• July 11th, 2020

Opinion: Namibian drivers are the epitome of corruption

The fact that corruption has been ingrained in the Namibian society has pretty much been established as a fact, particularly since the damning revelation of the Fishrot files. Many Namibians, especially those in positions of power, have cautioned the Fishrot case is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption in the country.     

Corruption is defined by Wikipedia as “a form of dishonesty or criminal offence undertaken by a person or organisation entrusted with a position of authority to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one’s private gain”.

As a licenced motorist for 30 years, who has been driving in Namibia since 1994, I dare to say corruption is ingrained in the Namibian society that it is evident everywhere, and nowhere more so than on the roads of Windhoek at rush hour. 

Looking at the first part of the definition of corruption: “a form of dishonesty”, a motorist constantly experiences this at rush hour – when vehicles of all sizes and classifications cut the long queues to reach their destination quicker. While the majority of culprits are taxis, this practice of ‘jumping the line’ is not limited to taxi drivers, as many motorists are guilty of this offence. Cutting the queue or jumping the line is a form of dishonesty that most of us were discouraged from during our early years of school. Nowhere in the world have I ever experienced the level of line cutting as I have on Windhoek roads at rush hour. The level of disregard for fellow drivers is astonishing.

This is where the second part of the definition of corruption comes in: “for one’s personal gain”. Corruption is not only about stealing money or awarding a tender to your relative. When driving and you cut the queue, you gain an advantage for yourself and your passengers, but you do not realise you disadvantage everyone else behind you in the process – because everyone behind you has to wait in a slower-moving queue that you have made longer. 

Sadly, the prevalence of ‘jumping the line’ is not constrained to Windhoek. Take a drive up north during the holiday season and this frustrating practice of disregarding a queue will start as soon as you reach the redline at Oshivelo. If there is a long line of cars, then you can expect it to just get longer as impatient motorists force their vehicles into the front of the line. The rest of us, who have learned to be patient, cannot do much, except shrugging our shoulders at the selfish corrupt behaviour of our fellow motorists. However, not all of us have learned to be patient and once in a while, this corrupt practice of jumping the line ends up with some of the other motorists suffering from the dreaded road rage.

Another dangerous and frustrating habit of these corrupt drivers is pretending to drive straight on a double lane, only to cut into turning traffic because they feel entitled to jump the line. 

While City Police are aware of these annoying practices, they have done very little to enforce road rules during rush hour. Every now and then, you find them at particular problem areas in the city – and when they are visible, the culprits quickly get back in line (pun intended). However, the level of enforcement is inconsistent and we all know “inconsistency breeds corruption”. 
– woema@nepc.com.na

Staff Reporter
2020-03-05 07:25:33 | 4 months ago

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