when driving back to kotido from kampala this week i was pulled over by the ug traffic police just before the turn at kamdini…i was slowing down because 1) i was entering the trading center where people tend to be close to the road therefore being the 2) responsible thing to do and 3) i needed to make a turn soon.
the officer was flagging me down, so i pulled over as a responsible driver would do. everyone was wearing her seat belt, and i knew i wasn’t over the speed limit.
he swaggered up to the driver’s side window and just stared me down. i just stared back until he decided to speak. i was met with a gruff, “hello.”
“oh hi! how are you?!” i said as happily as possible.
“um. fine. thank you. now, do you know what your speed was when you were moving at?”
i ignored the dangling participle and answered readily, “yes, sir, 50 kph and reducing.”
he then turned around the speed gun in his hands and tried to convince me that i was going 71 kph. funnily enough, he tried the same trick the officer tried last time: the radar gun WASN’T ON and the resting setting was 71.just. like. last. time.
after regarding the radar gun i looked back at the officer and waited for what i knew was going to happen next:
“can i see your driving license, please.”
now i actually LOVE this part–because every time i am asked for my permit and i actually have a ug per permit they look all crestfallen. take THAT!
he took a long time to stare at my permit before calling another officer over. he handed my permit to the second officer who then took over in attempting to intimidate me.
the second officer then stood at my window for a few seconds before letting me know that the speed limit was just behind me (it wasn’t. the last speed posting was at least 20 km away) and that it was for 30kph. (it wasn’t it was for 50kph.)
“alright.” i said. “well, if i have broken the law, then please write my ticket so we can get on our way home to kotido, because its far from kamdini.
he opened the ticket book on the hood of the car and pretended to start writing the ticket. there was still no protest from me, no offer of “chai” or “soda”…so he gave up and handed my permit back to me and gave me a little speech about “slowing down in the trading center so i didn’t knock someone.” he insisted again that i was going 71kph. and i pushed it one more time and said “yea, i wasn’t going over 50 kph…” but he either didn’t hear me or understand me.
so, off we went. i had my permit back in my hot little hands and no ticket to pay.
the back seat (4 friends seated back there) erupted with delight and relief while housemate and i in the front seats laughed… oh, uganda…