Its yet another normal day from work. And once again I am planning to meat a friend. Woi ….. me and meeting friends. It seems to always get me into trouble. I pick up my friend along Lenana Road and we start driving home. Our plan was to get into town and get a nice a joint where we could sit and catch up and probably drink tea.
We are driving down Lenana Road and we get to the turn that opens up to CITAM Valley Road to the right and a bunch of hotels and Orange Kenya offices to the left. At the time I couldn’t tell where I am so I listen to what I call driver’s hunch and take the right turn. When I did so, I realise that ahead of me is Valley Road. I tell myself, “We can’t join Valley Road from here, that would be illegal”. So I make a U-turn. But I wasn’t the only one who noticed my error. Some police officers who I bet were lurking in the shadows saw what I did and quickly stopped me.
As always I had to pull over. I couldn’t believe this was happening AGAIN. Me and traffic cops.!!! They then accuse me of “Making an illegal turning”. My friend and I reason with them, “We didn’t see a no-right turn sign”. The cops say that if we believe that we are on the right side of the law, we could go to the station and write up a statement and get scheduled with a court date. But, I did not want to go through the court procedures. I share my concern with my friend. She decides to reason with at least one of the cops. She manages to convince one of the police officers to let me go, but the other cop would not relent. As always the cops would never introduce the bribe talk, at least for all the scenarios I have been through. After beating around the bush, I simply ask them, “Mtataka niwapatie pesa ngapi?” Its like all my principles went out the window at that very moment. Or maybe they went out the window earlier than that. I can vaguely remember battling with the thought of giving a bribe. But this time round, my heart was hardened. I was ready to forsake the narrow road and I would gladly take the wide road to freedom. After a bit of negotiation we settle on 3000 KES. But I tell them that I did not have any money with me at the moment. If they want that money they would have to get into the car and drive with me to the nearest ATM. They looked reluctant to do so, but they eventually decide to do so. Of we went to the ATM. We drove back up Lenana Road and turned right and headed towards the Department of Defence. We parked at the Kenol Petrol Station that sits opposite the Department of Defence. I withdrew the cash and handed it to them. I couldn’t help but wonder how desperate both the cops and I were, to have gone to such great lengths just to get what we wanted.
My friend and I then drove off to Village Market and we got to catchup ad talk. At that time, we felt that our hands were tired behind our backs. That we did not have a choice. But really, didn’t we have option to go to court? To face the long arm of the law? I couldn’t help but wonder “How bad could it really be to go to court? To pay a fine?” As I look back, I was more afraid of what my parents would say, what some of my friends would say?