For one of my projects, a partner organization in Mbarara needed to sign a document which then needed to be registered with the Government of Uganda Registrar of Documents in Kampala. Without going into detail about why, the signing of this document was at this point three months late, so a speedy turn-around was of the essence. But, when I brought the document in to the Registrar to have it registered, I was informed that it needed to be witnessed by an "advocate" (an attorney). Somehow, despite having registered four previous documents of the same type, this requirement had never before been mentioned to me.
I mentioned this inconsistency to the woman at the Registrar, but she was firm in her conviction. I was more than a little bit crestfallen, thinking I would have to send it back to the partner in Mbarara and have them re-sign with an attorney present. Given how the process had gone up to this point, I was not optimistic about how quickly the partner would be able to do this, and was already feeling another month slip through my fingers. My countenance must have shown my frustration, because the woman at the Registrar said "you can just go to the building at the end of the street where there lots of advocates, and they should be able to sign it for you now!"
Wait... isn't the point of having someone "witness" a document being signed that they actually, uh, witness it being signed?
I decided not to mention this inconsistency in logic to her and sought out one of these 'advocates", expecting all the while that they would tell me the obvious: they can't sign as a witness on something they haven't actually witnessed. Lo and behold... I was wrong. 50,000 UGX (~$22) and an hour later, I had a document signed by an advocate, validating that she had witnessed the document being signed by the other signatories. I brought this back to the Registrar, and the woman there registered it - knowing it had just been "witnessed" at the end of the street, by someone who in no way could have possibly actually been witness to the rest of the signatories - with a smile on her face.
I could launch into a long treatise on the larger-order critiques of development implied by this little incident by a government heavily subsidized by other (well-structured) governments, but I'll choose instead to let you draw your own conclusions.