Dear Inspector General Kimaiyo and Chief Justice Mutunga:
This is an open business proposal to both of you from an infrequent user of your services. The reason for my infrequence is that I try, at all times, to be a law abiding citizen failure to which I would have to be a guest of the state in the swanky accommodation that your offices provide. You see, I was once a guest at the impeccably furnished, luxurious and well appointed jail cells of Makadara law courts and the unforgettable experience led me to believe that collaboration between the two of you would lead to consistent revenue generation, significant profit and streamlined cash flows without getting law abiding citizens such as myself partaking of your accommodation.
I had committed what, in my view, was a minor traffic infraction. As I have written here before, way before you were appointed to your good offices, the traffic offence occurred at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport parking when an overzealous traffic officer accused me of obstruction as I had parked a vehicle not in between the two lines that marked the parking, rather on top of one line meaning that it occupied the space of two vehicles thereby causing an “obstruction’. The offence was committed at night, with no lights in the parking lot that enabled me to see the parking lines of the only available parking slot at that busy hour. Woe betide the driver of a vehicle who does not keep a look out for faint parking markers on the tarmac of the JKIA parking lots as the hawk eyed traffic policemen who have infrared night vision goggles sewn into their corneas will remind them of their misdemeanors. I paid a cash bail of Kshs 5,000 which was in a variety of notes and coins following a very harried and impromptu harambee by the mortified occupants of the offending motor vehicle that I was driving. The money was carefully wrapped in a yellowing page torn off an old note pad and bound together with a rubber band at some little office in the upper levels of the arrivals terminal.
When I eventually attended my court case (Republic vs. Carol Musyoka sometime in 2006 in case you decide to look for the file at Makadara Law Courts) I pleaded guilty to the offence through gritted teeth, as advised by legal counsel in order for the ignominious experience to come to a rapid conclusion. But it didn’t end there. I had to be thrown into the luxurious presidential suite at the Makadara cells while my spouse began the harrowing task of executing a speedy release which meant “facilitating” the court clerk to release the file, going upstairs to the cashier and “facilitating” the payment of the fine – the amount of Kshs 5,000 that was exactly the same as the cash bail– and then he had to wait to be refunded my cash bail. The cash bail was given to him in, you guessed it, the wrapped up, rubber band bound yellowing page bundle that had been deposited at JKIA. Thereafter I checked out of my very crowded mixed gender suite quite reluctantly, two hours after I had pleaded guilty through gritted teeth, into the warm sunshine and clean air of the Makadara suburb.
With that background in mind, herewith is the business proposal. Revenue: Convert all traffic cash bails into instant fines. That’s really not rocket science; it’s a matter of semantics seeing as the amounts are exactly the same. It moves from being revenue of the Judiciary (traffic fine) to revenue of the police force (cash bail converted into fine). And before the Judiciary gives the sob story that all traffic fines collections have to be remitted to the state, this would be a good time to say that the annual police budget from the government can take these funds into account and the budget be reduced to the extent of the anticipated collections for each financial year. Now to the profits I hinted at. The number of traffic offences at the law courts take up valuable court time that could be better applied towards listening to more substantive legal cases. Listening to more cases means faster dispensation of justice. Faster dispensation of justice means more people will go to court to seek justice in civil cases leading to higher court fees and wider legal jurisprudence in civil matters….you catch my drift. The profit extends to the mwananchi too. Here’s why. Assuming that I was paid the exact amount that a Kenyan member of parliament (who remains the best benchmark for the hardest working laborer in Kenya) is paid which is Kshs 532,000 a month, my daily labour rate would be Kshs 26,600 assuming 20 working days a month. This translates into Kshs 3,325 in an eight-hour working day. Seeing as I spent a good five hours at Makadara Law Courts, the sum total cost of my time was Kshs 16,625 which time and money could have been applied in a more productive sector of the economy. Now imagine that amount replicated hundredfold to account for all the traffic offenders having court cases that day. Insane, I know!
Finally, with regards to streamlining cash flows, it is really quite simple. Get the police officers to carry moneybags padlocked to their waists every morning as they leave their police station base. Ensure that the bags are empty going out and at a minimum, midway full when the police return at the end of their shift. You see with all the crazy traffic in our cities these days and even crazier drivers on national highways, there are bound to be at least 20 offenders on every policeman’s shift generating a minimum of Kshs 100,000 in Republic-vs-Carol- Musyoka-type traffic offences. That’s cash that can be used to fuel patrol vehicles, buy office stationery and pay salaries at each police station. You are most welcome to discuss these items at your next lunch meeting together.