It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a Sikaman policeman. If it is not your license, it will be your insurance tag which is checked. If both pass, you will be asked for your warning triangle. If you have that, you will be asked to show your fire extinguisher. Bring it out and you could still be asked to produce your first aid kit. Don’t be surprised when the kotiman asks you for your torchlight. At noon. If you don’t have it, prepare for some time wasting. Your time. You could end up in court…or your money in the policeman’s coat.
A guy was stopped around 5p.m. and asked for his torchlight. He argued that it was not dark yet. The policeman asked him where he lived and when the driver told the policeman, kotiman stated that there was no way the driver could get home before dark, so he still needed to show the torchlight!
The highway patrol guys, those with the speed gun, pray you don’t get into their trap. They have a special ability to hide around sharp bends.
In Ghana, drivers on highways are like brothers. If you are attentive, you can usually pick up the warning signals that the police are ahead, from the cars coming towards you. The signal is a high light, followed by one finger pointing to the ground, repeatedly. If you miss that, you aren’t lucky.
This reminds me of a story I heard. The highway police realised for about 30 minutes that all the vehicles from one direction towards them slowed down metres away and the drivers smiled at them when they passed their temporary checkpoint. They were puzzled.
After a while, Chief Inspector, on a whim, asked one of his boys to take the bike and go around the bend to see if the vehicles were getting any advanced warning. The rider didn’t have to travel far. A little boy had decided that day to put his ingenuity to good use. He was standing about 100 metres from the police checkpoint, with a placard reading ‘Slow Down, Police Just around the corner’.
The little boy was getting all the tips from the drivers!
~ Nana Awere Damoah, Fearful Things in Sikaman (in I Speak of Ghana)
**Join Nana Awere Damoah and Kofi Akpabli for 2 book readings in Sept: Accra (3rd) and Kumasi (24th).
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