awarding 100% to anyone, but here I’m afraid our good sergeant did slip up rather badly.
He set up his road block on a blind rise, where there was, to make things worse, a sufficient bend in the road to restrict oncoming drivers’ view of the road ahead even more. Rare as it may be in Zimbabwe today, there was a double white line down the middle of the road and almost anyone who has ever opened a copy of the Highway Code can tell you what that means.
He was creating a hazard that could easily cause a nasty accident. The danger was increased by the 40-tonne lorry blocking the whole Harare-bound lane of the road for all of the hour we were stopped there.
There could have been a very nasty accident and the sergeant would have been responsible, even if, as I believe to be quite likely, he was obeying specific orders.
“Obeying orders” does not justify following a wrong command, especially if it could lead to loss of life.
The little story reminds us how far even the best of our cops need educating.