THE RETURN OF THE MARK II
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ON the day of the budget I was in a restaurant having a meal. Some other people were watching TV and all of a sudden there was loud cheering and a man actually stood up punched his fist into the air and said ‘yy-e-ss!’.

Another one did a few dance steps and all were smiling from ear to ear. I thought that it was a soccer match on TV and that a popular team had scored but to my surprise, it was the budget in the Bunge.

I was puzzled and when I asked a man seated close by what had transpired, I was told that the men were cheering the budget on the point of removal of separate annual payments for road licences.

It had been decided that this bothersome fee would be included in the price of fuel. Being an owner of a MK II boxi that was made in Japan in the last century, I felt like jumping and shouting with joy but retrained myself; I was one of the older citizens in the bar.

I was so happy I wanted to say ‘Kumbe bado kuna watanzania wenye akili!’ but refrained from saying so because the implication would be that there were still many people and, to be specific, decision makers who ‘didn’t have brains’.

I know people get offended by this kind of statement but how come we Black Africans are in such a bad way if ‘tungekuwa na akili?’ And to be honest if I was a Minister of Finance in the yester years, I would imagine that part of my job was simply to raise the price of beer, cigarettes and petrol every year.

‘Hamna vyanzo vipya’ and the ‘big fish’ used to go completely scot free on matters of taxes. I cannot remember the rest of the budget, health, industrialization … all of it did not matter to me.

I’ve heard the subsequent post mortem; some say it was a good budget and others criticize it on certain areas but based on my opinion, which is based on the road license thing, it was an excellent budget.

At long last my old MK II would hit the road… And now the action plan. There was a hen that had decided to lay its eggs on the back seat of my car because of its long disuse.

That hen has to go. I’m giving it just this week, a grace period. And she’s lucky because I don’t have money for the battery on me. By the end of the month I’ll have been paid my salary and if the eggs aren’t hatched by then I’ll just eat them even though it seems a bit cruel.

It is after all my hen and she has been eating my ‘pumba’. It could be worse for her, you know, I could decide to celebrate this momentous budget decision by eating her…

Amazing, even I have the power of life and death over some creatures. After the battery, I need new tyres, well at least two of them. I’ve been avoiding my girlfriend Joyce because I wasn’t mobile but now I’ll be back.

I used to tell her that I prefer the ‘Mwendokasi’ to driving the personal car but that was not entirely true. The real reason was that traffic policemen were giving me hell on that road licence sticker… now those cops can go and find their ‘eating’ somewhere else.

Ah and I was forgetting, the insurance is expired too. For a guy like me it is of course third party; minimum legal requirements. In fact I wish there was a fourth party insurance.

I’ve never heard of the second party insurance but I’m assuming that the comprehensive Insurance coverage is the first party… not a party where drinks and bites are served; those are legal terms, my friend and if you are not a learned brother (or sister), you can never understand them.

I wouldn’t swear on it but it seems logical that if my kind of insurance is third party, then the comprehensive must be first party insurance... After buying those items and a good clean (and a spray of perfume) to eradicate the smell of the mother hen and the cat that has occasionally made it a temporary residence during its absence on the roads, I should be ready to hit the road.

The ball joints, shokaps or shokamzoba ( shock absorbers) and other things will come later. Some legally savvy guys have tried to put the damper on my enthusiasm, saying that the debt, if there was any, remains, and that it is only the penalties for defaulting that were removed.

I say even if that’s the case we are better off than where we were. It has to be admitted that in many cases, road license debts are much bigger than the actual value of the cars.

So I sincerely hope that my legally savvy friends are wrong; that from July the first, we start of on a new clean slate. May be by the time this article hits the newsstands the truth of this matter will clear.

Then the hen in my MKII will have had a new lease of residence in the car or I will be once more cruising through the streets of Dare s salaam, turning heads in my old MK II boxi, manual transmission.

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