New Kenyan laws just drive up bribes

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IOL mot pic dec13 Kenya Road Bribes AP Kenyan police shake down a car driver at a vehicle checkpoint in Nairobi.

Traffic bribes are a way of life for many Kenyan drivers. One dollar here, five dollars there. But the drivers of the rowdy mini-buses say Kenya's new traffic laws, which carry higher fines and longer jail sentences, will result primarily in one thing: higher bribes.

Driving in Kenya is a nightmarish experience. Few intersections have stoplights or stop signs, creating a snarly mess. And drivers of the minibuses, or matatus, drive on the wrong side of the road.

The new law, which went into effect on Saturday, increases fines and jail terms for lawless driving.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said immediately after the new laws came into effect police began demanding higher bribes. Police used to ask for 150 shillings (R15), he said. Now they want 1000 shilings (R100) for a minor offense and 10 000 shillings (R1000) for a major offense. - Sapa AP

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