We needed a Tanzanian Driving License. No longer available as a conversion in Mwanza we’d either need to get a provisional license and then ‘take lessons’ and ‘pass a test’ (in quotes because the right payment will circumvent both) or else pay a hefty ‘fee’ to a willing policeman for the license (again in quotes) . We were not prepared to do either.
It all started smoothly enough and with encouraging efficiency – this post was going to be so different!
We left Mwanza on the 8am flight. Destination Dar! The hour long flight was straight forward enough and we landed in Dar Es Salaam at 9:30am. Then the journey into the centre through free flowing traffic.
The TRA building in Dar is within a crumbling office lock but once inside the room is spacious and queues relatively short. We go to and fro from the supervisor submitting our application, biometrics, police station all in less than 90 minutes.
They say any task is governed by the speed of it’s slowest process. The slowest process was yet to come!
You’d think that paying for the license would be straightforward enough. We had the Shillings (40,000 TzS for each license). We were directed to one of two banks and drove to the first. ‘…the systems down and we can’t take payment’ the first cashier said ‘it’s been down all week and the TRA aren’t fixing it’ -a similar story from the next bank. Back to the TRA – here they can’t help ‘it’s the system’.
So we have done all we can do and cannot pay for the license. Such a shambolic end to the process.
We ask to speak to the boss – a phone call to the manager who gives us the number of the Mwanza boss – we are instructed to bring the receipts to Mwanza on Monday to pay there ‘ it will be fine’ they say – I am very skeptical. We’ve tried to do things honestly and feel no shame in that but the ‘system’ here is in severe need of an overhaul – yet again there is no flexibility to deal with the unexpected. 😡