Of Roads, Corruption and Stolen Wallets…

The other night I was being driven home by a company driver and I asked a few questions about travelling in Mozambique, stuff along the lines of how long it would take me to drive from Beira to Vilanculos; Are the roads decent etc. This brief Q&A session and talking about the state of the roads outside of Beira led to a discussion about the state of the roads within Beira which in some areas are simply atrocious.

This is one of the better roads in Beira...

The driver went on to give his view on why the roads are in their current state: Corruption. When the roads are being repaired, these contracts usually go to friends of powerful people who then get paid for the work but never actually deliver a product or when they do, the quality is so bad that it will have to be redone again.

This conversation was quite interesting as he claimed Mozambique was one of the most corrupt states in Africa. That got me thinking about the issue and which position Mozambique really ranked in a corruption index, if there did exist such a thing. Unsurprisingly, I did find it and these were the rankings of the country I´ve worked in according to Transparency International:

Mozambique 116
Libya 146
UAE 28
United Kingdom 20
South Africa 54
Portugal 32

This ranking does have its critics, but I guess it´s as a good tool as there is out there. Not surprisingly Libya is high up in the corruption index. Corruption in all forms are quite obvious in the country, but there is no point in going into detail as this is not what this post or my blog is about. Interestingly Mozambique is not the worst, but it is high up on the list as well, and from discussions with people here, it does seem to be an issue, however once again I won´t go into detail here.

On another note, I spoke to South African guy who had been in the country for only a few days when his wallet was stolen (he wasn´t mugged, just left it somewhere), and he was telling me the difficulties he had reporting the theft to the police as he knew one of the restaurant waiters had taken it. I felt sorry for the guy as he said he was stuck in police station unable to communicate with the officials as he didn´t speak Portuguese and they didn´t (or pretended not) speak English.

This brought back fond memories (please note the sarcasm) of my own wallet´s adventures, chronicled here and here. These episodes taught me a couple of things:

  1. Never phone the South African consulate in Abu Dhabi for help as they are a useless, rude, tax money earning, racist and condescending incompetent excuse for civil servants.
  2. Never lose a BANIF credit and debit card on a weekend, because their Lost/Stolen card service centre does not work on weekends. So if you plan to get mugged, asked your mugger to come back on a week day.
  3. Make sure you learn the military alphabet otherwise you will spend an hour trying to help someone from the Lost/Stolen card service looking for a Ponito on their database.
  4. Oh yes, never leave your wallet in taxi or in the cargo pocket of your trousers.
So don´t ever lose your wallet. It sucks when you do.
This entry was posted in Expat Life, Life in Beira and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Of Roads, Corruption and Stolen Wallets…

  1. Umer Ehsan says:

    Why does Mozambique’s flag have a picture of a rifle on it?!

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