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Driving-Test Certificate vs Driving Licenses

By rajab mohandis

(Juba, south sudan, june 17, 2021)

i was stopped by traffic police along nimra talata road in juba at about 3:30pm on june 16, 2021. they demanded to see my driving license, car logbook, fire extinguisher certificate, fire extinguisher and a road-sign triangle. i provided them all.

The documents were all valid and the equipment were in good working condition. i was then asked to show my “driving-test certificate”. this surprised me and i asked what a “driving-test certificate” was and why i needed it when i had a valid driving license issued by the government.

The traffic police said it was newly introduced following an accident that killed a young female musician at mobile roundabout in juba in march 2021.

Totally surprised, i asked how an accident caused by a driver i had never known, would nullify my driving skills and render my valid driving license insufficient to drive.

when i continued to ask these questions, the traffic police accused me of breaking the law and that i should be taken to the traffic police center called “ankar” at bulluk. i agreed,as i wanted to start driving to ankar, two traffic police personnel, who got in the car, told me to hold on for one of their colleagues to get in the car because he was an officer and should go with us.

The officer then came to me and asked what my problem was. i told him that his colleagues accused me of breaking the law by driving without a driving-test certificate even when i had a valid driving license. he said yes, i must have the driving-test certificate in order to drive.

i asked him why i needed it when i had a valid driving license. he said it was an order from a general at the traffic police following the accident at mobile roundabout. i told the officer that an order from a traffic police general does not in any way amount to law that nullifies a valid driving license legally issued under the traffic police act, in favor of an illegal driving-test certificate.

The officer then said i should drive to “ankar” with two of his colleagues who were in the car. i asked him as to who would take responsibility for their lives in my car in case of an accident between that point and the ankar. he said the driver, meaning i, would take responsibility.

At that point, i turned off the engine of my car and told them that i was not going to drive to ankar. all three of them asked in surprise, why i was defying their orders to drive to the ankar. i told them that first, i was not going to take police in my car and take responsibility for their lives in case of an accident.

And second, they had already accused me of breaking the law by driving without a driving certificate so they should not ask me to drive with them in the car until the issues of the driving-test certificate and my valid driving license were clarified and settled. the officer complained that i was not respecting the law. i told him that i was a law-abiding citizen, a former state minister of transport, roads and bridges, a trained driver and i understood the law.

i further said everything they were talking about was contrary to the law. the officer then pulled his colleagues aside, talked to them and asked them to return the copies of my logbook and driving license and to allow me go my way. i picked my documents and drove off.

isn’t it appropriate for anyone not satisfied with driving licenses to amend the law, wait for people’s valid driving licenses to expire, then issue “driving-test certificates” as replacements?

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