Photo: The Guardian, Khalfan Said
An alert reader recently spotted a great news story in The Guardian newspaper which really encapsulates the police mentality here in Tanzany.
In most of Tanzania you have three levels of private motor vehicle hire. In decreasing orders of cost they are: taxi, bajaj and motorcycle (aka “Bodaboda”). The first two are enclosed passenger vehicles, but the bodabodas are just motorbikes where the passenger climbs on back and holds onto the driver. Sometimes you get a helmet, usually you don’t. Lots of people use bodabodas to get around, and even though most of them are unlicensed and therefore illegal, no one seems to mind very much.
However, of late people have alleged that bodabodas are transporting criminals. What is an underpaid over worked police officer to do? Well, arrest anyone driving a motorcycle of course.
We are determined to fight the criminals … we are arresting motorbike operators because they are suspected to be ferrying some of the alleged criminals around.
– Kinondoni Regional Police Commander Charles Kenyela
Basically the police started pulling over any motorcycle they could find and arresting the drivers. Probable cause? Well they were driving a motorbike weren’t they? And since some criminals ride on motorbikes … well … quo erat demonstrandum, baby.
This approach to policing is brilliant and I see several other areas where they could start applying. First up: politicians. Start locking them up for graft and embezzlement of public funds. Don’t worry about proving your case first, chances are they’ve done something worth locking them up for.
Next, the police should arrest all the husbands they can find. Because let’s face it, if they’re not cheating on their wives, they’re probably out drinking too late or doing something they shouldn’t.
And last but not least, the police need to look their own ranks. After all, they are the ones who pull motorists over to demand “lunch money” and try to extort bribes at any opportunity. If Commander Kenyela could just pass me the keys to the jail cells after he locks all of his staff in, then I think we’ll be able to cut down a big source of a whole lot crime in this city.